Post Magazine

May 2018

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Page 17 of 43 16 POST MAY 2018 WHAT'S STREAMING abbar Raisani and Terron Pratt are no strangers to creating high-end visual effects for television. Raisani has completed work for such shows as The CW's The Flash and HBO's Game of Thrones, while Pratt has worked on Starz's Black Sails and ABC's Pushing Daisies. The two have come together to work as VFX supervisor and VFX producer, respective- ly, on Netflix's new reboot of the 1960s campy classic series, Lost in Space. In the new series, set 30 years in the fu- ture, the Robinson Family flies once again — John (Toby Stephens) and Maureen (Molly Parker) as the heads of household — leading their three children, Will, Penny and Judy, on an adventure to colonize a new planet. But when their ship — the Jupiter 2 — is knocked off course and crashes on an alien planet, they are tested in ways beyond their wildest imaginations. As in the original series, the family is joined by technician/pilot Don West, the conniving and sinister Dr. Smith (Parker Posey) and an alien robot with a strong bond with the youngest Robinson, Will. A mix of adventure, drama and sci-fi, with a touch of comedy, the new series, shot predominantly in Vancouver on Red Weapon 7K cameras (and delivered in 4K), is certainly a far cry from its light and farcical 1960s predecessor. With a bigger budget and slicker production, the VFX are standout stars here. "As soon as I heard there was go- ing to be a Lost in Space reboot, I was itching to get involved," says Raisani. "I asked to be put in touch with Zack Estrin, the showrunner, and met with him and said if you guys are going to use the Game of Thrones level of quality on this type of story then count me all in. They said they were, but I don't think any of us really understood exactly how big Zack was actually going to go when we sat down to make the show. We all had the same idea in mind, which was, let's make the biggest, coolest sci-fi show that we can." According to Raisani, "Pretty much ev- ery kind of visual effect you can imagine was used for the show — full CG shots, matte paintings, CG extensions, 2 ½ feet extensions, full CG digi-doubles and the robot, which is sometimes practical, sometimes digital and sometimes some- where in between." Pratt says that there's quite a range of VFX shot counts across the 10 episodes, with the smallest at 65 and the biggest at almost 500, they averaged around 280 shots per episode. FLYIN' HIGH While the interior of the Jupiter 2 is a standing set, where actors and crews can completely walk through, what appears on the monitors is all digitally-created. The exterior shots of the ship are all CG as well. In the pilot episode, for instance, when the ship sinks into a freezing lake, the team considered using miniatures, but "the cost to risk relation- ship, as in the risk that you're not get- ting exactly what you want or someone has the desire to change it later, was just too great," explains Raisani. "Instead, we decided to go full CG for all of our exte- rior ship shots in the entire show." Pratt adds, "Even though we did have the interior of the Jupiter 2, the garage, the hub and the cockpit, we also created those digitally, especially for the sinking portion. In that whole scene, we were able to recre- ate it using the digital version of our ship. There are also a couple of other instances in the show where you encounter the digi- tal version rather than the practical set." "For example, in one sequence when Judy swims into the ship, that whole part, which starts with a scene on the set where she jumps into the air with digital water underneath her, and the very first shot where she enters the wa- ter, that's an actual stunt person in the full suit jumping into a black pool essen- tially," continues Raisani. "From there on out, it's either a full CG shot or we did this elaborate set build of only the piec- es of the set that Judy interacts with, built on greenscreen, and her on wires. She 'swims' using the wires, and then everything in there is CG, other than the things she touches, and sometimes, even the things that she touches." DANGER, DANGER WILL ROBINSON One of the most important elements of the new series was recreating the iconic robot, and deciding on what it would look like onscreen. "There was extensive designing and conversations about how the robot would look," says Raisani. "The plan- ning started with 2D drawings — we had things that were very abstract, that looked nothing like a human and things that were very near human. We sort of landed in the two places that you see — his form when he's more alien, and NETFLIX'S LOST IN SPACE J VFX TEAMS GO DEEP FOR THIS SCI-FI REBOOT BY LINDA ROMANELLO The Jupiter 2 ship is full CG. There were extensive designs and discussions on how the robot would look.

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