The mysteries of “Outer Banks” are brought to life in a coastal island paradise, which sets the stage for teenage friends on the hunt for legendary treasure. For the Netflix original series, Culver City-based VFX facility Mr. Wolf tapped freelance Flame artist Gurvand Tanneau to deliver seamless background cleanup and help transport audiences to the barrier islands of North Carolina.
A veteran Flame artist, Tanneau’s career spans two decades of work on high-profile cinematic, episodic and commercial projects, where he’s honed his expertise by creating natural, photoreal effects that appear invisible to the discerning eye. For “Outer Banks,” Tanneau was primarily tasked with background cleanup during ocean or driving scenes. He used Flame to remove cameras and crew from shots, as well as background elements to obscure the physical production location.
Tanneau shared, “There were shots that required landmark removal so that areas filmed were no longer recognizable to viewers. For shots captured at sea, I also removed the coastline wherever visible to make boats appear further out in open water.”
Throughout the project, Tanneau relied heavily on Flame’s classic tools, including Action and Gmask. “There’s so much functionality in the Action node now that on the majority of projects, I use it for nearly ninety percent of my work,” he added.
For “Outer Banks,” Tanneau completed and delivered 15 shots within a month. “During this period, I was actually working on five shows simultaneously. I keep my projects well-organized and since TV shows typically require very few revisions, it’s a manageable workload. While some shows demand heavy beauty work and retouching, others are primarily focused on background cleanup or adding elements, like smoke and fire. Transitioning between different types of tasks helps keep the work feel fresh, but it requires a versatile range of tools. This is why Flame is so important – it offers all the tools in one application. I wouldn’t be able to deliver such a large volume of work at this level of quality without Flame,” he stated.
Flame’s AI and machine learning toolset also helps Tanneau automate boom extraction from shots and do precomps while waiting for roto, saving him time and allowing him to visualize how final renders will look. “For instance, in shots where a person is presenting and the background needs to be removed, I can do a precomp, run the AI extraction tool, and it’s very fast. It’s not perfect, but it’s convenient and sufficient for a precomp to see how the end results will look,” he shared.
Tanneau encountered few challenges while working on “Outer Banks,” though it’s not always the case on projects. He stated, “Oftentimes working on scenes can be challenging because they’re not shot with VFX in mind, either due to budgetary or time constraints. These instances are just some of the many examples of why Flame is so invaluable for post-production.”
“Whether editing or cleaning up a shot, Flame offers the flexibility to do almost anything. I don’t know of any other tools that offer as rich of a feature set with so many options,” concluded Tanneau.