Director Daniel Ferguson
VFX Supervisor Thomas Montminy-Brodeur
We had the great pleasure of working with director Daniel Ferguson and his team to bring to life the real tales of life-saving dogs from around the world in 4K Stereo. To tell these stories faithfully, our VFX Supervisor Thomas Montminy-Brodeur traveled with production to Whistler, Vancouver, Los Angeles and Kenya for onset supervision of key sequences that our team later worked on in post-production.
Using effects simulations and motion design, we created a visual representation of human smells as perceived by dogs, showing how canines process odor trails as silhouettes. We used these effects to demonstrate how the hero dogs save people from drowning, from avalanches, and how they track poachers.
For the drowning shot in particular, production filmed a water rescue dog swimming on green screen in Italy and our artists used the plate to recreate and backlit a 3D dog to show what is happening underwater. Being careful to avoid making the dog cartoony, we recreated the swimming actions in slow motion and made the fur photorealistic as her coat moves with the water.
To show how the odor silhouettes enter dogs’ noses, and the reactions triggered in their brains, we recreated the inside of a dog’s nose and the passages to its brain. To meet the educational elements of the documentary, we worked with scientists to ensure accuracy in our representations and used cinematography to illustrate the molecules moving like spaceships.