BTS: Live Action + VFX for Capable Civilian Training

fury bts 2The world is, increasingly, an uncertain place to live and work. Thanks to terrorism, mass shooters, and economic unrest, it’s no surprise that more and more people are trying to learn how to stay safe. Whether correctly or incorrectly, the self-defense industry has long been associated with an over-abundance of testosterone and far-right-wing politics. I’ve recently started doing some work with a company that’s trying to change that. It’s Fury Security Consulting, and they have developed a corporate-style approach that they call Capable Civilian Training.

To communicate the company’s efforts to bring personal security out of the gym and into the boardroom, I worked with my colleagues at Pixel Method to create this promotional video for the Capable Civilian website, combining upscale cinematography with high-tech motion graphics.

The video itself was fairly straightforward to shoot. The closeups were filmed against a white wall, to avoid having to chromakey fine details, and the wide shots were filmed with the spokesperson standing on a “green screen” fabric backdrop. Shooting in ProRes HQ on the Blackmagic 4K Production Camera, the footage had plenty of detail to allow for a super-clean key, meaning that there’s no visible edge between the actress and the CG elements.

While I contributed some general direction on the VFX, I have to give credit to Pixel Method for really hitting this one out of the park. With a little bit of planning, a great spokesperson, and a lot of work in post, this video really differentiates the client from their competition.

Because the text was fairly dense, I deliberately broke it up into bite-sized chunks, with a substantial change of angle (wide, medium, tight) between each one, to avoid jump-cuts. This also allowed me to plan for use of closeup shots where appropriate to emphasize a more emotional appeal, versus using wide shots to allow for CG element insertion. By planning all this out ahead of time, I was able to know exactly what I needed from the actress, rather than tiring her out by making her repeat the same lines with the camera in different positions. In fact, I saved so much time by being organized, I was able to shoot an entire second video before I ran out of studio time. I knew this video would be simpler, so we pulled down the green screen, and I shot the whole thing on a white background, once again changing shots between lines.

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