Getting in the VFX Trenches
Trenches, a new 10-part sci-fi web series on Crackle.com, from Sony Pictures Ent., finishes its debut on Friday. The $250,000 production, shot in and around Washington, D.C., is the brainchild of producer/director Shane Felux (Star Wars: Revelations, Pitching Lucas), who took time out from his "regular" job to make it.
Trenches is set on a war-torn planet during a different time. A botched rescue attempt forces a young soldier and his squad to team up with their enemy in an epic battle against merciless beasts wreaking havoc. The series stars Mercy Malick, Aaron Mathias, Micci Sampery, Lev Gorn, Hong Chau and Daz Crawford, and is scripted by Dawn Cowlings, Sarah Yaworsky, Peter Gamble Robinson and Ian Shorr.
Bill Desowitz: So, how does Trenches compare with your previous work?
Shane Felux: This is much harder in scope and scale, and there are over 400 effects. But there's a reason why sci-fi is difficult because it's expensive and hard and it kills you. But it's definitely fun.
BD: It works well for the web, like an old-fashioned serial with cliff hangers.
SF: That's what the studio wanted and when I wrote the script they wrote the cliff hangers in. When I went in to edit, where I recommended stopping each episode, was different. Because I thought there wasn't enough for the audience to be invested so with a combination of practical effects like pryo and post effects in terms of color treatment, a lot of bleaching and stripping, monochromatic and then adding in grit and lasers and flare and a lot of smoke layers, I could create a pretty nasty-looking battle with only 15 extras.
BD: So, talk about the effects. How much CG is there?