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For the night is dark and full of t̶e̶r̶r̶o̶r̶s̶ VFX
July 9, 2014 5:51 PM   Subscribe

A making-of look at the visual effects in Season 4 of Game of Thrones (SLVimeo)
posted by cozenedindigo (28 comments total) 14 users marked this as a favorite

Add Ramin Djawadi's addictive score and literally any video becomes a "Game of Thrones making-of".
posted by turbid dahlia at 5:54 PM on July 9

This is FABULOUS. Thank you for the link, really made my afternoon... now ducking out to avoid any spoilers!

(damn I had a GoT FPP post lined up for tonight.)
posted by joseph conrad is fully awesome at 5:59 PM on July 9

"Okay, so we need a giant castle, a boat, and like 700 men."
"we... don't have any of that."
"Eh, we'll fix it in post. ACTION"
posted by Greg Nog at 6:56 PM on July 9 [7 favorites]

Goddamn I love these.

I especially love when they drop people into scenes from above. It feels like a modern-day Python animation.
posted by wemayfreeze at 7:12 PM on July 9 [3 favorites]

So ... it's a cartoon?
posted by stargell at 7:18 PM on July 9

The obvious stuff, such as castles in the background, is expected. As is adding in extra troops. But the adding the fog, bits of vines and changing the color of the grass are the little touches that enliven a scene. Love they've making mountains just pop in in the background to illustrate the VFX work.

Also interesting how you know certain stuff is fake, like the gate at the Eyerie, but it fits in so well, you just accept it. It fits in terms of looks, even if the lighting seems a little off in retrospect.

Still annoyed that the teaser shot of the dragon shadow moving over Westeros didn't actually appear this season.

Also, the special effects were better in the book, no idea why they changed 'em for tv.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 7:25 PM on July 9 [1 favorite]

This coastline needs more coastline!

Also fog. Much fog.
posted by Woodroar at 8:22 PM on July 9

It is nothing short of fantastic what they can do with effects these days. I had no idea Dinklage is really 6'3".
posted by flarbuse at 8:37 PM on July 9 [7 favorites]

"Eh, we'll fix it in post. ACTION"

Not to discount a clever bit'o'snark buy there's a bit more planning than just dropping a few solders into a scene. A bit more as in a mind boggling amount of detailed planning of position and lighting and shooting angles that goes into getting the actors into a cgi scene. One thing the human eye is really good at is seeing something out of place, looking the wrong direction or just off. That many of the scenes just feel natural is a huge testament to the skills of the graphic artists.
posted by sammyo at 8:52 PM on July 9 [1 favorite]

This explains why most of the sailing scenes look "off" to me - sails at wrong angle to apparent wind or waves, sea conditions not believable for topography, vessels not heeling correctly for amount of sail, waaaaay too dry, or wet in wrong places up on deck for sea conditions, etc.. I know most "shipboard" scenes are shot in studios and most vessel-in-the-distance shots are physical or CGI models, but this featurette shows why so many of them are so far from real, they're not even wrong from a sailor's POV. At least, being a fantasy world, I don't get into what marine technologies would be appropriate for the historical date.
But they're still pretty, and advance the plot just the same.
posted by Dreidl at 9:03 PM on July 9 [3 favorites]

I could've watched an hour of that. Very cool.
posted by sfkiddo at 9:31 PM on July 9

this would have been really cool as an interactive thing.

like, so you could switch off various "layers" of it with buttons under the video. I could play with that for hours if it had a bunch of scenes.
posted by emptythought at 9:58 PM on July 9 [2 favorites]

guess everything over at the Wall and in the North was sent to a different vendor.
posted by dogwalker at 2:01 AM on July 10 [1 favorite]

I love these videos. It's so deeply satisfying to see all that work coming together. Which makes it such a huge shame that many of the visual artists who worked on it still aren't being paid properly.
posted by fight or flight at 2:42 AM on July 10 [3 favorites]

Brandon Blatcher: "Still annoyed that the teaser shot of the dragon shadow moving over Westeros didn't actually appear this season."

That shot was from Bran's dream sequence in SE4E02.
posted by Magnakai at 4:45 AM on July 10 [2 favorites]

Still annoyed that it wasn't an actual scene, just a dream.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 5:04 AM on July 10

The Titan of Braavos is the shit.
posted by mcstayinskool at 5:53 AM on July 10

Why the broken sword? Not very inspiring.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 6:09 AM on July 10

I worked for a couple of years at one of the studios that created those VFX. It was the most toxic work environment I have ever experienced, by a wide margin.

At one point I did some anonymous rabble-rousing and got some of the artists to contact a hotline to report employment abuses. When the company was inspected and told that they'd have to keep track of actual work hours, and pay actual overtime pay, management was livid. Enraged. It didn't change the borderline-abusive interpersonal treatment of artists, but at least some artists got paid for extra time sometimes.

They did get beautiful work out of their artists, though, as you can see here.
posted by clawsoon at 6:42 AM on July 10 [3 favorites]

Well, it turns out I can't spot good CG any more.

It sounds like the VFX house industry is a lot like the video game industry? Exploitation of underpaid artists working working evenings and weekends for payment in "experience," and the staff turnover is justifiable to management because it's an exciting field and every year there are more new graduates.
posted by ArmyOfKittens at 7:42 AM on July 10

See this bugs me that those artists are not getting paid overtime. How often is a decision made to use VFX instead of building a practical set piece because it's "cheaper" to do with with VFX? Would that still be true if the employees at the VFX firms were being paid fairly?
Part of my curiosity comes from working in the scenic industry, which is in many places heavily unionized, so even non-union houses usually pay good wages and overtime and double time are expected.
posted by MrBobaFett at 9:33 AM on July 10 [1 favorite]

With everything they're doing as VFX now, in some of those scenes it's actually the stuff that's real that surprises me.

It seems we're getting awfully close to just having "ractors" like in The Diamond Age - give the actors some mocap suits and cameras, and create the entire scene through VFX - clothes, hair, etc.
posted by evilangela at 9:55 AM on July 10

How often is a decision made to use VFX instead of building a practical set piece because it's "cheaper" to do with with VFX?

Isn't the answer to that, technically*, always? Doing a dragon as CGI is a whole lot cheaper than building a full-range-of-motion mechanical dragon,** much less genetically engineering a "real" one.

*The best kind of correct
**The exceptions are interesting -- Deep Blue Sea used a bunch of motorized free-swimming mechanical sharks. IIRC radio-controlled.
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 11:20 AM on July 10

Deep Blue Sea was made fifteen years ago. Things have progressed a bit since then.
posted by octothorpe at 11:23 AM on July 10

Why the broken sword?

Because it's a really old statue? The sphinx doesn't even have a nose.
posted by mcstayinskool at 11:44 AM on July 10 [1 favorite]

I keep waiting for the soundtrack to strike up Liberty Bell and a huge foot to descend.

And the Sphinx has no nose because Napoleon's gunners used it for target practice.
posted by tspae at 11:59 AM on July 10

And the Sphinx has no nose because Napoleon's gunners used it for target practice.

Unfortunately apocryphal: the nose was missing before Napoleon arrived.
posted by oneirodynia at 2:05 PM on July 10

First Person Game of Thrones
posted by homunculus at 6:36 PM on July 12 [1 favorite]

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