For the last three seasons Pix Ray VFX has been the visual effects force behind the popular documentary/reenactment television series Mayday. The challenge that the Pix Ray VFX team set for itself at the beginning of their work on the series, was to bring a high level of visual effects realism, sophistication and kinetic energy to the documentary television arena. “Our challenge is to bring feature quality effects (to the show) within the confines of a documentary budget. The reenactments are obviously dramatic high points of each story and our job is to give the audience a terrifying and exciting ride”, explained Visual Effects Supervisor Andrew Szerszen. Every department plays it's part and each episode utilizes all aspects of the small studio's production pipeline. From matte painting and composting to 3D pre-visualization and animation the series continues to be a part of the studio's output.
When Director Kevin Sullivan talked to Pix Ray VFX regarding a new installment of the Anne of Green Gables saga, all roads led to undetectable photo realistic visual effects. Being a period piece, the consensus was that any weakness in the effects would pull the audience from the drama of the story. The goal was set and Pix Ray’s core members began what became an all-encompassing four months of work.
The Pix Ray team decided that re-inventing the wheel was not the way to go. The use of tried and true techniques was seen as the best way to give the traditionally executed film the visual scope it required. All aspects of Pix Ray's production pipeline were put to the test. The small five person crew worked diligently to maintain Pix Ray's high standards throughout each of the seventy-four shots. 3-D tracking, reverse camera projections and 2-D composting gave lead digital matte artist Guy Gatenby's forty-six digital matte paintings the life they needed to expand the film's locations and sets and bring the story, shot in Hamilton and Toronto, into period appropriate New Brunswick, Nova Scotia and Prince Edward Island.
As the primary VFX studio for Anne of Green Gables: A New Beginning , Pix Ray worked closely with Director Kevin Sullivan throughout the pre-production, principal photography and post-production stages of the project. “We were there from the beginning and we understood Kevin's concerns and desires for this film,” commented Guy Gatenby. “We were also dealing with iconic characters and locations, both from the books and the earlier films, so we wanted to treat them with respect and give them an artistically fitting look and feel." Visual Effects Supervisor Andrew Szerzen added. “We all felt close to this production which definitely raised our artistic and technical drive and made the project largely problem free for our tiny crew.”
The road to Green Gables was a labour intensive journey for the members of Pix Ray, but the studio’s unflagging commitment to quality gave this re-imagining of Anne the visual drama it deserved
Anne of Green Gables: A New Beginning / Pix Ray VFX has been nominated in two VFX categories at The 3rd Annual ELAN Awards :