WORDS Katie Kasperson
The Nun II achieves its frightening finish with the help of French VFX company, La Planète Rouge Double-take
T he latest addition to The tale of possession and exorcism – two classic themes of the horror genre. Based primarily in France, The Nun II mixes on- location backdrops like Tarascon’s Arc de Boqui with virtual production, done in-house by La Planète Rouge. incorporate VP, approaching La Planète Rouge – whose studio, The Next Stage, sits within southern France’s Provence Studios – with several requests. “Michael Chaves, the director – who knows a lot about VFX – was interested in shooting in The Next Stage,” says Morgann Brun, post producer and production manager at La Planète Rouge. Initially, “we had two types Conjuring ’s cinematic universe, The Nun II is a supernatural Inside scoop The Nun II ’s team always wanted to
of scenes we had to shoot – the first one was within a train and the second was using cars.” VP studios are great for adding virtual backgrounds, but they can also shield actors from the elements. An additional sequence – “the farmhouse scene, which was a flashback” – was originally supposed to be filmed on location, according to Brun. “They were shooting in December,” she recounts. “Shooting outside when it’s cold, when this is a really emotional and important scene – they wanted the comfort of doing it inside.” This isn’t uncommon; James Cameron famously used heated swimming pools to shoot Titanic . Not only was the farmhouse scene shot indoors, but the house itself was digitally modified. “They made a small version of the house, and we – as a VFX company – did some compositing to
make the house bigger or smaller as the director wanted,” explains Brun.
Quick work Maxime Couteret – known for his work on Inception , Hugo and The Hunger Games franchise – joined The Nun II during re-takes as production manager. His first time coming into a project during its late stages, Couteret recounts the exceptional time pressure to ensure the film met its deadline. “We had to work in a hurry,” he explains. The train scene needed to be reshot as a direct result of the screen test, as “some parts of the movie were not clear to the audience,” says Couteret. “There was someone in the movie – the viewers didn’t understand what he was doing there. It needed more explanation.” Luckily, this was quick work for La Planète Rouge, who’d previously constructed the set on an LED volume. “They added some dialogue to the scene, and we had to spend a lot of time in this railway wagon,” Couteret continues, “but it’s better to do it on an LED stage than going back and forth all day on a train.” “I’m not even sure how they did it, but it was very easy,” describes Couteret. Being in-studio helped in other, unexpected ways. “It allowed the director to direct two stages at once; when we were re-setting the LED stage, he could go and work on the stage next door.” Overall, Couteret and his team are “very happy” with the final result. “It was tough,” he says – but thanks to the expertise of La Planète Rouge and the rest of The Nun II crew, “it was fun.”
HOLY SAVIOUR With the production under time pressure, La Planète Rouge facilitated essential reshoots following a test screening. Its VP expertise allowed a rapid turnaround on the filming
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