Atlanta VFX uses Fusion Studio on Hulu’s “Only Murders In The Building”


Atlanta VFX visual effects (VFX) house used Fusion Studio VFX and motion graphics software from Blackmagic Design for the hit TV series Only murders in the building. He used Fusion Studio’s compositing tools to mix camera shots, replace green screens, and manage shot replacements for the show’s second season.

Only murders in the building is a Hulu Original series, produced by 20th Television, part of Disney Television Studios, that follows true crime podcasters who find themselves and their building at the center of a crime. In its second season, the show stars Steve Martin, Martin Short and Selena Gomez as neighbors in a posh New York apartment building who are now framed for murder themselves.

The team, led by Atlanta owner and visual effects supervisor Jason Maynard and compositing supervisor Jeremy Nelson, did a tremendous amount of work on green screens throughout the season. “Between Fusion Studio’s Delta keyer, Ultra keyer, and Primatte keyer, there’s always a keyer that will get the job done and integrate it seamlessly,” Maynard said. “For example, in one episode, we had over 60 green screen shots in the building. For this episode, some of the actors were wearing green-tinted shirts, so we had to use multiple keyers to properly isolate the colors.

“With the actors framed against a green screen that was to be replaced with interior window shots, we used the Delta keyer as the main key, then the Primatte keyer and the Ultra keyer to complete the shot. With all the window glare and smudges, it was more complex than just setting up a key and rendering the scene. Since one of the actors’ shirts included multiple shades of green, the Primatte keyer was crucial as its additive nature in selecting what it keyed in made it a perfect solution to finish the job.

“For another episode, we had a tricky shot where Mabel (Gomez) has a flashback to her childhood, and they wanted to mix two panning takes into one take,” Nelson added. “With Fusion Studio, we performed 3D stabilization for plate A, then projected the image onto plate B for a seamless transition between the two shots.”

Fusion Studio’s 3D tracker was used to get rid of unwanted boom mics, crew and camera reflections in windows. Additionally, Maynard noted that his node-based workflow made it easier to manage complex scenes, so they could move through the various VFX sequences more quickly.

“It’s often the little details that count when putting on a show like this. For example, we used Fusion Studio’s 3D displacement tools to swap a letter at the entrance to the building’s door,” Nelson explained. “Needed a quick 3D track for moving the camera and a clean plate using the paint node. It was a quick replacement with the move tool, which is great for easy 3D modeling with alpha channels or rotary forms.

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