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VFX Vet Mat Beck to Helm Smallville Episode

The May 10 episode of SMALLVILLE titled "Prototype" (airing 8:00 pm on the CW network) marks the directorial debut of Entity FX founder/president/vfx supervisor Mat Beck. The episode continues to expand Beck's career in film and television as a supervisor, producer, cinematographer and second unit director.

"Prototype" helps wrap the sixth season of SMALLVILLE, ratcheting up the action toward the season finale, titled "Phantom," to air on May 17. The plotline of "Prototype," shot throughout 10 days on locations in and around Vancouver, sees the emergence of a deadly super soldier (Tahmoh Penikett) from a clandestine program designed by Lex Luthor (Michael Rosenbaum) to imbue military veterans with alien super powers. When the über-G.I. is dispatched to kill a whistle-blowing senator (Alan C. Peterson), Clark Kent (Tom Welling) must face off with the formidable fighter to save intrepid reporter Lois Lane (Erica Durance).

As a veteran collaborator, Beck has exec-supervised all of the visual effects for SMALLVILLE since 2002 and has directed a number of its more dramatic action sequences, including shots that bookend the program's main title. This is the first full episode under his direction. His work in the industry also includes such TV shows as SIX FEET UNDER, BAND OF BROTHERS, NIGHTSTALKER and FIGHT SCIENCE, as well as music videos, commercials and more than 60 feature films.

Beck started out in the entertainment business shooting personal films and documentary footage, having completed an education in computers, physiological psychology, film theory and photography. After designing and programming digital tools such as motion control systems and working as a camera operator, he moved into director of photography and visual effects supervisor roles and was invited to join the American Society of Cinematographers (ASC) in 2002.

His current memberships include The Directors Guild of America, The Academy of Motion Pictures Arts & Sciences, The Academy of Television Arts & Sciences, The International Cinematographers Guild (Local 600) and the Visual Effects Society. He is also a member of The Writers Guild, and penned an episode of the multiple Emmy Award-winning drama, THE X-FILES, in 1996.

Beck's vfx credits include TITANIC, THE ABYSS, MOONSTRUCK, THE X-FILES, TRUE LIES, GALAXY QUEST, THE NUTTY PROFESSOR, THE AVIATOR, SPIDER-MAN 2, HERBIE: FULLY LOADED, MIAMI VICE and BAND OF BROTHERS, for which he was Emmy nominated in 2002. Also an entrepreneur, he founded visual effects companies Light Matters Inc. and Entity FX in 1994 and 2002, respectively.

Entity FX ( is an award-winning visual effects studio specializing in feature film, television and commercials. With facilities in Santa Monica, California, and Vancouver, British Columbia, Entity FX delivers creativity on the demands of today's production with a range of services in pre-visualization, on-set supervision, virtual backgrounds, matte painting, environmental effects, compositing, CG animation, specialty photography and more.

Recent work includes THE AIR I BREATHE, a feature film directed by Jieho Lee and starring Forest Whitaker, Kevin Bacon, Brendan Fraser, Andy Garcia and Sarah Michelle Gellar; and Sean Penn's INTO THE WILD, starring Emile Hirsch.

Bill Desowitz's picture

Bill Desowitz, former editor of VFXWorld, is currently the Crafts Editor of IndieWire.