Creating new worlds for Amazon’s
The Man in the High Castle
By Randi Altman
What if Germany and Japan had won World War II? What would the world look like? That is the premise of Philip K. Dick’s 1963 novel and Amazon’s series,The Man in the High Castle, which is currently gearing up for its second season premiere later in the year.
The Man in the High Castle features familiar landmarks
with unfamiliar touches. For example, New York City's Times Square has its typical billboards, but sprinkled in are giant swastika banners, images of Hitler and a bizarro American flag, whose blue stripes have been replaced with yet another swastika. San Francisco, and the entire West Coast, is now under Japanese rule, complete with Japanese architecture and cultural influences. It’s actually quite chilling.
Helping to create these “new” worlds was Zoic Studios, whose team received one of the show’s four Emmy nods for its visual effects work. That team was led by visual effects supervisor Jeff Baksinski.
Zoic’s path to getting the VFX gig was a bit different than most. Instead of waiting to be called for a bid, they got aggressive… in the best possible way. “Both myself and another supervisor here, Todd Shifflett, had read Dick’s book, and we really wanted this project.” They began with some concept stills and bouncing ideas off each other of what a German-occupied New York would look like. One of Zoic’s producers saw what they were up to and helped secure some money for a real test.
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