The Sawmill collaborated with VFX production studio, Tau Films for Rajinikanth’s 2.0 released worldwide on November 29, 2018. The film, produced by Lyca Productions, is the sequel to Enthiran (2010) also features Akshay Kumar and became one of India’s most anticipated sci-fi blockbusters for 2018. The 3D thriller is believed to involve over 2000 VFX shots involving numerous world renowned studios, artists and stunt directors and is currently the biggest budget sci-fi movie in India.
The Sawmill was brought on in early 2017 with production moving to Vancouver, Canada for the major fight scene in the stadium. An animatic previsualized the battle sequence to guide the VFX supervisor, Walt Jones in his collaboration with the actions director, Nick Powell. These previewed scenes were necessary to provide a visual language required to bring the story to life. Special stunt rigging gear was custom fabricated for the scenes in the studio to maximize the movements by the performers. Although the main studio is not a comparatively large motion capture stage, there was enough area to replicate the stadium vastness. In the scene, the two stars transform into robot entities and battle using every means possible including attacking each other with the stadium girders. Meanwhile, the crowd flees in terror. In actual fact, the motion capture utilized the same stunt actors replicated as individual crowd participants with VFX software creating a stadium multitude of thousands.
Post production for the motion capture was completed within a few weeks after which the VFX continued for another year.
“The mocap work was pretty painless. Things went smoothly,” stated Walt Jones whose credits include Oscar-winning VFX projects such as Life of Pi (2012) and Golden Compass (2007). “...I would absolutely use Sawmill again. Cost is secondary to value. For what we were doing on 2.0, you guys [the studio] have very high value and things aligned perfectly.”