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Putting his skills to enhancing effect

June 17, 2007|Susan King

Henrik Fett

Visual effects supervisor and co-founder of LOOK Effects based in Hollywood.

Credits: "Rocky Balboa," "The Fountain," "The Passion of the Christ," "Bones," "Criminal Minds."

Job description: "I am invited into the process very early into preproduction, basically sitting with the producers, and if there is a director already associated with the project, breaking down the script, going through the script and seeing where there are scenes that could use some enhancement, some help, some support from the visual effects side.

"It could be set-extension work. For example, if there is a scene described in a period movie on a location that is either nonexistent any more or very hard to get to -- or at least very expensive to get to -- we can come in and say, 'If you build a piece of that set, or if you were to go to some similar general setup, we can [enhance it using] stock footage, or we can have a splinter group go and shoot on location if it's still there.

"In the past, we have taken a local camera team or traveled with a camera team to places like Paris, and I would shoot some background plates of the Eiffel Tower. Then we would go back [to L.A.] and shoot the leads in front of green screen or in any kind of setting and then add that background element in. If we do our job right, which we tend to do, it will look like they were literally shot on the lawn in front of the Eiffel Tower."

Digital face-lift: "[We do] a digital cosmetic surgery process, as we like to joke about it. I would say over the years, it has become a specialty of ours. I guess it is kind of a beautification. Obviously, we want to help keep Hollywood looking like there are only amazingly beautiful people. As you know, that is not necessarily the case, so we have to enhance a little bit. We are asked to do so quite often.

"The hardware we are using is the same hardware that other [effects] facilities are using, but we do have some proprietary ways of approaching it that we have developed over the years. The studios only spend money on, let's call it beautification, when it comes to their leads. And then it has to be seamless. You can't have a hint or an idea something is altered.

"Most of the times, the leads aren't even aware of what we are doing. We had a feature [on which] we had to do complete dental work, literally complete, throughout the large amount of the feature."

Problem solving: "We do get calls at the last minute -- the [production] is absolutely not happy with the results of the effects they have gotten from a different vendor, and we are invited into the process very late. We problem solve and see if we can do something -- having to go back all the way to the plates and redo the shots, or can we do something with what was delivered. That situation happens quite often."

Background: "I did some editing in Germany. I have an editing background for music videos and commercials. I didn't go to film school -- I went to law school but on the side as a hobby. From very early on I did a lot of art and image manipulation.

"I was lucky that a very good friend of mine had a production house in which I found myself spending night after night helping out editing and playing with Photoshop and spending more time doing that than sitting over the books.

"I came over here in 1995 and spent two years for myself to enhance my skills going to class, seminars and schools. The rest is kind of history. I met my business partner Mark Driscoll doing a test for Warner Bros. for an episodic called 'Witchblade.' We found we worked together well and that was the basis of LOOK Effects."

Resides: Mar Vista

Age: 42

Union or Guild: The Visual Effects Society and the Producers Guild.

-- Susan King

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