Unveiling the Magic: A Closer Look at the Thriving VFX Studio Scene in India
Welcome, VFX enthusiast, to the inside tour of a growing VFX Studio in India – Basilic Fly Studio. The fact that you’re reading this right now makes you a person fascinated by Visual effects. Just like us!
Before we step in, let us tell you what we do.
There’s nothing we can’t create. A bomb blast, a big purple alien who destroys half the universe (Yes, we worked on Avengers: Endgame), a blue planet full of blue aliens (Got the hint?). Let’s stop there. In short, we enhance the visual impact of movies, television shows, OTT, and commercials. We create realistic-looking environments and characters. Furthermore, we help filmmakers bring imaginary content to life, enabling them to display their ideas in ways previously impossible.
If you’re curious, here are some of our favorite movies we worked on – Spider-Man: Far From Home, Alice Through the Looking Glass, Alita: Battle Angel, Gemini Man, John Wick: Chapter 4, Deadpool 2, Thor: Love and Thunder & Rampage. We have contributed to 800+ movies, 4500 episodics, and 8000+ commercials. Check out this section to know more.
Inside Basilic Fly Studio – A Tour
We’re standing outside the doors of Basilic Fly Studio’s office in Chennai. Upon entering, a warm greeting awaits from a friendly face at the front desk. Glancing around the foyer, you’ll notice a stylish logo to the left, while to the right lies an admirable photo collage.
Soon, Prabhakar, the Head of Studio accompanies us. With a decade of experience among many VFX studio in India, his expertise shines through. Prabhakar brims with enthusiasm as he ushers us through the tour.
Our journey begins with a sprawling open workspace where artists engage in light-hearted conversations, working on their craft. The strategic layout ensures that workspaces remain hidden from view, preserving the confidentiality of ongoing projects.
While a series of offices flank the outer perimeter of the floor, the focal point is a multitude of pristine desks adorned with computer monitors sprawl across the area. The desks are organized into distinct zones to accommodate various departments – Roto, Paint, Matchmove, Comp and CG. Notably, we spot an artist tending to individual strands of an actor’s hair, underscoring the dedication to detail. As we continue walking, we see producers assess the progress achieved thus far, collaborating with artists to fine-tune scenes as needed. Down the corner, a relaxing collaboration room with ample sunlight greets us.
A hub of creative relaxation
The room is thoughtfully designed with comfortable seating and ambient lighting that reflects the company’s artistic spirit. In one corner, a well-maintained carrom board invites artists to take a break and engage in friendly matches, fostering healthy competition and team bonding. Further, the snooker table urges us to test our reflexes.
The collaboration area also features a cozy lounge space with couches, creating an inviting atmosphere for conversations and brainstorming sessions. Ultimately, this collaboration area goes beyond just a place for games – it’s a crucial part of the company’s culture, fostering connections, encouraging teamwork, and helping artists recharge their creative energies.
To know more about BFS’ journey as a notable VFX studio in India, we turn to Prabhakar who reveals the most challenging projects of all time.
”In the realm of visual effects, where imagination and technology converge, the journey from concept to screen is a testament to skill, innovation, and sheer determination. For a growing VFX company like ours, every project is not just a canvas to showcase our expertise, but an opportunity to surpass challenges and redefine creative boundaries.” – Prabhakar dives into the intricate narratives.
The Legend of Hercules (2014): Crafting mythology with pioneering techniques
Marking our debut in the world of visual effects, “The Legend of Hercules” catapulted us into uncharted territories. As we embarked on this journey in 2013, excitement and determination fueled our efforts to create something extraordinary. The narrative, rich in depth and mythology, centered around the enigmatic Son of Zeus. The challenge lay not only in the storytelling but also in the technical complexities that accompanied it.
With a tight timeframe of three months, we undertook the task of delivering over 350 shots that would seamlessly integrate into the larger cinematic tapestry. What set us apart was our pioneering use of the Native Stereo technique across all departments – Roto, Paint, Matchmove, and Comp. This innovative approach positioned us as trailblazers in the field, with our studio being the sole Indian vendor amidst established US counterparts.
Our team of 35+ artists displayed unwavering dedication, harnessing their skills to breathe life into this epic narrative. The end credits of the movie showcased their names – a testament to their contribution to the visual spectacle. “The Legend of Hercules” not only marked a remarkable beginning for us but also symbolized our commitment to innovation and excellence.
Alice Through the Looking Glass (2016): Navigating fantasy realms
The enchanting world of “Alice Through the Looking Glass” beckoned us to embark on a visual odyssey of another kind. With over 2500 shots awaiting our creative touch, we confronted the challenge of integrating high-complexity VFX into a star-studded, fantasy-laden cinematic masterpiece. The project’s intricacy was intensified by the fact that 90 percent of the movie was intertwined with our work, posing a formidable line to tread.
Despite our relatively young age VFX studio in India – just 2-3 years old – we embraced the complexities head-on. Our team navigated the challenges of simultaneous projects while consistently meeting quality benchmarks. Working with blue screens as the basis for most shots, we tackled removals, prosthetic additions, and transparent object integrations with unwavering resolve.
As the film’s vibrant universe came to life, our artists left an indelible mark on its essence. Their dedication and creative prowess resonated through each frame, earning them a place in the end credits – a testament to their artistic contributions.
Alita: Battle Angel (2019): Merging realities with precision
The visionary minds of Robert Rodriguez and James Cameron converged in “Alita: Battle Angel,” presenting us with a monumental task that blended live-action and anime aesthetics. The challenge lay in capturing the essence of this unique convergence while adhering to tight deadlines and delivering work of the highest standards.
Navigating through scenes crowded with characters, such as the final rollerball game, demanded meticulous attention to detail. Even the minutest change in the background environment necessitated extensive reworks, reflecting our commitment to perfection. The fusion of proxy removals, rig removals, robot replacements, and lighting-based night sequences added layers of complexity.
Bringing Rosa Salazar’s captivating performance to life as the character ‘Alita’ was a rigorous endeavor that demanded precision and dedication. Despite the challenges, our team’s camaraderie and the supportive environment propelled us forward, ultimately contributing to the film’s remarkable visual storytelling.
Mary Poppins Returns (2018): Melding eras and magic
Sequels often pose the challenge of honoring tradition while embracing innovation, and “Mary Poppins Returns” was no exception. Set against the backdrop of 1930s London during the “Great Slump,” the film called for a harmonious blend of traditional animation and modern VFX. As we delved into merging these distinct realms, we encountered challenges that pushed our creative limits.
The fusion of animation and VFX wasn’t without its hurdles, demanding meticulous attention to detail to seamlessly integrate the two. With character recreations and multiple quality control checks, we navigated through the intricacies to ensure that every frame upheld the film’s magical essence. Night shots, crowd scenes, and seamless removals added to the complexity, highlighting our commitment to precision.
As the film’s vibrant sequences came to life, our role in preserving its enchantment was deeply gratifying. Our journey through the creative tapestry of “Mary Poppins Returns” was a testament to our ability to bridge eras and weave magic into every frame.
Avengers: Endgame (2019): Mastering complexity in the Marvel universe
“Avengers: Endgame” not only redefined the superhero genre but also tested our mettle in a world full of VFX houses. With over 2000 complex shots, we embarked on a journey that demanded unwavering technical expertise and creative finesse. Countless property recreations and character recreations formed the landscape of challenges, which we approached with resolve and innovation.
The film’s monumental success at the box office was indebted to the pivotal role of VFX. Our team’s technical proficiency, creative acumen, and extensive experience guided us through hurdles, positioning us as key contributors to the film’s triumph. The privilege of handling most of the trailer shots, a responsibility typically entrusted to seasoned teams, marked a milestone in our journey.
From background additions to proxy removals, every aspect of our work was a testament to our dedication to delivering the highest quality. The intricate details, such as safety cable removals in stunt sequences and prosthetic work for characters, showcased our commitment to mastering complexity. In the face of the challenges, our artists emerged triumphant, having not only met but surpassed expectations.
Sleepy Hollow (TV Series 2013–2017): Weaving realism into fantasy
“Sleepy Hollow” presented a diverse spectrum of challenges many Visual Effects companies face. It ranges from set extensions to fluid simulations and CG prosthetics. The intricacies of digitally removing the head of the Headless Horseman – a central character deeply interwoven into the storyline – required meticulous precision to ensure realism.
The fusion of fantasy and reality demanded attention to detail that went beyond the surface, underscoring our commitment to crafting authentic narratives. The challenges of “Sleepy Hollow” exemplified our ability to seamlessly blend realism into fantasy, a testament to our dedication as a growing VFX studio in India.
Our journey through these diverse projects reflects a relentless pursuit of excellence, a commitment to innovation, and a passion for pushing creative boundaries. We have not only embraced challenges but turned them into opportunities to showcase our technical prowess and artistic finesse.
To Aspiring Artists
As our tour nears its conclusion, Prabhakar shares a few words with aspiring VFX artists, “Your passion and dedication will be your weapons. Nurture your curiosity and hone your craft. VFX can be demanding, but your love for the craft will keep you motivated. Be adaptable and open-minded when facing challenges. Your ability to pivot creatively and problem-solve will set you apart.”
With that final words, our tour ends.