Anya Taylor-Joy in The Witch.
Robert Eggers' acclaimed horror film The Witch has been in Australian cinemas for three weeks, consistently scoring one of the highest per-location averages of any film in release.
The Witch was released by A24 in the States, where it's become a substantial independent hit.
Joining in the celebrations is Eric Doiron, compositing supervisor at Toronto post house Intelligent Creatures, who had the time of his life working on the film's effects.
Alongside VFX supervisor Geoff Scott, Doiron used Fusion Studio as well as DaVinci Resolve to pull VFX plates and do selective colour grading on the film's VFX sequences.
“The Witch was a fun project to work on because we got to really play up some of the spookiness,” said Doiron.
"For example, we added levitation to a scene using rotoscoping, paint and keying tools. With one plate shot on location and the other on a blue screen stage, we used standard wire rigs as well as a jib rig to lift and rotate things simultaneously".
"We used Fusion Studio to key each of the six levitating objects and perform extensive wire and rig removal and blue screen composites. In some cases its grid warp tool was used to animate patches of skin over the rigs.”
"We also used Fusion in a pivotal scene that involved an actor being hit by a cascade of logs. We started with a plate of logs falling onto a dummy which allowed us to get a natural interaction of the logs hitting, bouncing off and coming to rest. We then filmed a clean plate of the actor leaning against the pile and reacting".
"We painstakingly rotoscoped each of the falling logs to combine the two plates. Black Phillip [the film's star goat] was in the scene as well, so we filmed a plate of the goat whose lead and handler had to be removed and then used Fusion's paint and roto tools to composite the goat into the final shot".
"Then the finishing touch was a gash and blood trickle on the actor’s forehead to really sell the impact.”
The post house also graded the chiller's striking final scene.
“Fire was at the center of the levitation scene and we needed to use Resolve to balance it", said Doiron.
"The scene was shot with practical fire to get natural interactive lighting. While this was invaluable to get the look right, it proved difficult in the comp since the levels were constantly changing due to the flicker".
"Ultimately, we had to remove the interactive flicker and then add it back in. That along with using Fusion to add smoke and atmosphere really enhanced the scene and its spook factor.”
The Witch VFX demo reel can be seen here.