Burning Flesh


We definitely gave something for Denis Leary‘s character Tommy Gavin to feel on last night’s episode of Rescue Me.

Remember that blow torch scene? Pretty painful stuff supplied to you by our visual effects team. Firstly, we had to add a flame to the blow torch. This was done by shooting a plate of a torch originally shot against black and then compositing it onto the shot (properly timed with Leary pulling the torch trigger of course). Additionally, we used an additive transfer mode in order to give the flame a nice glowing feel. And then, as an extra touch, we included heat ripples around the flame by using a turbulate.

The second major addition to the scene was the burning of Leary’s upper thigh. By shooting a plate of a prosthetic leg (casted from Leary’s stunt-double) being torched, we were able to capture the burn pattern that would later be composited onto Leary’s leg.

Due to the material differences between a latex prosthetic and an actual human leg, further adjustments were needed to complete the composite. Adding redness to the center allowed the wound to take on more “flesh-like” characteristics, and boosting the specularity contributed to a wetter appearance. We also added a ring of charred flesh around the outside of the wound.

Another interesting tidbit, the original shot had series of tracking points painted onto Denis’ thigh. These allowed us to know exactly where the wound would go and how the surface of the leg distorted as he writhed in pain. Obviously they had to be removed for the final composite.