Luma Pictures created a host of visual effects for a new film opening this weekend and if no one notices, the studio will be very pleased. Although Luma has built up a stellar reputation for creating digital creatures for such films as UNDERWORLD:EVOLUTION and THE CAVE , its effects work for FIRST SNOW are of a very different nature. They are intended to be invisible.
FIRST SNOW, from El Camino Pictures and first-time director Mark Fergus, is the story of Jimmy Starks (Guy Pearce) whose world begins to unravel after he visits a fortune teller and learns his days are numbered. The films plot centers on a series of unstoppable events that occur after the first snow of the season. When we were first contacted about the project, we were immediately interested having worked on another Bob Yari project, the Academy award winning CRASH. After reading the story and seeing some of the work of the director, Mark Fergus, we were definitely looking forward to participating in this drama.
Lumas primary role for the film was to add snow to scenes where there was none. Artists accomplished that through digital matte paintings of a snow covered New Mexican desert and by adding blowing snow to some of the scenes in order to complement the story. ‘Creating snow effects that slip into the film unnoticed requires a bit of artistic skill because the nuances are often very subtle,’ noted Chris Sage Luma Pictures texture and environment supervisor.
‘We have a lot of experience in turning fall and spring into winter, having created 3D matte paintings and blowing snow for such films as THE HUMAN STAIN, WICKER PARK, CRASH and THE HOLIDAY,’ Sage added. ‘In many cases, what makes or breaks the effect is slight changes in hue and shading that give a hint of the diffuse lighting coming from the sky. When adding moving snow, the amount and speed must also be carefully controlled so as not to compete with mood of the film.’
About Luma Pictures
Luma Pictures is a leading provider of visual effects services to Hollywood with a reputation for artistic integrity, technical innovation and efficient production. The company served as lead visual effects provider on Underworld: Evolution, one of the biggest hits of 2006 and widely acclaimed for its incredible creature and environmental effects. Some of the studios other credits include Apocalypto (Buena Vista/Icon), The Covenant (Screen Gems/Lakeshore), Zoom (Revolution), Underworld (Paramount), Crash (Lions Gate) and Ray (Universal Pictures). Current projects include the Coen Brothers’s No Country for Old Men and Anthony Hopkins Slipstream.