Category Archives: VFX

VFX supervisor Lesley Robson-Foster on Amazon’s Mrs. Maisel

By Randi Altman

If you are one of the many who tend to binge-watch streaming shows, you’ve likely already enjoyed Amazon’s The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel. This new comedy focuses on a young wife and mother living in New York City in 1958, when men worked and women tended to, well, not work.

After her husband leaves her, Mrs. Maisel chooses stand-up comedy over therapy — or you could say stand-up comedy chooses her. The show takes place in a few New York neighborhoods, including the toney Upper West Side, the Garment District and the Village. The storyline brings real-life characters into this fictional world — Midge Maisel studies by listening to Red Foxx comedy albums, and she also befriends comic Lenny Bruce, who appears in a number of episodes.

Lesley Robson-Foster on set.

The show, created by Amy Sherman-Palladino and Dan Palladino, is colorful and bright and features a significant amount of visual effects — approximately 80 per episode.

We reached out to the show’s VFX supervisor, Lesley Robson-Foster, to find out more.

How early did you get involved in Mrs. Maisel?
The producer Dhana Gilbert brought my producer Parker Chehak and I in early to discuss feasibility issues, as this is a period piece and to see if Amy and Dan liked us! We’ve been on since the pilot.

What did the creators/showrunners say they needed?
They needed 1958 New York City, weather changes and some very fancy single-shot blending. Also, some fantasy and magic realism.

As you mentioned, this is a period piece, so I’m assuming a lot of your work is based on that.
The big period shots in Season 1 are the Garment District reconstruction. We shot on 19th Street between 5th and 6th — the brilliant production designer Bill Groom did 1/3 of the street practically and VFX took care of the rest, such as crowd duplication and CG cars and crowds. Then we shot on Park Avenue and had to remove the Met Life building down near Grand Central, and knock out anything post-1958.

We also did a major gag with the driving footage. We shot driving plates around the Upper West Side and had a flotilla of period-correct cars with us, but could not get rid of all the parked cars. My genius design partner on the show Douglas Purver created a wall of parked period CG cars and put them over the modern ones. Phosphene then did the compositing.

What other types of effects did you provide?
Amy and Dan — the creators and showrunners — haven’t done many VFX shows, but they are very, very experienced. They write and ask for amazing things that allow me to have great fun. For example, I was asked to make a shot where our heroine is standing inside a subway car, and then the camera comes hurtling backwards through the end of the carriage and then sees the train going away down the tunnel. All we had was a third of a carriage with two and a half walls on set. Douglas Purver made a matte painting of the tunnel, created a CG train and put it all together.

Can you talk about the importance of being on set?
For me being on set is everything. I talk directors out of VFX shots and fixes all day long. If you can get it practically you should get it practically. It’s the best advice you’ll ever give as a VFX supervisor. A trust is built that you will give your best advice, and if you really need to shoot plates and interrupt the flow of the day, then they know it’s important for the finished shot.

Having a good relationship with every department is crucial.

Can you give an example of how being on set might have saved a shot or made a shot stronger?
This is a character-driven show. The directors really like Steadicam and long, long shots following the action. Even though a lot of the effects we want to do really demand motion control, I know I just can’t have it. It would kill the performances and take up too much time and room.

I run around with string and tennis balls to line things up. I watch the monitors carefully and use QTake to make sure things line up within acceptable parameters.

In my experience you have to have the production’s best interests at heart. Dhana Gilbert knows that a VFX supervisor on the crew and as part of the team smooths out the season. They really don’t want a supervisor who is intermittent and doesn’t have the whole picture. I’ve done several shows with Dhana; she knows my idea of how to service a show with an in-house team.

You shot b-roll for this? What camera did you use, and why?
We used a Blackmagic Ursa Mini Pro. We rented one on The OA for Netflix last year and found it to be really easy to use. We liked that’s its self-contained and we can use the Canon glass from our DSLR kits. It’s got a built-in monitor and it can shoot RAW 4.6K. It cut in just fine with the Alexa Mini for establishing shots and plates. It fits into a single backpack so we could get a shot at a moment’s notice. The user interface on the camera is so intuitive that anyone on the VFX team could pick it up and learn how to get the shot in 30 minutes.

What VFX houses did you employ, and how do you like to work with them?
We keep as much as we can in New York City, of course. Phosphene is our main vendor, and we like Shade and Alkemy X. I like RVX in Iceland, El Ranchito in Spain and Rodeo in Montreal. I also have a host of secret weapon individuals dotted around the world. For Parker and I, it’s always horses for courses. Whom we send the work to depends on the shot.

For each show we build a small in-house team — we do the temps and figure out the design, and shoot plates and elements before shots leave us to go to the vendor.

You’ve worked on many critically acclaimed television series. Television is famous for quick turnarounds. How do you and your team prepare for those tight deadlines?
Television schedules can be relentless. Prep, shoot and post all at the same time. I like it very much as it keeps the wheels of the machine oiled. We work on features in between the series and enjoy that slower process too. It’s all the same skill set and workflow — just different paces.

If you have to offer a production a tip or two about how to make the process go more smoothly, what would it be?
I would say be involved with EVERYTHING. Keep your nose close to the ground. Really familiarize yourself with the scripts — head trouble off at the pass by discussing upcoming events with the relevant person. Be fluid and flexible and engaged!

Jogger moves CD Andy Brown from London to LA

Creative director Andy Brown has moved from Jogger’s London office to its Los Angeles studio. Brown led the development of boutique VFX house Jogger London, including credits for the ADOT PSA Homeless Lights via Ogilvy & Mather, as well as projects for Adidas, Cadbury, Valentino, Glenmorangie, Northwestern Mutual, La-Z-Boy and more. He’s also been involved in post and VFX for short films such as Foot in Mouth, Containment and Daisy as well as movie title sequences (via The Morrison Studio), including Jupiter Ascending, Collide, The Ones Below and Ronaldo.

Brown got his start in the industry at MPC, where he worked for six years, eventually assuming the role of digital online editor. He then went on to work in senior VFX roles at some of London’s post houses, before assuming head of VFX at One Post. Following One Post’s merger with Rushes, Brown founded his own company Four Walls, establishing the company’s reputation for creative visual effects and finishing.

Brown oversaw Four Walls’ merger with LA’s Jogger Studios in 2016. Andy has since helped form interconnections with Jogger’s teams in London, New York, Los Angeles, San Francisco and Austin, with high-end VFX, motion graphics and color grading carried out on projects globally.

VFX house Jogger is a sister company of editing house Cut + Run.

Cinna 1.2

Creating CG wildlife for Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle

If you are familiar with the original Jumanji film from 1995 — about a board game that brings its game jungle, complete with animals and the boy it trapped decades earlier, into the present day — you know how important creatures are to the story. In this new version of the film, the game traps four teens inside its video game jungle, where they struggle to survive among the many creatures, while trying to beat the game.

For Columbia Pictures’ current sequel, Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle, Montreal-based visual effects house Rodeo FX was called on to create 96 shots, including some of the film’s wildlife. The film stars Dwayne Johnson, Jack Black and Kevin Hart.

“Director Jake Kasdan wanted the creatures to feel cursed, so our team held back from making them too realistic,” explains Rodeo FX VFX supervisor Alexandre Lafortune. “The hippo is a great example of a creature that would have appeared scary if we had made it look real, so we made it bigger and faster and changed the pink flesh in its mouth to black. These changes make the hippo fit in with the comedy.”

The studio’s shots for the film feature a range of creatures, as well as matte paintings and environments. Rodeo FX worked alongside the film’s VFX supervisor, Jerome Chen, to deliver the director’s vision for the star-studded film.

“It was a pleasure to collaborate with Rodeo FX on this film,” says Chen. “I relied on Alexandre Lafortune and his team to help us with sequences requiring full conceptualization and execution from start to finish.”

Chen entrusted Rodeo FX with the hippo and other key creatures, including the black mamba snake that engages Bethany, played by Jack Black, in a staring contest. The snake was created by Rodeo FX based on a puppet used on set by the actors. Rodeo FX used a 3D scan of the prop and brought it to life in CG, making key adjustments to its appearance, including coloring and mouth shape. The VFX studio also delivered shots of a scorpion, crocodile, a tarantula and a centipede that complement the tone of the film’s villain.

In terms of tools, “We used Maya and Houdini — mainly for water effects — as 3D tools, Zbrush for modeling and Nuke for compositing,” reports Lafortune. “Arnold renderer was used for 3D renders, such as lighting and shading shaders.”

Additional Rodeo FX’s creature work can be seen in IT, The Legend of Tarzan and Paddington 2.

Industry mainstay Click3X purchased by Industrial Color Studios

Established New York City post house Click3X has been bought by Industrial Color Studios. Click3X is a 25-year-old facility that specializes in new media formats such as VR, AR, CGI and live streaming. Industrial Color Studios is a visual content production company. Founded in 1992, Industrial Color’s services range from full image capture and e-commerce photography to production support and post services, including creative editorial, color grading and CG.

With offices in New York and LA, Industrial Color has developed its own proprietary systems to support online digital asset management for video editing and high-speed file transfers for its clients working in broadcast and print media. The company is an end-to-end visual content production provider, partnering with top brands, agencies and creative professionals to accelerate multi-channel creative content.

Click3X was founded in 1993 by Peter Corbett, co-founder of numerous companies specializing in both traditional and emerging forms of media.  These include Media Circus (a digital production and web design company), IllusionFusion, Full Blue, ClickFire Media, Reason2Be, Sound Lounge and Heard City. A long-time member of the DGA as a commercial film director, Corbett emigrated to the US from Australia to pursue a career as a commercial director and, shortly thereafter, segued into integrated media and mixed media, becoming one of the first established film directors to do so.

Projects produced at Click3X have been honored with the industry’s top awards, including Cannes Lions, Clios, Andy Awards and others. Click3X also was presented with the Crystal Apple Award, presented by the New York City Mayor’s Office of Media and Entertainment, in recognition of its contributions to the city’s media landscape.

Corbett will remain in place at Click3X and eventually the companies will share the ICS space on 6th Avenue in NYC.

“We’ve seen a growing need for video production capabilities and have been in the market for a partner that would not only enhance our video offering, but one that provided a truly integrated and complementary suite of services,” says Steve Kalalian, CEO of Industrial Color Studios. “And Click3X was the ideal fit. While the industry continues to evolve at lightning speed, I’ve long admired Click3X as a company that’s consistently been on the cutting edge of technology as it pertains to creative film, digital video and new media solutions. Our respective companies share a passion for creativity and innovation, and I’m incredibly excited to share this unique new offering with our clients.”

“When Steve and I first entered into talks to align on the state of our clients’ future, we were immediately on the same page,” says Corbett, president of Click3X. “We share a vision for creating compelling content in all formats. As complementary production providers, we will now have the exciting opportunity to collaborate on a robust and highly-regarded client roster, but also expand the company’s creative and new media capabilities, using over 200,000 square feet of state-of-the-art facilities in New York, Los Angeles and Philadelphia.”

The added capabilities Click3X gives Industrial Color in video production and new media mirrors its growth in the field of e-commerce photography and image capture. The company has recently opened a new 30,000 square-foot studio in downtown Los Angeles designed to produce high-volume, high-quality product photography for advertisers. That studio complements the company’s existing e-commerce photography hub in Philadelphia.

Main Image: (L-R) Peter Corbett and Steve Kalalian

VES names award nominees

The Visual Effects Society (VES) has announced the nominees for its 16th Annual VES Awards, which recognize visual effects artistry and innovation in film, animation, television, commercials and video games and the VFX supervisors, VFX producers and hands-on artists who bring this work to life.

Blade Runner 2049 and War for the Planet of the Apes have tied for the most feature film nominations with seven each. Despicable Me 3 is the top animated film contender with five nominations, and Game of Thrones leads the broadcast field and scores the most nominations overall with 11.

Nominees in 24 categories were selected by VES members via events hosted by 10 of its sections, including Australia, the Bay Area, London, Los Angeles, Montreal, New York, New Zealand, Toronto, Vancouver and Washington. The VES Awards will be held on February 13 at the Beverly Hilton Hotel. The VES Georges Méliès Award will be presented to Academy Award-winning visual effects supervisor Joe Letteri, VES. The VES Lifetime Achievement Award will be presented to producer/writer/director Jon Favreau. Comedian Patton Oswalt will once again host.

Here are the nominees:

Outstanding Visual Effects in a Photoreal Feature


Blade Runner 2049

John Nelson

Karen Murphy Mundell

Paul Lambert

Richard Hoover

Gerd Nefzer


Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2

Christopher Townsend

Damien Carr

Guy Williams

Jonathan Fawkner

Dan Sudick

Kong: Skull Island

Jeff White

Tom Peitzman

Stephen Rosenbaum

Scott Benza

Michael Meinardus


Star Wars: The Last Jedi

Ben Morris

Tim Keene

Eddie Pasquarello

Daniel Seddon

Chris Corbould


War for the Planet of the Apes

Joe Letteri

Ryan Stafford

Daniel Barrett

Dan Lemmon

Joel Whist


Outstanding Supporting Visual Effects in a Photoreal Feature


Darkest Hour

Stephane Naze

Warwick Hewitt

Guillaume Terrien

Benjamin Magana


James E. Price

Susan MacLeod

Lindy De Quattro

Stéphane Nazé



Andrew Jackson

Mike Chambers

Andrew Lockley

Alison Wortman

Scott Fisher



Dan Schrecker

Colleen Bachman

Ben Snow

Wayne Billheimer

Peter Chesney


Only the Brave

Eric Barba

Dione Wood

Matthew Lane

Georg Kaltenbrunner

Michael Meinardus


Outstanding Visual Effects in an Animated Feature


Captain Underpants

David Soren

Mark Swift

Mirielle Soria

David Dulac


Cars 3

Brian Fee

Kevin Reher

Michael Fong

Jon Reisch


Lee Unkrich

Darla K. Anderson

David Ryu

Michael K. O’Brien


Despicable Me 3

Pierre Coffin

Chris Meledandri

Kyle Balda

Eric Guillon


The Lego Batman Movie

Rob Coleman

Amber Naismith

Grant Freckelton

Damien Gray

The Lego Ninjago Movie

Gregory Jowle

Fiona Chilton

Miles Green

Kim Taylor


Outstanding Visual Effects in a Photoreal Episode


Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.: Orientation Part 1

Mark Kolpack

Sabrina Arnold

David Rey

Kevin Yuille

Gary D’Amico


Game of Thrones: Beyond the Wall

Joe Bauer

Steve Kullback

Chris Baird

David Ramos

Sam Conway


Legion: Chapter 1

John Ross

Eddie Bonin

Sebastien Bergeron

Lionel Lim

Paul Benjamin


Star Trek: Discovery: The Vulcan Hello

Jason Michael Zimmerman

Aleksandra Kochoska

Ante Dekovic

Mahmoud Rahnama


Stranger Things 2: The Gate

Paul Graff

Christina Graff

Seth Hill

Joel Sevilla

Caius the Man


Outstanding Supporting Visual Effects in a Photoreal Episode


Black Sails: XXIX

Erik Henry

Terron Pratt

Yafei Wu

David Wahlberg

Paul Dimmer


Fear the Walking Dead: Sleigh Ride

Peter Crosman

Denise Gayle

Philip Nussbaumer

Martin Pelletier

Frank Ludica


Mr. Robot: eps3.4_runtime-err0r.r00

Ariel Altman

Lauren Montuori

John Miller

Luciano DiGeronimo


Outlander: Eye of the Storm

Richard Briscoe

Elicia Bessette

Aladino Debert

Filip Orrby

Doug Hardy


Taboo: Pilot

Henry Badgett

Tracy McCreary

Nic Birmingham

Simon Rowe

Colin Gorry


Vikings: On the Eve

Dominic Remane

Mike Borrett

Ovidiu Cinazan

Paul Wishart

Paul Byrne


Outstanding Visual Effects in a Real-Time Project


Assassin’s Creed Origins

Raphael Lacoste

Patrick Limoges

Jean-Sebastien Guay

Ulrich Haar


Call of Duty: WWII

Joe Salud

Atsushi Seo

Danny Chan

Jeremy Kendall


Fortnite: A Hard Day’s Night

Michael Clausen

Gavin Moran

Brian Brecht

Andrew Harris



Scot Stafford

Camille Cellucci

Kevin Dart

Theresa Latzko


Uncharted: The Lost Legacy

Shaun Escayg

Tate Mosesian

Eben Cook


Outstanding Visual Effects in a Commercial


Beyond Good and Evil 2

Leon Berelle

Maxime Luère

Dominique Boidin

Remi Kozyra


Kia Niro: Hero’s Journey

Robert Sethi

Anastasia von Rahl

Tom Graham

Chris Knight

Dave Peterson


Mercedes Benz: King of the Jungle

Simon French

Josh King

Alexia Paterson

Leonardo Costa


Monster: Opportunity Roars

Ruben Vandebroek

Clairellen Wallin

Kevin Ives

Kyle Cody


Samsung: Do What You Can’t, Ostrich

Diarmid Harrison-Murray

Tomek Zietkiewicz

Amir Bazazi

Martino Madeddu


Outstanding Visual Effects in a Special Venue Project


Avatar: Flight of Passage

Richard Baneham

Amy Jupiter

David Lester

Thrain Shadbolt


Corona: Paraiso Secreto

Adam Grint

Jarrad Vladich

Roberto Costas Fernández

Ed Thomas

Felipe Linares


Guardians of the Galaxy: Mission: Breakout!

Jason Bayever

Amy Jupiter

Mike Bain

Alexander Thomas


National Geographic Encounter: Ocean Odyssey

Thilo Ewers

John Owens

Gioele Cresce

Mariusz Wesierski


Nemo and Friends SeaRider

Anthony Apodaca

Kathy Janus

Brandon Benepe

Nick Lucas

Rick Rothschild


Star Wars: Secrets of the Empire

Ben Snow

Judah Graham

Ian Bowie

Curtis Hickman

David Layne


Outstanding Animated Character in a Photoreal Feature


Blade Runner 2049: Rachael

Axel Akkeson

Stefano Carta

Wesley Chandler

Ian Cooke-Grimes

Kong: Skull Island: Kong

Jakub Pistecky

Chris Havreberg

Karin Cooper

Kris Costa


War for the Planet of the Apes: Bad Ape

Eteuati Tema

Aidan Martin

Florian Fernandez

Mathias Larserud

War for the Planet of the Apes: Caesar

Dennis Yoo

Ludovic Chailloleau

Douglas McHale

Tim Forbes


Outstanding Animated Character in an Animated Feature


Coco: Hèctor

Emron Grover

Jonathan Hoffman

Michael Honsel

Guilherme Sauerbronn Jacinto


Despicable Me 3: Bratt

Eric Guillon

Bruno Dequier

Julien Soret

Benjamin Fournet


The Lego Ninjago Movie: Garma Mecha Man

Arthur Terzis

Wei He

Jean-Marc Ariu

Gibson Radsavanh


The Boss Baby: Boss Baby

Alec Baldwin

Carlos Puertolas

Rani Naamani

Joe Moshier


The Lego Ninjago Movie: Garmadon

Matthew Everitt

Christian So

Loic Miermont

Fiona Darwin


Outstanding Animated Character in an Episode or Real-Time Project


Black Mirror: Metalhead

Steven Godfrey

Stafford Lawrence

Andrew Robertson

Lestyn Roberts


Game of Thrones: Beyond the Wall – Zombie Polar Bear

Paul Story

Todd Labonte

Matthew Muntean

Nicholas Wilson


Game of Thrones: Eastwatch – Drogon Meets Jon

Jonathan Symmonds

Thomas Kutschera

Philipp Winterstein

Andreas Krieg


Game of Thrones: The Spoils of War – Drogon Loot Train Attack

Murray Stevenson

Jason Snyman

Jenn Taylor

Florian Friedmann


Outstanding Animated Character in a Commercial


Beyond Good and Evil 2: Zhou Yuzhu

Dominique Boidin

Maxime Luère

Leon Berelle

Remi Kozyra


Mercedes Benz: King of the Jungle

Steve Townrow

Joseph Kane

Greg Martin

Gabriela Ruch Salmeron


Netto: The Easter Surprise – Bunny

Alberto Lara

Jorge Montiel

Anotine Mariez

Jon Wood


Samsung: Do What You Can’t – Ostrich

David Bryan

Maximilian Mallmann

Tim Van Hussen

Brendan Fagan


Outstanding Created Environment in a Photoreal Feature


Blade Runner 2049: Los Angeles

Chris McLaughlin

Rhys Salcombe

Seungjin Woo

Francesco Dell’Anna


Blade Runner 2049: Trash Mesa

Didier Muanza

Thomas Gillet

Guillaume Mainville

Sylvain Lorgeau

Blade Runner 2049: Vegas

Eric Noel

Arnaud Saibron

Adam Goldstein

Pascal Clement


War for the Planet of the Apes: Hidden Fortress

Greg Notzelman

James Shaw

Jay Renner

Gak Gyu Choi


War for the Planet of the Apes: Prison Camp

Phillip Leonhardt

Paul Harris

Jeremy Fort

Thomas Lo


Outstanding Created Environment in an Animated Feature


Cars 3: Abandoned Racetrack

Marlena Fecho

Thidaratana Annee Jonjai

Jose L. Ramos Serrano

Frank Tai


Coco: City of the Dead

Michael Frederickson

Jamie Hecker

Jonathan Pytko

Dave Strick


Despicable Me 3: Hollywood Destruction

Axelle De Cooman

Pierre Lopes

Milo Riccarand

Nicolas Brack


The Lego Ninjago Movie: Ninjago City

Kim Taylor

Angela Ensele

Felicity Coonan

Jean Pascal leBlanc


Outstanding Created Environment in an Episode, Commercial or Real-Time Project


Assassin’s Creed Origins: City of Memphis

Patrick Limoges

Jean-Sebastien Guay

Mikael Guaveia

Vincent Lombardo


Game of Thrones: Beyond the Wall – Frozen Lake

Daniel Villalba

Antonio Lado

José Luis Barreiro

Isaac de la Pompa


Game of Thrones: Eastwatch

Patrice Poissant

Deak Ferrand

Dominic Daigle

Gabriel Morin


Still Star-Crossed: City

Rafael Solórzano

Isaac de la Pompa

José Luis Barreiro

Óscar Perea


Stranger Things 2: The Gate

Saul Galbiati

Michael Maher

Seth Cobb

Kate McFadden


Outstanding Virtual Cinematography in a Photoreal Project


Beauty and the Beast: Be Our Guest

Shannon Justison

Casey Schatz

Neil Weatherley

Claire Michaud


Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2: Groot Dance/Opening Fight

James Baker

Steven Lo

Alvise Avati

Robert Stipp


Star Wars: The Last Jedi – Crait Surface Battle

Cameron Nielsen

Albert Cheng

John Levin

Johanes Kurnia


Thor: Ragnarok – Valkyrie’s Flashback

Hubert Maston

Arthur Moody

Adam Paschke

Casey Schatz


Outstanding Model in a Photoreal or Animated Project


Blade Runner 2049: LAPD Headquarters

Alex Funke

Steven Saunders

Joaquin Loyzaga

Chris Menges


Despicable Me 3: Dru’s Car

Eric Guillon

François-Xavier Lepeintre

Guillaume Boudeville

Pierre Lopes


Life: The ISS

Tom Edwards

Chaitanya Kshirsagar

Satish Kuttan

Paresh Dodia


US Marines: Anthem – Monument

Tom Bardwell

Paul Liaw

Adam Dewhirst


Outstanding Effects Simulations in a Photoreal Feature


Kong: Skull Island

Florent Andorra

Alexis Hall

Raul Essig

Branko Grujcic


Only the Brave: Fire & Smoke

Georg Kaltenbrunner

Thomas Bevan

Philipp Zaufel

Himanshu Joshi


Star Wars: The Last Jedi – Bombing Run

Peter Kyme

Miguel Perez Senent

Ahmed Gharraph

Billy Copley

Star Wars: The Last Jedi – Mega Destroyer Destruction

Mihai Cioroba

Ryoji Fujita

Jiyong Shin

Dan Finnegan


War for the Planet of the Apes

David Caeiro Cebrián

Johnathan Nixon

Chet Leavai

Gary Boyle


Outstanding Effects Simulations in an Animated Feature


Cars 3

Greg Gladstone

Stephen Marshall

Leon JeongWook Park

Tim Speltz



Kristopher Campbell

Stephen Gustafson

Dave Hale

Keith Klohn


Despicable Me 3

Bruno Chauffard

Frank Baradat

Milo Riccarand

Nicolas Brack


Yaron Canetti

Allan Kadkoy

Danny Speck

Mark Adams


The Boss Baby

Mitul Patel

Gaurav Mathur

Venkatesh Kongathi


Outstanding Effects Simulations in an Episode, Commercial or Real-Time Project


Game of Thrones: Beyond the Wall – Frozen Lake

Manuel Ramírez

Óscar Márquez

Pablo Hernández

David Gacituaga


Game of Thrones: The Dragon and the Wolf – Wall Destruction

Thomas Hullin

Dominik Kirouac

Sylvain Nouveau

Nathan Arbuckle


Heineken: The Trailblazers

Christian Bohm

Andreu Lucio Archs

Carsten Keller

Steve Oakley


Outlander: Eye of the Storm – Stormy Seas

Jason Mortimer

Navin Pinto

Greg Teegarden

Steve Ong


Outstanding Compositing in a Photoreal Feature


Blade Runner 2049: LAPD Approach and Joy Holograms

Tristan Myles

Miles Lauridsen

Joel Delle-Vergin

Farhad Mohasseb


Kong: Skull Island

Nelson Sepulveda

Aaron Brown

Paolo Acri

Shawn Mason


Thor: Ragnarok: Bridge Battle

Gavin McKenzie

David Simpson

Owen Carroll

Mark Gostlow


War for the Planet of the Apes

Christoph Salzmann

Robin Hollander

Ben Morgan

Ben Warner


Outstanding Compositing in a Photoreal Episode


Game of Thrones: Beyond the Wall – Frozen Lake

Óscar Perea

Santiago Martos

David Esteve

Michael Crane


Game of Thrones: Eastwatch

Thomas Montminy Brodeur

Xavier Fourmond

Reuben Barkataki

Sébastien Raets


Game of Thrones: The Spoils of War – Loot Train Attack

Dom Hellier

Thijs Noij

Edwin Holdsworth

Giacomo Matteucci


Star Trek: Discovery

Phil Prates

Rex Alerta

John Dinh

Karen Cheng


Outstanding Compositing in a Photoreal Commercial


Destiny 2: New Legends Will Rise

Alex Unruh

Michael Ralla

Helgi Laxdal

Timothy Gutierrez


Nespresso: Comin’ Home

Matt Pascuzzi

Steve Drew

Martin Lazaro

Karch Koon


Samsung: Do What You Can’t – Ostrich

Michael Gregory

Andrew Roberts

Gustavo Bellon

Rashabh Ramesh Butani


Virgin Media: Delivering Awesome

Jonathan Westley

John Thornton

Milo Paterson

George Cressey


Outstanding Visual Effects in a Student Project


Creature Pinup

Christian Leitner

Juliane Walther

Kiril Mirkov

Lisa Ecker



Florian Brauch

Romain Thirion

Matthieu Pujol

Kim Tailhades


Les Pionniers de l’Univers

Clementine Courbin

Matthieu Guevel

Jérôme Van Beneden

Anthony Rege


The Endless

Nicolas Lourme

Corentin Gravend

Edouard Calemard

Romaric Vivier














Naomi Goldman

NLG Communications
Office: 424-293-2113

Cell: 310-770-2765


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London’s Lola provides VFX for three holiday shows

London’s Lola Post Production has been busy leading up to the holidays, working on three shows scheduled to air over the Christmas period: Little Women (BBC One), Grandpa’s Great Escape (BBC One) and Ratburger (Sky One).

The team created over 50 shots for Grandpa’s Great Escape. Based on the book by David Walliams and produced by King Bert, it’s the story of Grandpa, a World War II flying ace, who now suffers from Alzheimer’s disease and is moved to an old peoples’ home called Twilight Towers, run by Miss Dandy.

Grandpa’s Great Escape

Lola’s Tim Zaccheo created an entirely CG landscape, sky and planes (and avatars of the characters) in Side Effects Houdini and PlanetSide Software’s Terragen. Chris Glew and Desi Valcheva comped the greenscreen cockpit shots of Grandpa and Jack as they’re pursued by RAF jet fighters.

Another King Bert production and David Walliams adaptation is Ratburger (our main image). Lola completed more than 100 shots for this gruesome yet funny story. Ratburger follows a young girl named Zoe, who befriends a baby rat and names him Armitage. He’s no ordinary rat — he can dance and that’s where Lola came in. They built a photoreal CG dancing rat to take over from the on-set Armitage and to perform the more dangerous stunts.

Lola’s animation team (headed by Helen Bucknall) produced the dancing rat action for this Sky One Christmas Eve offering.

For Playground TV’s three-part adaptation of Louisa May Alcott’s Little Women, Lola created around 80 VFX shots.

VFX house Kevin adds three industry veterans

Venice, California-based visual effects house Kevin, founded by Tim Davies, Sue Troyan and Darcy Parsons, has beefed up its team even further with the hiring of head of CG Mike Dalzell, VFX supervisor Theo Maniatis and head of technology Carl Loeffler. This three-month-old studio has already worked on spots for Jaguar, Land Rover, Target and Old Spice, and is currently working on a series of commercials for the Super Bowl.

Dalzell brings years of experience as a CG supervisor and lead artist — he started as a 3D generalist before focusing on look development and lighting — at top creative studios including Digital Domain, MPC and Psyop, The Mill, Sony Imageworks and Method. He was instrumental in look development for VFX Gold Clio and British Arrow-winner Call of Duty Seize Glory and GE’s Childlike Imagination. He has also worked on commercials for Nissan, BMW, Lexus, Visa,, Air Force and others. Early on, Dalzell honed his skills on music videos in Toronto, and then on feature films such as Iron Man 3 and The Matrix movies, as well as The Curious Case of Benjamin Button.

Maniatis, a Flame artist and on-set VFX supervisor, has a wide breadth of experience in the US, London and his native Sydney. “Tim [Davies] and I used to work together back in Australia, so reconnecting with him and moving to LA has been a blast.”

Maniatis’s work includes spots for Apple Watch 3 + Apple Music’s Roll (directed by Sam Brown), TAG Heuer’s To Jack (directed by and featuring Patrick Dempsey), Destiny 2’s Rally the Troops and Titanfall 2’s Become One (via Blur Studios), and PlayStation VR’s Batman Arkham and Axe’s Office Love, both directed by Filip Engstrom. Prior to joining Kevin, Maniatis worked with Blur Studios, Psyop, The Mill, Art Jail and Framestore.

Loeffler is creating the studio’s production model using the latest Autodesk Flame systems, high-end 3D workstations and render nodes and putting new networking and storage systems into place. Kevin’s new Culver City studio will open its doors in Q1, 2018 and Loeffler will guide the current growth in both hardware and software, plan for the future and make sure Kevin’s studio is optimized for the needs of production. He has over two decades of experience building out and expanding the technologies for facilities including MPC and Technicolor.

Image: (L-R) Mike Dalzell, Carl Loeffler and Theo Maniatis.

Quick Chat: Ntropic CD, NIM co-founder Andrew Sinagra

Some of the most efficient tools being used by pros today were created by their peers, those working in real-world post environments who develop workflows in-house. Many are robust enough to share with the world. One such tool is NIM, a browser-based studio management app for post houses that tracks a production pipeline from start to finish.

Andrew Sinagra, co-founder of NIM Labs and creative director of Ntropic, a creative studio that provides VFX, design, color and live action, was kind enough to answer some trends questions relating to tight turnarounds in post and visual effects.

What do you feel are the biggest challenges facing post and VFX studios in the coming year?
It’s an interesting time for VFX, in general. The post-Netflix era has ushered in a whole new range of opportunities, but the demands have shifted. We’re seeing quality expectations for television soar, but schedules and budgets have remained the same — or have tightened.

The challenges that will face post production studios will be to continue to create quality and competitive work while also working with faster turnarounds and ever-fluctuating budgets. It seems like an impossible problem, but thankfully tools, technology and talent continue to improve and deliver better results at a fraction of the time. By investing in those three Ts, the forward-thinking studios can balance expectation with necessary cost.

What have you found to be the typical pain points for studios with regards to project management in the past? What are the main complaints you hear time and time again?
Throughout my career I have met with many industry pros, from on-the-box artists and creative directors through to heads of production and studio owners. They have all shared their trials and tribulations – as well as their methods for staying ahead of the curve. The common pain point question is always the same: “How can I get a clearer view of my studio operations on a daily basis from resource utilization through running actuals?” It’s a growing concern. Managing budgets has been a major pain point for studios. Most just want a better way to visualize and gain back some control over what’s being spent and where. It’s all about the need for efficiency and clarity of vision on a project.

Is business intelligence very important to post studios at this point? Do you see it as an emerging trend over 2018?
Yes, absolutely. Studios need to know what’s going on, on any project, at a moment’s notice. They need to know if it will be affected by endless change orders, or if they’re consistently underbidding on a specific discipline, or if they’re marking something up that is actually affecting their overall margins. These can be the kind of statistics and influences that can impact the bottom line, but the problem is they are incredibly difficult to pull out from an ocean of numbers on a spreadsheet.

Studios that invest in business intelligence, and can see such issues immediately quantified, will be capable of performing at a much higher efficiency level than those that do not. The status quo of comparing spreadsheets and juggling emails works to an extent, but it’s very difficult to pull analysis out of that. Studios instead need solutions that can help them to better visualize their approach from the inside out. It enables stakeholders to make decisions going by their brain, rather than their gut. I can’t imagine any studio heading into 2018 will want to brave the turbulent seas without having that kind of business intelligence on their side.

What are the limitations with today’s approaches to bidding and the time and materials model? What changes do you see around financial modeling in VFX in the coming years?
The time and materials model seems largely dead, and has been for quite some time.  I have seen a few studios still working with the time and materials model in regards to specific clients, but as a whole I find studios working to flat bids with explicitly clear statements of work. The burden is then on the studio to stay within their limits and find creative solutions to the project challenges. This puts extra stress on producers to fully understand the financial ramifications of decisions made on a day-to-day basis. Will slipping in a client request push the budget when we don’t have the margin to spare? How can I reallocate my crew to be more efficient? Can we reorganize the project so that waiting for client feedback doesn’t stop us dead in the water. These are just a few of the questions that, when answered, can squeeze out that extra 10% to get the job done.

Additionally, having the right information arms the studio with the right ammunition to approach the client for overages when the time comes. Having all the information at your fingertips to the extent of time that has been spent on a project and what any requested changes would require allows studios the opportunity to educate their clients. And educating clients is a big part of being profitable.

What will studios need to do in 2018 to ensure continued success? What advice would you give them at this stage?
Other than business intelligence, staying ahead of the curve in today’s environment will also mean staying flexible, scalable and nimble. Nimbleness is perhaps the most important of the three — studios need to have this attribute to work in the ever-changing world of post production. It is rare that projects reach the finish line with the deliveries matching exactly what was outlined in the initial bid. Studios must be able to respond to the inevitable requested changes even in the middle of production. That means being able to make informed decisions that meet the client’s expectations, while also remaining within the scope of the budget. That can mean the difference between a failed project and a triumphant delivery.

Basically, my advice is this: Going into 2018, ask yourself, “Are you using your resources to your maximum potential, or are you leaving man hours on the table?” Take a close look at everything your doing and ensure you’re not pouring budget into areas it’s simply not needed. With so many moving pieces in production it’s imperative to understand at a glance where your efforts are being placed and how you can better use your artists.

Shotgun 7.6 adds analytics feature set for VFX and animation

Shotgun Software has released Shotgun 7.6, the latest version of its cloud-based review and production tracking software, featuring a new set of analytics and reporting tools that give studios the ability to visualize key production information, keep a close eye on the progress of their projects and make business-critical decisions quickly.

The new normal is shorter turnaround, tighter budgets and growing creative demands, so studios need to be efficient, identify business issues quickly and adjust where and how resources are being used during production. Production Insights in Shotgun provides studios with an overview of the health of projects as well as the ability to dive into the details to see where time and resources are used, so operations can be streamlined and better decisions can be made.

“Our new Production Insights features help Shotgun customers answer urgent and costly production questions such as: Are we going to hit our deadline? How much work is there left to do? Where are we struggling?” explains James Pycock, head of product management for Shotgun. “Having access to these tools out of the box gives everyone instant at-a-glance visualizations of how and where they are spending time and resources.”

Shotgun Production Insights include:

– Analytics: The ability to apply production data in Shotgun to optimize how resources are used, plan ahead for tight deadlines and budgets, and accurately compile bids for upcoming projects.
– Data Visualization: In addition to the existing horizontal bar chart in Shotgun, there are now new graph types, including pie charts, vertical bar charts and line charts.
– Data Grouping: Display data is now available as stacked (see picture) or un-stacked bar charts to visualize in even greater at-a-glance detail.
– Presets: Users can drag and drop from a number of pre-configured presets to build reports instantly, with flexible customization options.

Shotgun pricing starts at $30 per account/per month with what they call “Awesome” support, or $50 per account/per month for “Super Awesome” support. They are offering free trials here.

Behind the Title: Senior compositing artist Marcel Lemme

We recently reached out to Marcel Lemme to find out more about how he works, his background and how he relaxes.

What is your job title and where are you based?
I’m a senior compositing artist based out of Hamburg, Germany.

What does your job entail?
I spend about 90 percent of my time working on commercial jobs for local and international companies like BMW, Audi and Nestle, but also dabble in feature films, corporate videos and music videos. On a regular day, I’m handling everything from job breakdowns to set supervision to conform. I’m also doing shot management for the team, interacting with clients, showing clients work and some compositing. Client review sessions and final approvals are regular occurrences for me too.

What would surprise people the most about the responsibilities that fall under that title?
When it comes to client attended sessions, you have to be part clown, part mind-reader. Half the job is being a good artist; the other half is keeping clients happy. You have to anticipate what the client will want and balance that with what you know looks best. I not only have to create and keep a good mood in the room, but also problem-solve with a smile.

What’s your favorite part of your job?
I love solving problems when compositing solo. There’s nothing better than tackling a tough project and getting results you’re proud of.

What’s your least favorite?
Sometimes the client isn’t sure what they want, which can make the job harder.

What’s your most productive time of day?
I’m definitely not a morning guy, so the evening — I’m more productive at night.

If you didn’t have this job, what would you be doing instead?
I’ve asked myself this question a lot, but honestly, I’ve never come up with a good answer.

How’d you get your first job, and did you know this was your path early on?
I fell into it. I was young and thought I’d give computer graphics a try, so I reached out to someonewho knew someone, and before I knew it I was interning at a company in Hamburg, which is how I came to know online editing. At the time, Quantel mostly dominated the industry with Editbox and Henry, and Autodesk Flame and Flint were just emerging. I dove in and started using all the technology I could get my hands on, and gradually started securing jobs based on recommendations.

Which tools are you using today, and why?
I use whatever the client and/or the project demands, whether it’s Flame or Foundry’s Nuke and for tracking I often use The Pixel Farm PFTrack and Boris FX Mocha. For commercial spots, I’ll do a lot of the conform and shot management on Flame and then hand off the shots to other team members. Or, if I do it myself, I’ll finish in Flame because I know I can do it fast.

I use Flame because it gives me different ways to achieve a certain look or find a solution to a problem. I can also play a clip at any resolution with just two clicks in Flame, which is important when you’re in a room with clients who want to see different versions on the fly. The recent open clip updates and python integration have also saved me time. I can import and review shots, with automatic versions coming in, and build new tools or automate tedious processes in the post chain that have typically slowed me down.

Tell us about some recent project work.
I recently worked on a project for BMW as a compositing supervisor and collaborated with eight other compositors to finish number of versions in a short amount of time. We did shot management, compositing, reviewing, versioning and such in Flame. Also individual shot compositing in Nuke and some tracking in Mocha Pro.

What is the project that you are most proud of?
There’s no one project that stands out in particular, but overall, I’m proud of jobs like the BMW spots, where I’ve led a team of artists and everything just works and flows. It’s rewarding when the client doesn’t know what you did or how you did it, but loves the end result.

Where do you find inspiration for your projects?
The obvious answer here is other commercials, but I also watch a lot of movies and, of course, spend time on the Internet.

Name three pieces of technology you can’t live without.
The off button on the telephone (they should really make that bigger), anything related to cinematography or digital cinema, and streaming technology.

What social media channels do you follow?
I’ve managed to avoid Facebook, but I do peek at Twitter and Instagram from time to time. Twitter can be a great quick reference for regional news or finding out about new technology and/or industry trends.

Do you listen to music while you work?
Less now than I did when I was younger. Most of the time, I can’t as I’m juggling too much and it’s distracting. When I listen to music, I appreciate techno, classical and singer/song writer stuff; whatever sets the mood for the shots I’m working on. Right now, I’m into Iron and Wine and Trentemøller, a Danish electronic music producer.

How do you de-stress from the job?
My drive home. It can take anywhere from a half an hour to an hour, depending on the traffic, and that’s my alone time. Sometimes I listen to music, other times I sit in silence. I cool down and prepare to switch gears before heading home to be with my family.