Mini series gets Discreet makeover

Canadian post-production company uses Flame to create special effects in Stephen King’s Kingdom Hospital.

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By  Vijaya Cherian Published  June 16, 2004

When a Canada-based post-production company Spin purchased two Discreet flame visual effects systems recently, they put them to test on Stephen King’s Kingdom Hospital, ABC’s new mini-series about a haunted hospital. The work was carried out on a Silicon Graphics Tezro 4P visual workstation. In episode seven, “The Young and the Headless”, Spin used Discreet’s inferno and flame systems to create some of the mini-series’ most complex shots. The head of the character “Headless Frank” was digitally removed in post-production and replaced with a computer-generated neck stump. Headless Frank is shown stomping through hospital halls, banging on lockers, and even taking a shower. Spin worked on 21 shots of “Headless Frank”, of which 12 were completed for episode seven, and nine included in episode 11, “Seizure Day”. “Creating the headless character was a great challenge,” recounts Doug Campbell, president of Spin West (Vancouver) and senior inferno artist/VFX supervisor. “We built a texture map and a 3D model of a neck stump, and brought in Discreet’s inferno system for tracking and animation purposes. We had to erase the actor’s head and replace it with the stump, and then get the stump to interact realistically with water, which was created with inferno particles, and with clothing. All of this was done in Discreet’s inferno system, which made the job so much easier because of its real-time viewing, speed, and other powerful capabilities.”

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