You may not know it, but Netflix’s most successful movie to date, Murder Mystery, included over 250 visual effects and they were all completed by Cinesite.
Murder Mystery VFX Breakdown by Cinesite
As evident from the title, the film is a masterful, “Whodunit?”, a crime filled caper which follows New York cop Nick Spitz and his wife Audrey as they vacation in Europe, but end up getting framed for the death of an elderly billionaire.
Cinesite VFX supervisors Holger Voss and Gunnar Hansen oversaw the production, from the studio shoot in Montreal, to locations across Europe and overseeing the visual effects back at Cinesite’s Montreal base.
A key visual effects sequence takes place at the Grand Prix in Monaco. Murder suspect Juan Carlos Rivera, played by Luis Gerardo Méndez, is a racing driver. We see him preparing for a race, then competing on the track before the action switches to the Spitzes socialising at a Grand Prix rooftop spectators’ area.
Bluescreen footage of Méndez was captured in a 2016 car, winning the race. McLaren preferred the inclusion of a more recent car, so in addition to compositing the backgrounds and replacing the driver’s helmet, the car was switched digitally with the 2018 model.
An 8-camera array filmed at the Grand Prix on a platform 10m above the track. This footage was stitched together into a dome which was used to create the backgrounds for the 80 shots in the spectators area, which had been filmed in Montreal against greenscreen.
Cinesite’s team also created a range of other visual effects for Murder Mystery, including Inspector de la Croix’s impressive smoke rings, 120 shots for the spectacular and climactic car chase and a massive pullback from the Orient Express for the final shot of the film.
VFX supervisor Holger Voss maintains, “Comedy is at the heart of Murder Mystery, even in the final spectacular chase sequence. So we were careful never to detract from the comedy performances or the dialogue between Adam and Jennifer. Throughout, the visual effects were treated with as light a touch as possible.”