~ about ~

What is The Chalk?

We are a Digital Imaging and Content Creation Boutique. We're more than video; we incorporate a plethora of imaging tools including (but not limited to) 3D scanning, photogrammetry, physics simulations, and computational photography. We specialize in visual effects (vfx) and use the same software & tools used to create Hollywood blockbusters.

This is a place where ideas are generated, problems are solved, and investments are returned. We learn about your challenges and goals to craft video, animation, and motion graphics to address your unique needs. Whether your goal is to tell a compelling story or to educate your sales team we will work with you to develop effective and compelling content.

Conveniently located between LA and NY in the Denver Metro area, our clients include independent feature films, high-end corporate communications and marketing, episodic television and commercials. We’re a small team. We’re specialized, flexible, and maneuverable; being small has its advantages. Since 2013 The Chalk has contributed over 2000 visual effects shots to 7 independently produced feature films.

Get the conversation started by emailing The Chalk vfx

~ show reels ~

~ Across The Board Capabilities ~

Compositing

Match-moving

Physical Simulation

Digital Matte Painting

Animation

3D Environment





~ Trifecta of Services ~

Planning

The best VFX require planning; just like the rest of your shoot.  from screen replacements to tent-pole effects having a plan is crucial to a smooth post-production.

At The Chalk we're happy to breakdown your script and figure out what plan of action will be need to execute the effects in post-production.  We can help your avoid costly mistakes on set and plan to get the data required for integrating CGI into the live action cinematography.  In addition to effects breakdowns, we can produce Proof Of Concept work to demonstrate our capabilities and the viability of a creative idea or story telling element.  Lastly, we can produce 2D and 3D previz.

As a Post Boutique, we see the same mistakes over and over: Green material on monitors intended for replacement, poorly placed tracking markers, no HDR photos. . . to name a few.  Visual Effects artists are so goo that the "we'll fix it in post" post mindset has extended to every possible problem.  A Visual Effects Supervisor on set could save hours in post fixing easily avoidable mistakes. 

Production

Visual Effects is traditionally thought of as post-production work.  However in the contemporary film-making pipeline there are roles for visual effects during production. 

VFX On Set

First is the VFX Supervisor on set.  The Visual Effects Supervisor and Data Wranglers are on set collecting & doing things like: HDR, 3D scans, photogrammetry, placing tracking markers, lens distortion grids, room measurements.  This is the team that ensures the images that are captured in camera will work to create the effects that are planned. 

The Chalk's in house equipment includes canon digital camera and 5.6mm fish lens for shooting HDR lat-long images as well as a wider variety of prime and zoom lens for textures, surveys and photogrammety, we also have a grey ball, mirror ball, lens distortion grids, full compliment of camera charts, and tracking markers.  Lastly we have a compact 3D scanner generating quick 3D models of assets and rooms on location.

Production of 3D Assets

The second role of VFX in production is to begin work on the CGI.   At this stag 3D models can be built  and refined.  The rigging can be done in preparation for animation as well as creating the shaders and texture painting.  Simulated effects: particles, rigid bodies, soft bodies, fluids (pyro, smoke, air), water, sand, etc can all be started.  With today's ever increasing need and complexity of computer generated images, the production of the 3D elements can often start before principle photography and last well after the cameras gone and the lights are dark. 

Filming Assets and Other Image Acquisition

The VFX provider may want to shoot custom element.  This may include elements for use in compositing, textures for 3D, photos for matte paintings or reference, or photogammetry photos.  Also scans of actors and props may be acquired off set. 

Our in house production equipment covers the gamut of your shooting needs.  Currently we have the Blackmagic URSA Mini Pro and the 4K Production Cinema Camera with a full set of cine prime lens and Sigma Cine Zooms.  We have a full complement of lights including LED's, Kino's, Fresnel's, China-balls, and Compact Florescent.  We have white, grey, and black backdrops and several portable green screens.  We could go on, but you get the picture. . . we have lots nice gear!





Post-Production

Post-production is where The Chalk shines brightest.  Since our start in 2011 we've contributed to 10 independent feature films, countless short films, TV shows, and advertisements.   Many Post houses start at the lowest point of entry with After Effects and Cinema 4D powering their VFX offering; our pipeline is build around The Foundry's Nuke compositing and conform software.  Nuke was described by the Academy of Motion Pictures as ‘the backbone of compositing and image processing pipelines across the motion picture industry.'

The Chalk's post-production services include editing and color correction, and light sound work.  What sets us apart from the crowd is our expert visual effects knowledge.  

Beyond Editing
Modern Audience expect to see (and not notice) quality VFX and SFX in feature films, commercials, music videos, shot films. . . essentially everything. 

Compositing
Our compositing is top notch, the best in town.  The Chalk has contributed over 1000 shots to indie feature films; most of which are 'invisible'.   Compositing is often thought of removing a green screen and replacing that area with a background.  While this is true, the craft some compositing is much more than that.  Think of it like Photoshop on video.  The bulk of our work is actually removing unwanted objects and people from shots.   We also do set extensions, day for night, dry for wet, shot enhancements like adding volumetric effects (light and fog), integrating CGI renders in to live action cinematography, sky replacements, screen inserts/replacement, and camera stabilization to name a few common applications.  One other big compositing task deserves a section of its own. . . .

Digital Makeup
We want your talent to look their best and to look real; we frown on applying a global blur to smooth out imperfections.  Our work is much more nuanced than that.  One of the most popular and least talked about compositing applications is Digital Makeup.  Some of the most common tasks we perform are blemish removals, lighting under the eyes, and highlight reduction.  We've also done things like reshaping lips, widening eyes,  straitening teeth, removing seams of prosthetic applications, extending prosthetic etc.  

Digital Matte Painting
DMP goes hand in hand with composting.  The tradition of matte painting dates back to the beginning motion pictures.  We've created entire digital environments around characters, mixing 2D and 3D assets as well as done smaller set extensions.  In addition to using photographs we use the powerful Vue and SpeedTree software to create any element of nature you can think of.  We are capable of animating 2D matte paintings as well as breaking them apart for the 2.5D projection applications that has become a staple of set extension work.  

Camera Tracking
Camera tracking or match-moving is an essential technique used to make digital copies of the production camera.  This data is used to photograph CGI elements with the same camera used in the live action photography. 

Simulated Reality
One thing you'll find here is a the ability to create custom effects from simulated 3D software.  Our 3D modeling packages include Houdini, Modo, and Vue, and each has the ability to simulate FX.  Houdini is our go to app for this work; it's a little complicated and there's lots of terminology, but to sum it up we can do just about anything you can imagine or describe.  Explosions, Fire, Water, Glass/Stone/Wood Breaking, Cloth, Paper, Blobs, Dust, Clouds, Smoke. . . Contact use for more information and a free consultation.  Get the conversation started 
by emailing The Chalk vfx

Character Animation
This isn't one of the task we excel at like compositing; however, it's worth noting that we are capable of rigging and animating models.  Currently our experience in this area is limited; but we're always learning and expanding our skill set.

Thomas, the principle artist at The Chalk, has been compositing for 12 years.  He's a certified to train Nuke artists.  Thomas also teaches post-production classes at The Colorado Film School.

Fix It In Post
At the chalk we do 'fix thing in post'.  Over the year's we've done 100s of shots that required the removal of unwanted things in the images.  We're not taking about the mic dipping in, we removed whole cars, people, cables, crews, reflections, equipment. . . the kind of things your editor said you can't fix.  

~ Past Performances ~

~ contact ~

Don't get shut out -- Contact The Chalk now!

(303) 395-4844 - info@thechalkvfx.com