So I spent much of March and April working with the good folks at Flavor, In Santa Monica California. When I was presented with the project, my first thought was, "Well, that seems ambitious." Turns out, that was an understatement.
I took the job, even though it sounded like "A big project," I knew If we could pull it off it would be an incredible piece for my reel. Then we immediately got started planing out the project. First, Flavor had no infrastructure for this type of work. They have an office in Santa Monica, One in Chicago and One in Detroit. But we rapidly learned that they had no interconnectivity. So it was nearly impossible to share data at first.
Part of the idea of taking on such a large scale project was that we would use Zync for rendering. For the most part this was a life saver. I have no idea how much this cost, but it wasn't cheep. We were heavily using Xgen, Vray, and massive amounts of displacements. These frames ran from 15 min to multiple hours per frame.
Next was the idea that we could just use existing staff. This meant working with a crew that was in three different cities. and again this mostly worked out. after a lot of trial and error. My hat is off to everyone who worked on this, but a lot of them had never done anything like this before. We had 4 lighter / generalists (counting myself) and couple of others that were on for a few weeks here and there. We had about four FX guys. And we had two guys just doing animation. Oh and a Single Nuke compositor, and two Flame artists, for finishing.
Look in the end we finished the job and the clients are thrilled. I have a lot of caveats, but overall i'm extremely happy. there was a lot of learning here. and some shots could have used another week or two, but we did the best we could. and I'm damned happy about it.