‘Baahubali’ has entertained us, enthralled us and most important of them all, the movie has made us feel proud of being Indians. Now this is very rare, Indian movies aren’t actually known to be well-respected overseas, the exceptions are there obviously. But the makers behind the epic period drama pulled it off as they managed to get the world-class visual effects done in less than half the budget of an average Hollywood film. The movie has become the highest-grossing Indian film of all times. How in the world did they pull it off? That is the question everybody is asking now a days and that’s why we sat down with the masterminds who made the epic movie so grand.
If you have seen the movie, you know what we are talking about. Whether it was a romantic scene, landscape shot or a dramatically violet war sequence, the effects were top-notch and they managed to do it all within a budget of just 150 million US dollars.
The people present at the Raleigh Studio Cafe were Pete Draper, the Co-Founder and Division Head at Makuta Visual Effects, the VFX house that oversaw the majority of Baahubali’s 2,500 effects shots; Raja Koduri, head of the Radeon Technologies Group at Sunnyavale, California-based AMD, which provided key technologies and hardware to the film; Roy Taylor, AMD’s Corporate Vice President for Alliances; also and the film’s director, S.S. Rajamouli, and its producer, Shobu Yarlagadda.
The director started by saying that in order to get the work done under this tight budget, we needed good technicians whom we trusted as we have worked with them before in many projects.
“There were lots of set extensions. The principal challenge for the Director of Photography was framing the shot. When you’re shooting a live plate that’s going to be extended with visual effects, you have to be good at imagining what’s not there in front of you. For instance, the waterfall we shot was tremendously augmented, and it has to look like it’s1.5 kilometers high in the shot. We had to be innovative to keep to our budget. We found ways. It took a little more time but it was very cost-effective, often costing only about 1/20th of what the expensive solution would cost.”Draper did a great deal of work in fluid dynamics, and pushed the boundaries, but also used lots of old school tricks and some cheats. He worked closely with AMD, and used game method techniques, avoiding textures and lighting to get renders done quickly”, he said.
“The waterfall climb sequence in the first act was extremely complicated, requiring a new virtual set for each shot,. The Tarzan episode where the main character swings on vines and leaps over logs was a huge challenge. And the city scenes, which looked even more grand and epic, were much simpler to do by comparison. The city set was pivotal, but much less complicated to shoot.”
Koduri explained that the film was a great learning experience for him and for AMD. “We live in a real-time world,” he explained by saying that unlike the gaming world, films come with time constraints.
Woah!!! Made on a budget of 150 million and at par with ‘300’if compared on the basis of effects, they have got some guts we must admit.