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February 2016

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PRIMETIME 14 POST FEBRUARY 2016 mazon Studios debuted The Man in the High Castle online in January of 2015, and the show was then green-lit to become a series, with nine additional episodes released around Thanksgiving. Based on Philip K. Dick's award-winning novel, and executive produced by Ridley Scott, the series explores an alternative life here in the United States, one in which Germany and Japan defeated the Allies in World War II and now occupy America. VFX producer Terry Hutcheson was tasked with creating this imagined world, which extended beyond just signage to include architecture and even automo- biles. He relied on a number of studios to lend their visual effects expertise, includ- ing Zoic (, which got on board as early as the series' pilot. Here, Hutcheson and Zoic VFX supervisor Jeff Baksinski look back on the popular series and the use of visual effects to create an alternate nation, as well as solve unforeseen production challenges. What was unique about this series? BAKSINSKI: "I had read the book before, but what was really unique about this show is you have to make [it] 1962 New York. You had to totally 'Nazi Germany' it up. It was an interesting problem. You have all the problems of researching architecture that would be there in the '60s, and make sure there are no more modern buildings, but then also interpret what would Germany have done to it? How would this be altered in some way? "It's the same thing we had to do with Japan occupying San Francisco. We kept the bones of San Francisco, but changed the buildings and architecture to better represent 1962 Japan. "From a special effects standpoint, I don't think people realize what a big deal that was on this show. Imagine, every- where we shoot is 2015. When we go back through all that footage, not only are you removing large buildings and replacing everything, you are doing it on shots that you're not even thinking of. On the pilot, there's the shootout in an alleyway, when he leaves in the truck. It looks pretty standard, but all those back- grounds had to change to 1962. We had to change all the road signs, all the street lights, things like the crosswalks and where the lines were made on the roads." Even the cars were given a treatment. HUTCHESON: "Yeah, Americans still made cars in the '50s, but they didn't have the design aspects. Any cars that had fins — the classic 1950s cars with fins — those all had to be taken off. We had to re-do cars, paint them out, and all these little things that you just don't think about. The audience doesn't really notice, but it creates a feeling of 'plain' and 'not ornamented.' "Then we built the Nazi headquar- ters in New York, and put it where the UN is. Everybody is going to see that. Everybody knows that area and that building. But it's the more subtle details… Especially for establishers. We were us- ing stock shots. We'd look at a stock shot and say, 'OK, what has to change?' You'd have to take out a bunch of buildings and add more plain buildings." Did the VFX demands change from the pilot to the series? HUTCHESON: "In any series, the pilot is always going to be heavier, and certainly the shots Zoic did in the pilot were chal- lenging. There were a lot of them and I know they did them in a short amount of time. There were some episodes that were somewhat lighter, just because of the subject matter, and then there were others where we had to build full 3D en- vironments and set extensions. It varied, but definitely, the pilot was heavier." BAKSINSKI: "We did stuff on the pilot that I wouldn't necessarily try on the regular series. It was much more. When he's walking through New York — the movie theater — nothing in those shots is real, except for the actors, a few cars and the newsstand. Everything was replaced, and it wasn't greenscreen. At the time we shot the pilot, we were shooting at night in Seattle, with 40mph winds. That run that that guy walked across is longer than a football field, so it would have been impossible to put up that much green at night. It would have bounced all over the place because things were wet and rainy. On the pilot we made the choice to never use greenscreen. The DP had particular lighting set up that he wanted to use and a very certain look, and the director was the same way. We were working for RSA, which is Ridley Scott, and these people are all coming from the same bloodline as something like Bladerunner. It's dark and wet and gritty — that type of look. You have a hard time getting that type of look in a very controlled greenscreen environ- ment. When you see the New York stuff, that is literally shot in a rainy, industrial parking lot that we then roto'd every- thing and built the environments." Was anything shot on a stage? BAKSINSKI: "Very little is actually a stage. Most of our stage [work] was in- teriors. For example, when the Japanese ambassador and the Germans are talking inside the embassy — that stuff is a stage. The apartment interiors were stage, but exteriors of the apartment — when you see him dragged out — that was all alleyways." HUTCHESON: "When they got to series, THE MAN IN THE HIGH CASTLE BY MARC LOFTUS THIS AMAZON SERIES RELIES ON VFX TO REFLECT AN ALTERNATE 1962 AMERICA A

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