Monday, March 24, 2014

Winter is Coming

Following in my friend Sam's footsteps, I too shall be writing about one of my favorite shows and how exactly visual effects have made the show possible. Game of Thrones, a particularly violent show with enormous sets and countless extras, it has always seemed to baffle me how exactly a show of this style would possibly be shot. Well, it turns out that quite a bit of this medieval drama isn't actually shot on camera, but is added in postproduction.

Game of Thrones - SSVFX Breakdowns from Ed Bruce on Vimeo.

Tez (Terance) Palmer, the senior special effects technician on the show, is one of the driving forces behind the show having become the great success it is. Having been a special effects technician on X-Men: First Class (it wasn't the greatest film, but the VFX were pretty dope), I have a high level of respect for this man. This is most definitely a larger project for him to take on, but he has done a spectacular job with it so far.

What fascinates me is just how much of this wonderful show is done using animation. From making a couple dozen soldiers into an army to turning a boy climbing a few feet off the ground into a 100-foot drop, the animation in the show is endless. In order to make it appear as a man is getting beheaded, the actor wore a chroma green mask to blend his actual head in with the background. It's so simple and yet I would never think to do it.

As far as I know, every time a spear, arrow, or sword impales an actor, animation is what makes the death come to life. Clearly, you can't kill an actor for a television show (as far as I know). Maybe there's a loophole in their contracts or something. Assuming there isn't, however, every weapon causing every death is not actually shot on camera. It's all added in postproduction. I was honestly never quite sure how something like that would be shot. The reason for that is, it probably can't be. I just never thought that so much time would be spent on something like that (there are quite a few deaths in Game of Thrones for those of you who have never watched).

There are so many reasons to watch Game of Thrones. Swords. Spears. Blood. Death. Animation.

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