NEW YORK — Click 3X is providing visual effects for the third season of HBO’s Bored to Death, which debuted this week. The studio’s work includes a shot that begins in the first episode and continues through the second episode of Season 3, with star Jason Schwartzman hanging from the hour hand of an iconic Brooklyn clock tower. Click 3X made use of 18 different shots and plates, all from different cameras, as well as CG assets to complete the scene.
"For such a complex sequence, the Bored to Death team knew they needed a VFX shop experienced with on-set supervision, photoreal CGI animation, and high-level compositing to pull off the feat," notes VFX producer/EP Chris Kiser.
A three-quarter scale clock face was built by the Bored To Death production team. It included the bank windows directly below the clock and some of the brick and façade in the area the actors would be performing. Click 3X dirtied up the set to match the surrounding, CGI-generated buildings.
For the CG, the Click 3X team built a 3D model of the Williamsburg Savings Bank Tower, tested it for the look and motion of the proposed camera moves, and then animated an early test, which was presented to director Michael Lehmann.
The team took photos of the actual tower from a rooftop nearby using a telephoto lens. A weathered look was added to matte paintings in Photoshop, and different bricks and weathered elements were composited using photogrammetry in Autodesk Flame.
Click 3X relied on Canon 5D and 7D cameras for capturing stills and motion background plates. The studio also used a Gigapan system on a 7D to tile together photos to make very large stitched still images. Click 3X compositors then spent time animating the still to create movement.
For the POV shot looking down at the street below, Click 3X shot plates of Sixth Avenue in Manhattan. Senior Flame artist Aaron Vasquez added other stills of Brooklyn building rooftops, painted in trees, changed the lighting of buildings, and animated cars, traffic, and CG people to fill in the scene. The result was a fully animated 16k plate.
PostWorks in New York provides turn-key editing system and dailies services for the series, which is shot using the Arri Alexa. For more on Bored to Death, as well as other Digitally Acquired TV Series, check out our October issue.