Doing the Time Warp with FlashForward
Imagine if the whole world briefly lost consciousness simultaneously and witnessed a global, sixth-month flash forward. That's the premise of the trippy, sci-fi series created by Brannon Braga (rebooted Star Trek series) and David Goyer (The Dark Knight), airing Thursdays on ABC, 8/7c. What happened and why? And will it happen again? It's up to a crack team of LA-based FBI agents to find the answers. About six vendors worked on the Sept. 24 pilot (with Zoic doing nearly 40% of the work) and more than a dozen others have been working on the series: Eden FX, Blackpool, Cosa Visual Effects, Seven Crows VFX, Fugitive Studios, Kaia Inc., Race Rocks Digital, Fuzzy Logic Prods., Himani Prods., MatherArt, The senate, BranitVFX, Atomic Age Dog Prods., Roto Queen and Red Earth VFX.
Bill Desowitz: What was the appeal of FlashForward?
Kevin Blank: The FlashForward effect: it's what brought me to the show, actually. The studio wanted to establish what the effect was and so when I finally sat down with David Goyer and talked about many, many many ideas, we tested many things. We did one shot, which we called the uber FlashForward when Joseph Fiennes is driving in his car and all of sudden we see what he sees: a series of a dozen to 18 little cuts that are bits of his future and then to a body of what he sees in six months. And we zoom into his eye; we lace little particle effects throughout and lens flares transitioning on cuts, and the whole thing's over in about three seconds. And then as we transition in and out, there's a posterizing effect linked to uniquely shot lens flares that punctuate each edit and transition. And any time someone references a flash forward, we have that little visual cue that takes you in and out of it.
BD: And there are variations?
KB: Yes, everyone is unique. We shot hours of lens flare elements and we have them all recorded. Depending on what the photography looks like, we put something in so there's nothing boxed about it: every time someone's flashing in and out of a FlashForward, there's a unique effect taking place. When we flash back, there's a straight cut.
BD: What went into the design of the effect?