Sometimes VFX means over-the-top explosions in action-packed scenes, and sometimes VFX caters to the minutiae of a wrought legal drama. On FX‘s hit show Damages, much of the visual effects employed were created for detail and continuity reasons.
For instance, in one of the flashbacks, William Hurt’s character gets into a fight with his wife, she throws a phone at him and it leaves a cut on his brow. In the edit, the wound make-up changed shape and location on Hurt’s head from one shot to the next. Our job was to isolate the correct wound from a good frame, remove the incorrect wound from the other shots, and then composite the good wound into those bad shots – thus correcting the incongruity. The entire process proved to be slightly tricky due to the difficulty of tracking Purcell’s forehead during the struggle and lighting changes throughout the room.
Other corrections included changing the coordinates on GPS devices (used for covert communications) as well as modifying a slightly scandalous call-girl website (that is being investigated) and removing an errant wine bottle from a dinner scene.
Some interesting additions made over Season 2 included adding a name to a blank tombstone and a blanket used to hide guns inside the trunk of a car. The blanket composite was fun, and because it was an after thought we didn’t have a blanket plate. We set up a blanket on a desk in our offices and used an ARRI DP light kit- being mindful of the scene’s overall lighting and details like the trunk-light. We snapped a bunch of hi-res stills and composited the blanket into the scene.