Computer Graphics World

April-May-June 2023

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16 cgw a p r i l • m ay • j u n e 2 0 2 3 D an Novarro (Assistant VFX Supervisor): At 5:30 in the morning on a warm summer day, Lesley and I packed our car full of gear. The streets in Brooklyn were empty as we started our drive towards our set for the day: a kibbutz in Israel. Luckily, we were not actually driving to Israel, but rather Chester, New York; a farm town that we were tasked with transforming into a kibbutz. We had our work cut out for us as the lush greenery of upstate New York hardly resembled the dry, arid climate of Israel. Our art department did a wonderful job of transforming the farm itself into a kibbutz. However, it would fall on our shoulders to fix the tree lines and the rest of the environment in the distance. We had shot plates in Israel to use in the background earlier in the year. As we arrived at the farm, we were greeted by the sounds of helicopter blades chopping through the air. This was a welcomed sight, as it provided a cool breeze on a scorching 95-degree day, but it was also a reminder of the next two challenges our depart- ment was tasked with: making the helicopter more period ac- curate and enhancing the dirt and debris the helicopter blades would kick up in the scene. If you've never stood below a helicopter before, it creates a ton of wind. When the helicopter landed on the farm, it blasted any- one within a 100-foot radius with dirt and dust. I realized how big that radius was when I returned from set that day to find that the great tan I thought I got from working in the sun was actually just dirt. The art department had carefully planted a lot of fake lettuce to decorate the scene, and we did not want the helicopter uproot- ing everything and blowing our actors away. For those reasons, amongst others, we obviously did not have the helicopter running for any of the shots it's not seen in. Instead, we relied on a big fan to simulate the wind. Lesley Robson-Foster (VFX Supervisor): A lot of on-set VFX work is prepped to make adjustments on the fly if something isn't working. When we filmed the scene with the big fan, it wasn't kicking up enough dirt, and more importantly, it wasn't throwing enough lettuce around. We knew right then and there we'd most likely be asked to add more debris to the shot in post. Instead of going the CGI route, we decided it would be better to get plates. In order to ensure that our plates would be successful, the first THE MARVELOUS MRS. MAISEL A DAY IN THE LIFE OF A VFX SUPERVISION TEAM ON THE SET OF THE EMMY-WINNING COMEDY SERIES BY LESLEY ROBSON-FOSTER & DAN NOVARRO Images © 2023 Amazon Studios

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