Director Marc Schmidt needed a method to anonimize all inmates in this feature-length documentary about the staff of a high-tech penitentiary facility in the Netherlands.
The justice department required complete inmate anonymity as a condition for the realisation of this film, but the director needed some character-level expression for his dramatic structure to work.
Additionally, the anonimization should not bring excessive visual attention to the inmates, since the film main focus is on the penitentiary staff.
The technique developed for this film involves three effect layers that can be controlled independently, for maximum flexibility.
Full-body masking of all inmates was only possible within the available budget if done roughly. Soft edges made up for the rough masking. Very detailed foreground masking added finesse when necessary.
Print-inspired graphic patterns added sharpness to the blurry shapes and subtle character expression.
Primary characters needed a clear visual marker. Their silhouettes were tinted with a vivid color, picked from the clothing items they wear the most.
Secondary characters needed to appear less prominent, as if in camouflage. To that effect a pale color was picked from the surrounding space, making them merge somewhat with the environment.