For the love of the art: The Mira Digital visual effects team comprising (from left) Ridhwan Razak, Azim, Firdaus Hashim and Sharil Harees striking a pose.
PETALING JAYA: With major Hollywood productions such as Life of Pi, Django Unchained, Alvin and the Chipmunks 3 and Seventh Son under his belt, Azim Hulaimi hopes to use his experience to raise the quality of visual effects in Malaysian films.
The former Rhythm and Hues employee formed visual effects production house Mira Digital with four other ex-colleagues.
“We could have worked at an international visual effects studio abroad but instead, we decided to use our talents to work in Malaysia.
“It was not difficult to go overseas and expand our portfolio because we had our names on film credits, but we felt the need to contribute our knowledge and expertise from working on Hollywood films to the local film industry,” he told The Star yesterday.
Their first Malaysian film is Interchange, a supernatural fantasy thriller set in a Nusantara city where a forensics photographer helps a detective solve a murder.
The film, helmed by acclaimed Malaysian director Dain Iskandar Said, has set a new benchmark to propel Malaysian movies to a global level in visual effects.
Azim said it took Mira Digital one year to work on the film. Unlike other visual effects studios that come in during post-production, they were on board during the pre-production stages working on the relevant elements.
He explained that with the many mystical aspects to Interchange, a lot of the concept art that needed to be drawn also consisted of the colour, the mood and the environment.
When asked which part of the film they had worked on, Azim said: “Look out for the birds!”
The 34-year-old from Kuala Lumpur said animating a bird took at least two months and a team of 12 because once it was created they had to make sure of the birds’ movements.
“The wings and the feathers must move according to the wind and gravity,” he said, adding that the producer also brought in a hornbill expert to guide them on the bird movements and the way it flies.
Meanwhile, Interchange producer Nandita Solomon said they opted for Mira Digital as the team had worked on Snow White and the Huntsman.
“Due to the birdman character, Belian, we knew we needed someone who had worked with feathers and bird effects,” she said.
Additionally, the film which was also shot at the library of Menara Star here, the headquarters of Star Media Group, involved actor Iedil Putra’s character Adam, a forensics photographer, arriving at an archive in search of a photograph.
“We looked at the National Library, and the National Archives but The Star’s was exactly what Dain had in mind, the type of shelves that can roll back.
“It’s a very special scene in the film, the moment when Adam finds his way in the story,” said Nandita.