Search form

The Third Floor Helps Build Emmy Award-Winning VFX for ‘Game of Thrones’

From dragon flights to flying pyrotechnics, teams develop creative approaches to epic visuals using previs and technical planning.

‘Game of Thrones’ episode “Beyond the Wall” wins 2018 Emmy Award for outstanding special visual effects. Images courtesy of HBO.

LOS ANGELES -- Continuing its long-standing work on HBO’s Game of Thrones, international visualization studio The Third Floor has been honored with a 2018 Creative Arts Emmy Award on the show’s visual effects team for Season 7, Episode 6 “Beyond the Wall.” Previs and virtual production artists from The Third Floor worked with directors and across multiple departments in Belfast to visualize sequences, sets and stunts and help shape technical shooting plans.

The Third Floor Previs Supervisor Michelle Blok joined Lead Visual Effects Producer Steve Kullback, Lead Visual Effects Supervisor Joe Bauer and other key contributors as this year’s Emmy recipients for Outstanding Special Visual Effects, marking Blok’s second Emmy Award on Game of Thrones. The Third Floor received Emmy Awards in 2014, 2015 and 2016 with the Game of Thrones visual effects team, helping realize notable scenes such as the Wildling Wall Attack (Season 4), Meereen Fighting Pit (Season 5) and Battle of the Bastards (Season 6).

Season 7 set the bar even higher, with “Beyond the Wall” calling for unprecedented levels of creative and technical planning to seamlessly integrate live actors, digital dragons, real sets, stage elements and CG environment extensions, as well as fight choreography, crowd effects and carefully orchestrated fire and dunk tank shoots.

Work by The Third Floor for “Beyond the Wall” included previs story blocking across the episode as well as extensive collaboration with the visual effects and special effects teams to plan dragon flight paths, film buck plates with believable motion and shoot practical elements that would sync with CG animation.

“From battles with wights on a frozen lake to ice dragons and even a zombie polar bear, ‘Beyond the Wall’ had it all,” said Blok. “Game of Thrones has a huge focus on producing believable visuals and that’s one of the amazing things about watching -- and working on -- the program. Whether visualizing an epic battle, moving multiple actors on a motion base-mounted dragon torso or flying a flamethrower attached to a Spydercam system, we’re thrilled to be helping inform production through our specialties in sequence design, pre-planning and virtual production. Thank you Steve, Joe, HBO and everyone on the crew for this epic work and collaboration! I’d also like to congratulate previs lead Pat Gehlen, virtual production supervisor Kaya Jabar, visual effects supervisor Eric Carney and our entire show crew at THE THIRD FLOOR, who share collectively in this award.”

“With each season of Thrones, the visual effects complexity has grown with the size of its dragons,” Kullback said. “The Third Floor’s team on the ground has grown right along with that. Our supervisor Joe Bauer worked hand in glove with The Third Floor’s previs and virtual production artists on sequence design and prepping a technical playbook that made our scope possible on set in the time allowed.”

The Third Floor mapped out key scenes for “Beyond the Wall,” helping inform production plans for sets, stunts, location shoots, stage shoots and visual effects. Left frame, previs by The Third Floor. Right frame, final visual effects shot.

Game Of Thrones “Beyond The Wall” -- Outstanding Special Visual Effects
HBO Entertainment in association with Bighead, Littlehead; 360 Television/Startling Television

  • Steve Kullback, Lead Visual Effects Producer
  • Joe Bauer, Lead Visual Effects Supervisor
  • Adam Chazen, Visual Effects Associate Producer
  • Michelle Blok, Previs Lead
  • Sam Conway, Special Effects Supervisor
  • Ted Rae, Visual Effects Plate Supervisor
  • David Ramos, Visual Effects Supervisor
  • Wayne Stables, Lead CG & Animation Supervisor
  • Derek Spears, Lead CG Supervisor

The Third Floor’s previs supervisor Michelle Blok receives a 2018 Creative Arts Emmy Award, representing the company’s creative and technical virtual planning work on the visual effects team for HBO’s ‘Game of Thrones.’

Members of The Third Floor’s visualization team for ‘Game of Thrones.’ L to R: Virtual production supervisor Kaya Jabar; previs lead Pat Gehlen; previs supervisor Michelle Blok.

The ‘Game of Thrones’ visual effects team is honored with the 2018 Creative Arts Emmy Award for Outstanding Special Visual Effects. Pictured: special effects supervisor Sam Conway; visual effects supervisor David Ramos; lead CG supervisor Derek Spears, lead CG visual effects associate producer Adam Chazen; lead visual effects producer Steve Kullback; lead CG & animation supervisor, Wayne Stables; previs lead Michelle Blok; lead visual effects supervisor Joe Bauer; visual effects plate supervisor Ted Rae.

Source: The Third Floor, Inc.