Mark Reyes, Riot's Jay Santiago explain intricacies of bringing 'Voltes V Legacy' to life

Kathleen A. Llemit - Philstar.com
Mark Reyes, Riot's Jay Santiago explain intricacies of bringing 'Voltes V Legacy' to life
"Voltes V: Legacy" follows the three Armstrong brothers Steve, Big Bert and Little John, who are joined by their friends Jamie Robinson and Mark Gordon in fighting off Boazanians, a horned race of alien invaders. The pilots operate five attack vehicles that transform into the giant super robot, Voltes V.
GMA Entertainment Group / Telesuccess / TOEI

MANILA, Philippines — One of the common comments on "Voltes V: Legacy" is its attention to detail and leveled-up animation and visual effects (VFX) for a Philippine TV series. 

Director Mark Reyes and one of the show's VFX animators, Riot's Jay Santiago, said it was one of the important considerations before they decided to make a series out of the beloved 1970s Japanese anime. 

"The only way to keep the level of quality is to have it canned and not shoot to air," said director Mark to Philstar.com.

"And yes, most the shows now in GMA are canned," he added. 

Many international shows and franchises are "canned" or were filmed prior to their target release dates. On the contrary, many Philippine shows have been done "shoot-to-air," meaning, the production is ongoing while a show is currently airing on TV. 

"Voltes V: Legacy" is among the canned Philippine shows of late, and many viewers said that it paid off for the show. 

Canned or bust

Santiago is the managing director and visual effects director of Riot Inc., a post-production company he co-founded in 2003. 

As someone who grew up watching "Voltes V" back in the late 1970s, he is adamant that he gives it its proper due when its live-action will be made. 

In fact, he was instrumental in making the pitch tape for "Voltes V: Legacy" that was shown to Japan's TOEI. That pitch tape was a labor of love from him and his fellow "Voltes V" fans in Riot Inc. They have been working on it as early as 2011 as some sort of project whenever they have down times. 

 Santiago said that making "Voltes V: Legacy" is not child's play. It takes experience, skill and, literally, time. 

"I cannot work on it na hindi siya canned simply because we are dealing with computer-generated imagery (CGI)-heavy renders. Kasi for the record, the resolution that we deliver are movie resolution," Santiago said to Philstar.com. 

"The render time itself takes a while. Actually, ang render ng isang frame. May mga frames kami inaabot ng one hour. 'Pag ni-render namin, 'yung isang frame, isang pass lang 'yun. Per frame has 10 passes. Pagsasama-samahin mo pa 'yun. Eh isang oras na nga 'yung isa e. Paano pa 'yung ibang pass? So hindi talaga aabot. Kino-compute ko lahat 'yan e," Santiago explained. 

"Imagine one week's episode is like a movie. Ganoon ka dugo 'yun," he added. 

Santiago said they have around a hundred machines that are working 24/7 in their office in Makati. This is apart from the machines that his team are using whenever they are working from home. 

"Ang resolution ng 'Mulawin' at that time was TV resolution with 720p. Ang resolution ng 'Voltes V: Legacy' is times four," he said. 

One of Riot's first projects was the 2004 fantasy series "Mulawin," a story about of winged creatures called Mulawins and their rivals, the Ravenas, and how these winged creatures established their relationships with humans. 

Division of labor

Riot Inc. is not the only production house working on the hit nightly show. GMA's in-house GMA Post Production also worked on the show. 

GMA Post Production did the following: 

  • video editing (offline and online video editing); 
  • music creation including the music lay-in of these to every episode, the re-arrangement of the iconic V5 songs plus the production of an original love theme song for the program; 
  • audio engineering and edit (the creation of distinct and character-specific sound effects, the sound design, the audio mixing; 
  • videographics (CGI requirements such as set designs and set extensions for interior and exterior scenes; 
  • interior set designs and set extensions of the Boazanian Skull Ship and Camp Big Falcon, the Bozania and Underground Castle interior and exterior set designs and set extensions, the Earth Defense Force vehicle designs and animations, the Earth invasion sequences, the Volt Machine cockpits, the various fight and flight sequences without the robots or Volt Machines, OctoOne’s concept design to animation and generally all visual effects that require match moving, which allows the intersection of computer graphics into the live-action footages, the OBB, the CBB, the title card; 
  • Color-grading.

Santiago said that "everything 'Voltes V' is Riot." 

The reason is simple: They just wanted to streamline the process. Since most of the assets are with Riot Inc., it was decided that they would do all the related scenes of "Voltes V."

"Basta sa amin, when you see 'Voltes V,' even choreography, fight scenes, that's all done here (Riot Inc.)," he added. 

GMA's Post Production first vice president Paul Ticzon said a similar comment to Philstar.com. 

"From Post Production’s point of view, it will always be an advantage if we were given more time to implement and enhance all the post-production requirements of a show, especially a daily show. We do hope that moving forward, canning shows will be more the norm, for all the right and obvious reasons," said Ticzon. 

Santiago, an artist and animator with more than two decades to his name, said it best regarding the reason why "Voltes V: Legacy" needs to be filmed way ahead of its airing. 

"We need to work within the process of animation. Let's face it. The title is 'Voltes V.' Siya 'yung titingnan nung tao. It has to come out na maganda kasi otherwise, hindi 'yan titingnan. So sabi ko sa kanila, it has to be canned. Nag-agree sila (GMA-7)," Santiago said. 

RELATED: 100% Filipino: 'Voltes V: Legacy' trivia

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