Post Magazine

APRIL 2010

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VFX B ad things happen to good people. Really bad things happen to really bad people: burning, freezing, liq- uefying, disintegration, dismemberment, infestation, varicose-vein affliction, extreme anorexia and, yes, even hair loss. Add to that the ability to fly unaided, violent crashes, deadly explosions, pyro,bad weather, megaton det- onations and acts of God.Yep.You’re watching broadcast television on any given night. Television episodic effects supervisors have a tough, tough job. Andrew Orloff,VFX supervisor at Zoic, asserts,“They have to be a lot more on the ball and a lot more stringent and organized to make sure that there’s no winging it.You don’t have time to think of a new plan.” However, the broadcast veteran says, “What I love about broadcast television is it’s a great crucible for creative ideas in visual effects.” That’s what television production today is about, especially for visual effects work, turnaround times are brutally short and bud- gets are not too big. And then there are the locales. For a TV episodic to differentiate itself, its locale is of great importance. Digital image manipulators are hard at work as we speak tweaking greenscreen shots to look like they were shot anywhere from New York City to Mumbai. Then there’s the relatively instant gratification TV broadcast can bestow on its practitioners.When their shows are broadcast, mil- lions of people can see their work. And it lives on in cyberspace and possibly in DVD release (and don’t forget “reruns”). Meanwhile pros working in broadcast visual effects attend movies just as television audiences do and they are quite intimate with what the biggest budgets and craftiest artists can put up on the big screen. Here, five VFX houses — all headquartered in the LA area — discuss how they grapple with the tight deadlines and increasingly sophisticated audience expectations that broadcast production faces. 22 Post • April 2010 murder was accomplished and, since episode 815’s killing took place in an orbiting civilian spacecraft, we need to see it. Robison has worked 15 years in TV and feature film VFX production, and his seasons on Star Trek: Enterprise gave him a lot of experience visualizing outer space and strange planets. Inhance ( provided seven hero shots for this episode and fol- lowed that with about 31 rig-removal shots to erase the harnesses sup- porting the various actors ap- pearing weightless aboard the spacecraft. Inhance has a number of tools at their dis- posal. Robison is a NewTek LightWave 3D artist and, in his lead VFX role, brought Eyeon Fu- sion to the shop when he joined about three years ago. (Inhance also uses Adobe After Effects.) “Television is about budget and time,” Robison says,“and Fusion is great for that.” for Television Where are the writers writing better, the directors directing better, and the planes flying higher? On your TV! (Thanks to post.) By KEN McGORRY INHANCE-ING CSI: MIAMI Inhance VFX in Los Angeles counts CSI: Miami among its many clients. CBS promoted a recent episode of the long-running crime series — episode 815, called Miami,We Have A Problem — during the Super Bowl and hyped its unusual nature: cops in space.The Super Bowl promo was also exciting for Inhance’s VFX supervisor, Eddie Robison; he got to see his own effects work broadcast dur- ing one of the world’s biggest sporting events. CSI: Miami prides itself in visualizing how a fictional attack or

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