Full Circle Max series cast Timothy Olyphant Claire Danes
ManOfTheCenturyMovie Tv Even the Manhattan skyline isn’t what it seems in ‘Full Circle’

Even the Manhattan skyline isn’t what it seems in ‘Full Circle’

Full Circle Max series cast Timothy Olyphant Claire Danes

Everyone is hiding something in Max’s twisty thriller “Full Circle” – right down to the sight outside the Manhattan apartment of parents Sam (Claire Danes) and Derek (Timothy Olyphant).

“Full Circle” is the first production to advertise Rosco’s RDX Lab system for interactive digital backgrounds on an LED wall within the show’s crucial apartment set. This is where Sam and Derek reside near Washington Square Park, their secrets exposed after the botched kidnapping of their son, Jared (Ethan Stoddard).

After first using LED wall technology on “Kimi”, director and cinematographer Steven Soderbergh returned to it for this crime thriller limited series loosely based on Akira Kurosawa’s “High and Low”. But this was a new software system and a different situation from “Kimi’s” more elaborate 3D volume requests.

RDX, with software from FuseFX, enabled Soderbergh and electrician Derek Gross to use an iPad app to project and edit high-resolution background images in real time on an LED screen (180 feet wide by 20 feet high) behind apartment windows onto a New York soundstage. Rosco worked with Carstage and Visual Alchemy to create a workflow that would allow RDX to run seamlessly through the Unreal Engine. The 2D images were delivered to the production and then adjusted as needed by Soderbergh onto a series of windows in the kitchen, living room and bedrooms.

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“It became clear after a certain amount of scouting, when we found an apartment that I thought was a good model for the Browne family’s apartment in the neighborhood, that there was no way anyone in that building was going to be signed on to shoot there in 20 to 25 days,” Soderbergh told IndieWire. “So very quickly it was established, we have to build that apartment. And we have to use this technology because we can’t possibly spend that much time there. There’s no way, if we’re just using trans lights, flat two-dimensional photographs that we’re pouring light on, it’s going to look good.

“But I love what you get from (RDX) and the ability to go from one look to another in seconds,” Soderbergh continued. “Literally, I can move the image, I can adjust the contrast, I can adjust the brightness, I can blow things up, I can make things smaller. There’s no other way to bounce this interactive, refracting light around the room off surfaces with that kind of technology.”

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Gaffer Derek Gross on the set of ‘Full Circle’

Rosco, which has amassed an extensive library of digital backdrops, expanded with RDX after providing the Chicago L train assets for “The Batman.” Phil Greenstreet, Rosco’s head of development, Backdrops & Imaging, shot the Chicago L images and gained valuable insight into the volume from cinematographer Greig Fraser. After helping develop ILM’s groundbreaking StageCraft volume for “The Mandalorian,” he recommended a pop-up version for the film’s Gotham skyline. He told Greenstreet how it worked and encouraged him to supply his own affordable LED wall system.

For “Full Circle,” Greenstreet scouted locations around apartments near Washington Square Park and shot hundreds of images with the Fuji 100 GFX camera. The apartment set was modified with long corridors for Soderbergh’s roving camera.

“They didn’t want to mess with the movement,” Greenstreet told IndieWire. “They didn’t want movement in the background either, so the flags weren’t moving, the cars weren’t moving, you just see little slivers of cars in the distance anyway.”

Soderbergh electrician Gross was impressed with RDX when it was first shown at the Cine Gear Expo in Los Angeles in 2022. “Steven spins incredibly fast,” he told IndieWire. “We can do 10 pages and three corporate moves in a nine-hour day, and to keep up with the speed Steven likes to shoot at, we needed something that was really fast and adjustable. I brought it to him to see if it was something of interest to him. And he wanted to implement it. We were lucky enough to be the first show to use it.

1690301069 796 Even the Manhattan skyline isnt what it seems in Full | ManOfTheCenturyMovie
Gaffer Derek Gross on the set of ‘Full Circle’

“And, artistically, it did everything a volume would do as a multilayered still and moving image,” Gross continued. “After Phil captured all of our shots from the apartment, the Rosco team were able to stitch a seven-layered image together for us that we could adjust on the fly. So he definitely helped us. He was able to present everything Steven wanted to see out the window, hide everything Steven didn’t want and keep up with his speed.

Soderbergh was also able to connect the images to pre-existing scenes during filming that required over-the-shoulder shots and close-ups. This is to accommodate a line or two to seamlessly fit the narrative or performance. “It’s something that’s really hard to do without this kind of technology…and all you have to do is call it up on the iPad,” Soderbergh said in a prepared statement.

Additional Reports bYes Jim Hemphill.

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