PUBG | Ground of Honor: Rondo
Framestore ups the adrenaline in the PUBG | GROUND OF HONOR: RONDO film directed by Sam Hargrave starring Daniel Wu and Lee Jung-Jae.
Framestore collaborated with agency Jung von Matt Seoul, stuntman, actor and director Sam Hargrave and production company Reset to create an adrenaline-fueled short film created in anticipation of a brand-new map for the battle royale-style video game, PUBG.
The Framestore VFX team deployed a range of techniques to create the 200 plus high-tension shots needed to encapsulate the energy within the eight-minute film, including designing several custom tools.
Led by Framestore’s Visual Effects Supervisor, Luigi Russo, the team created explosions, muzzle flashes, bullet casings and impact sparks, as well as recreating locations from the game itself into live action. To achieve this, they improved and developed new tools including a bullet-shell ejector, and a procedural muzzle flash asset.
Having a director in New York, a DOP in Los Angeles, a producer in London, and a client in Korea called for meticulous planning. However, the main challenge was the tight turnaround, and at some points Framestore’s relatively small team published more than 70 shots a day between less than 10 artists, pushing their pipeline to its limit.
“We tweaked and updated several processes internally to achieve the desired outcome, including implementing a better integration of different software into the pipeline, and a seamless ACEScg workflow,” said Luigi Russo. “From the editorial side, we changed the way Flame handles the edits by having a 4k master timeline that could be updated in real time without the need of caches or renders. Everything is live and ready to go.”
With the work being an “action-film-esque” spot, the artists were assigned mini sequences instead of individual shots. This gave Framestore’s artists a great amount of creative freedom. Alongside this the team had the benefit of Framestore’s integrated commercial and episodic pipeline, giving them the ability to craft seamless VFX work, within a conventional ad turnaround.
The R&D process and testing new ideas into the pipeline was particularly fun for the team. Having fully procedural, but controllable tools like the muzzle flash generator, allowed them to develop a look and personality for each weapon to match their human handlers.
“We created aggressive and square shapes for Lee Jung-Jae’s team (Beta), and more primitive round shapes for Daniel Wu’s team (Alpha),” said Luigi Russo. “Explosions, pew pews, and kabooms were creatively interesting to make, not to mention the bespoke gore shots we needed to portray.”
One particularly frenzied scene took place inside a marketplace. This called for the DMP team to extensively re-build using digital photo-realistic paint techniques, ultimately transforming the location into a floating building. This ended up being one of the biggest shots within the film, as it had to stay true to the location in the game.
To ensure Framestore met the requirements of the various markets this would play out in, they had to create alternate versions of the shots containing blood – substituting red for a more palatable black.
“We achieved the custom blood by creating a bespoke tool within Nuke so that the compositing artists would generate two renders of their shots, out of a single script with one click, so our team could concentrate on creative work instead,” said Luigi Russo. “Additionally, we upgraded and implemented a provisional pipeline structure for a few third-party plugins so everything could be managed by our project management software.”
Working with Framestore’s sister company, Company 3, meant the team had the benefit of having colourist Matthieu Toullet in such close quarters. This ultimately enabled Framestore’s team to begin customizing their colour workflow at an early stage in the project, allowing more time to be spent on developing the look, as the technicalities were performed at a fast pace.
“It was such a joy to work on the ‘Ground of Honor’ film for PUBG with many talented people, including director Sam Hargrave at Reset and DP Greg Baldi. To achieve the final look, we had to test out a couple of different directions before landing on a look that complemented the whole film well. I must also mention the Framestore team, who created such a great and impressive look for the film. Overall, it was a collaborative team effort to create this film, and it is such a treat to be a part of it.” added Matthieu Toullet
“We had a monstrous amount of work with different complexities which needed to be completed in a super short amount of time,” said Luigi Russo. “Despite these challenges we created some unique shots and looks, and every single artist involved in the making of this film pushed the boundaries to achieve an end result which is theatrical and pulls you into the intensity of the narrative.”