Niagara-On-The-Lake, Ontario - Digital animation and visual effects studio Keyframe Digital Productions delivered 184 VFX shots for the four-hour NBC mini-series, XIII, starring Stephen Dorff and Val Kilmer, reveals Keyframe Digital co-founder Clint Green. Jay Firestone’s Prodigy Pictures, based in Toronto, and French company Cipango Films co-produced the mini-series in association with Power in the U.K.
Keyframe Digital created a range of VFX shots, including wire and rig removal, camera tracking from a moving helicopter, crowd replacements, and the creation of a large CG crowd, as well as the creation and adding of many CG elements, including police cars and police barricades.
One complex shot extension involved placing a moving green screen in front of the actor (Dorff), as XIII gets out of a car and walks down an alley with a view of the Brooklyn Bridge in the background. The Bridge had to be composited into the background from original digital camera footage. Keyframe performed motion tracking, color correction, blur effects, adding film grain, and the rotoscoping out of unwanted elements, while cloning and adjusting other elements from the original footage to complete the finished sequence, says a representative. Another challenging VFX shot had the two actors jumping out the back of a speeding truck onto another truck trailing behind them. The large wire rig holding the actors and stunt actors had to be removed and the sky and background recreated.
The studio was able to complete the job in seven weeks with a team of four VFX artists. Green supervised on set and Keyframe co-founder Darren Cranford was the visual effects director, supervising the Keyframe VFX team on all the shots. Darren Locke was the lead compositor for Keyframe.
Shot in Toronto, the mini-series follows the perilous exploits of XIII (Dorff), who has parachuted wounded from a plane with complete memory loss and only a tattoo on his neck, “XIII,” to provide him with any clue as to his identity and past. Ensnared in a complex and shocking international crisis, he must rely on his killer instincts and lightning reflexes to escape capture and conviction for the assassination of the president of the United States, while being hunted by the deadly contract killer, Mongoose (Kilmer).
“XIII” was co-written by Philippe Lyon (“The Trail,” “Alive”) and David Wolkove (“Relic Hunter,” “La Femme Nikita”) and directed by Duane Clark (“CSI,” “Jericho”). Ken Gord produced for Prodigy Pictures and Frederic Bruneel for Cipango. Executive producers are Jay Firestone for Prodigy Pictures, Edouard de Vesinnes and Thomas Anargyros for Cipango and Justin Bodle (International Sales Agent with Powercorp U.K. Limited).
“XIII” will air in the U.S. on NBC February 8th and 15th.
“XIII” aired October 6, 2008 on Canal+ achieving an audience record of 17.4% (1.1 million households) in primetime. This performance smashed the record for Original Creations on Canal+ and surpassed the old record held by the French series “Gears,” aired in March 2005.
Production Manager: Wanda Chaffey
Production Designer: Craig Lathrop
DOP: David Greene
Post Production Supervisor: Rachel Sutherland
Editor: Yann Herve