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July 2017

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GAME OF THRONES ust as location shooting for Game of Thrones has spanned continents, so has the series' pool of visual effects vendors. As the show begins its seventh season on HBO, the roster of VFX studios contributing to the show's magic is as large as ever, and includes Rodeo FX and Image Engine in Canada, Iloura in Australia, El Ranchito in Spain, Mackevision and Pixomondo in Germany, Screen Scene in Ireland, Weta Digital in New Zealand, and Rhythm & Hues Studios and Lola Visual Effects in the US. In addition, HBO maintains a small team of compositors working remotely across the country on greenscreen composites, paint and production fixes. They are Cadence Effects and Clearcut FX on the East Coast and Exceptional Minds, a school and studio for young adults on the autism spectrum, in Los Angeles. "The sun never sets on Game of Thrones' VFX vendors. We like to make sure we get emails all hours of the day," quips Steve Kullback, VFX producer on the series since 2012. "Many VFX houses return from previous seasons, but we test three or four hopefuls every year and bring on one or two," notes VFX supervisor Joe Bauer, who has been with the show since Season 3. "The largest new studio is Weta. Peter Jackson is keen on the show, and it all finally worked out [for his schedule]. We also stepped up the work for Screen Scene in Dublin and Lola in Los Angeles, which provided lighter support before." Although shots are assigned according to a studio's strengths, talent pool, capacities and available resources, Kullback admits that, "we're not immune to the standard business needs of finance. We take seriously the tax advantages available worldwide" in selecting vendors. Storyboards from production drive the VFX effort; The Third Floor in LA fills previs and techvis requirements. J

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