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Java Post visual FX for the movie "A.R.C.H.I.E." featuring Michael J. Fox

Topics:   Java Blog

In addition to co-producing the film and providing aerial photography, Java Post Production also did all the VFX (visual effects) and colour grading for the movie A.R.C.H.I.E. featuring Michael J. Fox. In this video, you'll see before and after examples of some of the VFX work done by Java Post Production, including digital painting, screen creation, 3D animation, and colour grading. Plus we make a dog talk like Michael J. Fox, so that's kinda fun.

Above is a freeze frame from the video, showing how Java Post Production added extra "hamburger splatter" to the dress of actor Farrah Aviva. Her dress got pretty messy when the scene was shot, but just not messy enough. So director Robin Dunne asked us to mess the dress.

Above is an example of a digital "paint out," where we had to digitally remove a drink cup that was accidentally left in the scene. Rather than have the crew and our canine actor Cosmo go back and re-do the shot on location, Java Post just erased the cup.

Throughout the movie, there were quite a few screens (computers, phones, bank machines, TV sets) that were digitally created by Java Post Production. The scenes would be shot with the device's screen blank or turned off and then later we'd add in whatever image was needed. This also meant dealing with any objects (an actor's hands/body/hair or a prop) that might cross in front of the screen.

Above, you can see Jonathan Whitesell acting in front of what looks like an active computer.

And here you see the hand of actor Josh MacDonald holding up a deactivated smart phone to show a YouTube-style movie which Java Post would create and add in later.

Colour grading refers the post-production technique of manipulating colour and light within a scene to alter the visual mood. Above you see a scene featuring (left to right) Katherine Isabelle, Glenn Paradis, and Kristina Bates, where the normal warm colour of the room was changed to a more sinister, colder blue tone to match the drama of that scene.

Here an exterior shot of the Blue Bird Café in Regina Beach, Saskatchewan (our fictional town diner) was colour graded to make it look like the scene was shot at sunset. The café was actually closed when this scene was shot, so Java Post also had to enhance the interior lights to make it appear that the restaurant was still open.

Because the star of A.R.C.H.I.E. is an Artificial Robotronic Canine Hyper-Intelligence Experiment (that's a robot dog, to you and me), Java Post Production had to give our canine actor Cosmo some special robot powers. Such as being able to project movies through his eyes.

And what's a movie about a talking robot dog without a...well, without a dog that talks? Answer: not a very good talking robot dog movie. There was only one thing to do: teach the dog how to talk. So that's what Java Post did. 

Played by canine actor Cosmo and featuring the voice of Michael J. Fox, the four-legged title character of A.R.C.H.I.E. was "taught" how to talk by the 3D animation team at Java Post Production. VFX Supervisor and Animation Lead Kevin Drysdale was on-set for every scene featuring our canine actor. By being there when the scenes were shot, Kevin could consult and advise the Director, Robin Dunne, and Director of Photography, Layton Burton, as to the best way to combine live shooting and post-production VFX.

One of A.R.C.H.I.E.'s special abilities is his super-duper, multi-use "through-the-eyeballs" point-of-view display. Above, we see what A.R.C.H.I.E. sees as he looks at Farrah Aviva's character.

Another cool visual effect created by Java Post Production was this glimpse inside our robot dog. When A.R.C.H.I.E. runs into some difficulty, his internal power supply begins to act up, much like when a wire has an electrical short. Each time his power supply lights up, we can briefly see A.R.C.H.I.E.'s internal robot structure appearing beneath his skin. This effect looks pretty darn cool, even if we do say so ourselves.

Written and directed by Robin Dunne (Sanctuary, Space Milkshake), A.R.C.H.I.E. is the story of 15-year-old Isabel Sullivan, who, after recently losing both her parents in a car accident, has just moved to a small town to live with her uncle Paul, the town's mayor. Feeling very alone, Isabel befriends a stray dog named Archie. Or, more accurately, A.R.C.H.I.E. - Artificial Robotronic Canine Hyper-Intelligence Experiment.

This ain't your normal pound pooch. He's part machine, part dog, and totally awesome!

Featuring Michael J. Fox as the voice of A.R.C.H.I.E. and starring Katherine Isabelle (Hannibal, Ginger Snaps, Freddy vs Jason), Robin Dunne (Sanctuary, Space Milkshake), Sarah Desjardins (Magic Beyond Words: the JK Rowling Story, Floodplain), Johnathan Whitesell (The X-Files, The Unspoken, The Hollow), Fred Ewanuick (Corner Gas, Corner Gas: The Movie, Dan For Mayor) and Farrah Aviva (Swindle, Paparazzi Princess: The Paris Hilton Story).

Director/Writer: Robin Dunne
Director of Photography: Layton Burton
Editor: Doug Russell - Java Post Production
VFX: Kevin Drysdale, Tomás Ibar, Jack Tunnicliffe - Java Post Production
Colour Grading - Jack Tunnicliffe - Java Post Production
Aerial Photography: Java Post Aerial Photography
Produced by Trilight Entertainment and Java Post Production
Producers: Shayne Putzlocher, Sara Shaak, Glenn Paradis, Joan Speirs
Executive Producers: Jack Tunnicliffe, Tina Bates
Distributed by Double Dutch International


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