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March 2016

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PRIMETIME 21 POST MARCH 2016 If you remember in the story, you're introduced to The Beast, he wants to conceal his identity, so he can com- mand elements from Mother Nature. In this case, he uses moths to flutter around his face and make sure that no one can see him." That was super creepy when we first meet him in the first episode. (Laughs) "Yes, so the visual effects really need to support the story and the characters as we get to know them. Again, it has to look real; it can't be campy. It's important that it feels like it could really happen — nothing that's over the top. Everything's been dialed in and made so that it tells the story but it's still subtle enough. That again was the biggest brief and the over-arching idea of what to do with visual effects as a tool in telling the story." Is there a specific scene you can walk me through? "There are so many actually — every episode is so different. I think the moths was rather complex, because the moths equally had to have a very stylized performance. And it wasn't just the moths that were sticking to the Beast's head, but there had to be moths that were spinning around, so that's been a memorable experience. There's a won- derful scene in Episode 105, where we're learning more about the relationship with Quentin and his father, and Quentin uses magic in front of his father at the kitchen table. He builds an airplane model with his powers — he's a physical kid so he uses his ability to move parts of a plastic model plane. You see all the parts spin around in the air and get put together. It's a beautiful scene — I think it's my favorite." What tools are you using? "The standards are Nuke for compositing, Maya for 3D, and for some of the effects work for pyro and the black hole and flu- id simulation, we're using a combination of Houdini and FumeFX." Any particular challenges involved? "Sure, as you know, it's the first season of The Magicians and it's an adaptation from a book, so SyFy is betting on it to be a success, and you kind of put all your eggs in one basket. You want it to succeed so that it gets picked up for another season. And it did. But before that news was announced, one of the things that often happens with the first season of a new show is that you're defining the look of the effects. A classic example is the puddle portal on the Stargate series — how that telepor- tation puddle looked when it would get turned on or off; that look had to be matched through all the remaining sea- sons. It was a big creative process with showrunners, for each time we would see someone's magic, that we were setting it for the upcoming seasons. So everything was scrutinized — in a very good way." What format are you working in? "It's all digital. Everything's turned over to us in DPX and we send the same DPXs back to the DI house." (Note: Bling Services, which completes the digital dailies processing, including sound sync, applying and matching dailies color, transcoding, Avid media prep, various backups, deliverables for online screen- ers and editorial and LTO archiving.) Are you happy with the final result? "Yes, I'm very excited. It's been won- derful working with Sera and John, the showrunners, and finding the right level of subtlety, and just being able to deliv- er great results. I'm impressed with the Fuse team in Vancouver. There's a lot of work being done, we are the only ven- dor and we're doing a lot of concept work and digital matte paintings. We've built a great team and The Magicians, the show, has allowed us to do that and explore our own growth and success. "There's a lot of high-end TV work out there with a myriad of different types of styles of effects. The Magicians is a character-driven storyline and it's nice to have visual effects be happily married into that world, that universe." FuseFX primarily uses Maya for modeling and Nuke for compositing.

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