MastersFX Delivers Effects for TNT’s Falling Skies
Los Angeles & Vancouver BC -- Award-winning character effects company MASTERSFX has been signed to continue developing and creating its mix of Practical/Digital FX for season four of the hit DreamWorks/TNT television series Falling Skies, set to debut in Summer 2014. MASTERSFX has regularly worked on the series since its 2011 launch. The company also designs and produces a diverse number of makeup and special creature effects for a variety of other hit TV shows and feature film projects. Todd Masters, founder of MASTERSFX, made the announcement.
For Falling Skies, a Steven Spielberg/DreamWorks Television produced series airing on TNT, MASTERSFX creates and produces armies of practical alien characters. Having perfected a Practical/Digital FX mix, MASTERSFX creates all of the aliens which physically appear on-set, as well as other special makeup effects and mechanical monsters. For the just concluded season three, MASTERSFX upped the ante, adding its unique digital process into the mix. Working in tandem with the 2013 Emmy Award-nominated digital effects team at Zoic Studios, MASTERSFX provided several practical/digital creatures and enhanced live-action environments depicted in season three.
For decades, MASTERSFX has worked to perfect the practical and digital effects mix in working with live, on set actors. “We have been strong — and vocal — proponents for realism in mixing Practical and Digital FX to depict unique and organic feeling characters,” Masters said. “Falling Skies is the perfect example by which to illustrate how we can evolve character FX technology. If these techniques don't grow, traditional CG will become fossilized, just like other technologies that have come before. We need to continue to innovate and strive for better looking results. We are delighted to continue our association with ‘Falling Skies’ into its fourth season, and wish to congratulate the show for its 2013 Emmy Award nomination for outstanding visual effects.”
The most popular new character added to Falling Skies during season three was Cochise, a warrior of the Volm alien race portrayed by actor Doug Jones. (Jones also performed as several other members of the Volm species, even playing his own father.) MASTERSFX adds Performance Driven enhancements to these Volm characters via the company’s in-house digital tools. By analyzing the actor’s original performance -- tracking his precise movements and then modifying them with proprietary software - the artists at MASTERSFX are able to create a hybrid performance of both practical and digital FX, one not possible with traditional solutions.
MASTERSFX helps bring Jones' on-set practical prosthetics to life organically, so that other actors can better respond to his characterizations. His alien portrayal can physically be part of the scene, can be directed, and can interact with performers and props. He appears as a true member of the show, rather than as digitally fabricated character rendered in post.
“As artists, working in both make-up and visual effects, we prefer to embrace any tool or technique appropriate to helping our clients tell compelling stories,” states Andre Bustanoby, Visual Effects Supervisor at MASTERSFX. “In Falling Skies for example, the character of Cochise is a unique amalgam of techniques, built in tandem with a brilliant live-action performance.”
“What we wanted to create was an extension of Doug's live, on-set performance, not something that would be replaced later in post,” Masters continues. “This provides the additional benefit of something actually being on-set. Our finished product looks real -- because it is real. With our process, we can put a full character on-set, in real-time, which allows the other actors and director to see the ‘being’ and collaborate with it directly. There are no tennis balls to act to or direct; we deliver Cochise in full character prosthetics.”