VFX Legion Delivers 100+ CG Effects For ‘Don’t Breathe 2’

VFX Legion created over 100 visual effects for director Rodo Savagues’ action thriller, ‘Don’t Breathe 2.’ The franchise was born from the creative partnership of Savagues and Fede Alvare. It follows the highly successful first installment, ‘Don’t Breathe,’ directed by Alvare in 2016.

Visual effects were key to bringing co-writers Savagues and Alvare’s vision of the film to life. Complex computer-generated sequences and digital shots augment imagery captured on practical footage. CGI was used to elevate the visceral emotions elicited by the atmospheric thriller.

In the original film, three men break into the home of the blind man, Norman Nordstrom (Stephan Lang) expecting an easy score. Instead, they’re slaughtered by a combat-trained veteran with acutely heightened senses. The sequel picks up the story six years later, with Lang, reprising his role. Now living in isolation with an orphaned girl. Their quiet existence is shattered when the child is kidnapped. Using his formable skills, the protagonist sets out to rescue the girl and take revenge on her captors.

Shot in Belgrade, Serbia, and Detroit in 2020, the pandemic slowed down production of the film considerably. A looming release date put pressure on postproduction. When the original visual effects vendor lacked the resources to meet the film’s needs, shots were spread out among numerous companies. Legion was asked to bid on 30+ effects and initially awarded just a handful of the most complex shots.

Within days of beginning the job, the studio contacted Legion to bid on more work. The company was awarded nearly all the effects for a big sequence that called for a variety of complex effects. Legion’s artists created raging fires, time warps, fluid dynamics, split screens, and CG muzzle flashes, along with other shots for the scene.

“The quality of the intricate, multi-layered shots that we produced exceeded the client’s expectations. The visual effects dramatically elevating the look of the original digital effects while meeting tight deadlines,” says James David Hattin, Legion’s Founder and VFX Supervisor.

“Our initial work on the film gave us the opportunity to earn the client’s trust, adds Hattin. “Legion being brought on board as one of the primary visual effects vendors and ultimately.”

The massive opening shot of the movie, well over 1500 frames long, incorporates a wide range of effects. Legion created a fully CG double of an actress, custom graffiti, computer-generated overgrown foliage, and integrated multiple digital elements into the footage.

Searing CGI:
‘Don’t Breathe 2’ includes at total of 40 digitally ignited fire sequences. The complexity and dynamics of these effects would have made building them from scratch a costly and time-consuming process. VFX Legion’s association with ActionVFX enabled its team to provide an efficient alternative. Legion’s artists found stock fires that were the right fit for all but one of the 40 shots. The team digitally augmented the stock elements and seamlessly blend with practical footage throughout the film.

During one scene the protagonist sets a house on fire, with some digital help. Towards the end of the movie, he is desperately trying to find a way out of the house as the intensity of the CG flames grows, virtually consuming the structure. Using Autodesk’s Maya, artists digitally crumbled the floors as The Blind Man makes his way through the flames to a window and dives out, escaping the inferno.

Real-Time Communication:
“The client was also thrilled with the ongoing immediate access they had to Legion’s team. The level of communications that we considered essential to our brand of visual effects services was a game-changer for the production,” says Hattin, “It made working with us a seamless, stress-free experience while maximizing efficiency and fast-tracking deliverables. Rodo was several continents and time zones away but always available to give us feedback responsively to make the final shots better than ever.”

Title: ‘Don’t Breathe 2’ (2021)
Genre: Feature Film
Release Date: August 13, 2021

Directed by: Rodo Sayagues
Written by: Fede Alvarez, Rodo Sayagues

Production Companies:
Screen Gems
Stage 6 Films
Ghost House Pictures
Bad Hombre
Sony Pictures Worldwide Acquisitions (Distributor)

Produced by:
Fede Alvarez – producer
Joseph Drake – executive producer
Rick Jacobson – executive producer
Nathan Kahane – executive producer
Christopher Landry – associate producer
Andrew Pfeffer – executive producer
Sam Raimi – producer
Rob Tapert – producer
Erin Westerman – executive producer
Stephen Lang – executive producer

Pedro Luque – cinematographer
Jan Kovac – editor
Music by – Roque Baños
Brianna Domont – visual effects executive

Visual Effects Company – VFX Legion LA/B.C.
Reid Burns – visual effects executive producer
Rommel S. Calderon – cg supervisor
Ruy Delgado – tracking artist
Chris Derochie – senior animator
Eric Ebling – cg artist
Nick Guth – digital compositor
H Haden Hammond – digital compositor
James David Hattin – visual effects supervisor
Matthias Lowry – digital compositor
Brad Moylan – digital compositor
Matthew Noren – visual effects coordinator
Eugen Olsen – digital compositor
Rafael Perez – digital compositor
Chris Pettigrew – digital compositoe
Nate Smalley – visual effects producern
Norie Varga – digital compositor
Sebastian Weber – senior animator

VFX Stock Footage Company: ActionVFX /LA

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