How Many People does it Take to make ‘Grant Gustin’s’ Special Effect in TV Series ‘The Flash’?

the flash special effects

Now I know everyone must have heard or seen the fantastic CW TV series called the Flash. Well for what its worth, I think the show is awesome, I mean all the super-human powers and stuff is just perfect. The Flash, a cool television series currently airing on the CW is based on the popular DC Comics character, assistant police forensic investigator Barry Allen (Grant Gusting).
He suffers a serious electrical and chemical accident that causes him as well as other metahumans to possess incredible super powers. Allen gets to have the ability move at superhuman speed; this fantastic effect was achieved in show thanks to the help of Encore Hollywood.

I guess we all know that in the Flash, Barry Allen takes advantage of his blazing superhuman speed to protect and save the citizens of Central City from other Metahuman Threats. Now, in real life, our favorite superhero has got the normal human speed, but he isn’t capable of moving fast than a blink talk more of the speed of light. But thanks to the amazing wonders of technology, the CW has made it entirely possible to make him look like he’s the “Fastest Man Alive.”

So… How do they make the Flash special effects?

Well guys, before we go further into the super software details, let’s get a little idea from the source himself, like the cool guy that runs. In a recent interview, Grant took us inside the movie to tell us the big secret to his superhuman speed. The Flash team can make him look like he’s running hundreds of miles an hour on the big screen and as expected, it takes a lot of physical exertion.

So here what he says; “They’ll put me on a treadmill right in front of a green screen, hooked up to a harness. I’ll run, and they’ll blow the wind on me and make it look like I’m going super fast.”

Now that’s not all guys; he also told the that the green screen, treadmill, and the fan are just a part of the process. The Flash post production team also make use of cameras and computer to fire up the illusion.

According to Grant, They also took around 16,000 photographs of his face and body so they can generate a digital double of his body. So, he does the running, then it transitions to the digital double, and they morph all that awesomeness together to make it look like he’s the “Fastest Man Alive.”

The big man behind all the excellent visual effects featured on The Flash, Armen Kevorkian also has things to say on how they helped create that blazing lightening speed.

According to him, The Flash’s superhuman speed is achieved in four primary ways.

Flash’s Speed Achieved in Four Primary Ways

• Broad shots depicting The Flash speeding through a city street completed as CG streaks by the VFX team.

• Next up is the fast ‘in and out’ frame shots. According to Kevorkian, they’re called “Flash Blurs.”

• Transition Shots also play a significant role in making those killer visual effects. For instance, Allen charging into action which then transitions into a CG double.

• Complete CG double shots. To achieve this, Encore invested significant time in R&D’ing a more feature film approach to the Digital double work.

In the world of high-tech digital movies, one of the most successful solutions for creating a digital human character has been to capture scans of an actor’s face through a Light Stage. So, for this session, “Barry Allen” is the digital human character. Kervokian had Grant go through a Light Stage capture session. According to Kervokian, “Having a good quality, Computer Graphic double was going to be crucial to the show, and if we do our job well with the lightening and integration in the scene, no one will be able to know.”

Other CG Secrets

Now you may be wondering how the rest of Flash was created in Computer Graphics. Well, to achieve this, Kervokian processed a further body scan of Gustin and took high quality textured pictures with polarized lights and filters of the on-set costume. The big secret is that everything that has to do with “The Flash” is digital. Right from Barry to Central City. Now that’s mind blowing tech.

If you’ve been following the movie, you’ll discover that the digital Flash makes lots of appearances for different kinds of shots, like when shots need to depict time slowing down around him or when stunts will be too dangerous. As for the slow-motion effects, a phantom camera was used for starters but later on the production team took advantage of ARRI Alexa’s 120 frames per second abilities and did slow-motion and time ramp effects in post. According to Kervokian, the biggest challenge with using ARRI Alexa’s 120 frames is that the creation of light beams is based on his motion and speed. They have to work with a whole lot of frames and animate them at 120 even for moments that are sped up just so everything looks great and natural.

If we take a look back at the previous episodes, The Flash trademark blur and the resulting pieces of lightning was super awesome for a scene where Allen saves a bicyclist who is hit by a taxi. According to the VFX boss, That scene was shot with a Phantom at 900 fps. The stunt was real, and they pulled him in a way that looked like he was flying in the air and then something awesome comes to his rescue. That was the first shot where the Computer Graphic Flash was added up to where he was animated the whole way and then slowed down for moments you see him connecting with the rider. The whole process is just perfect.

There you have it, guys; the fact remains that this TV show has outdone themselves with all the high-end digital technologies that have been used right from the beginning of the series up until now. What continues to astound us is that everything about the Flash is digital including Central City. What more can we say than a big thank you to “digital technology.” for making us witness what it feels like to be the “Fastest Man Alive.”