VES Award nominee Matt Welford describes ‘supporting visual effects,’ including previs and techvis, on the inaugural episode of the ‘Aquaman’ star’s hit post-apocalyptic action-adventure series.
Pixomondo has just shared with AWN both a full Season One VFX showreel and a behind-the-scenes video highlighting their great visualization work on the rock wall avalanche sequence from “Godflame,” the inaugural episode of Jason Momoa’s new Apple TV post-apocalyptic action-adventure series, See. The creative studio’s VFX supervisor, Matt Welford, was just nominated by the VES, along with Adrian de Wet, Eve Fizzinoglia, Pedro Sabrosa and Tom Blacklock, for Outstanding Supporting Visual Effects in a Photoreal Episode for their exemplary work on the series’ first episode.
In “Godflame,” we witness a giant battle between two of the warring tribes when an army of Witchfinders attacks the village of Alkenny. After a bloody and gruesome fight, Baba Voss (Momoa) is forced to unleash the final line of defense before his tribe is overrun; a rock wall avalanche down the side of the mountainside.
A team from Pixomondo, led by Welford, went on location in Vancouver, taking more than 3,000 photographs of the rock wall’s hillside set; using photogrammetry, they recreated the entire set in 3D, which Welford’s team subsequently used for both previs and techvis development work. Having an accurate 3D virtual set allowed Welford to plot detailed camera locations and movements that would best capture the elaborate avalanche sequence; it also meant the filmmakers could quickly review potential camera positions that could be easily changed, repositioned and re-examined. Once OK’d, that visualization informed the live-action shoot, as well as formed the basis of the postvis work used to produce the final shots.
“Things evolved through the creative process from the original previs, but many of the camera angles and camera positions remained very consistent when compared with those that were prevised several months before and the final shots we delivered,” Welford explains. “With the previs and the techvis complete, and signed off creatively, it let the filmmakers really hit the ground running when they shot the sequence. But more importantly, for us, was that then transferred into a postvis sequence that could be cut into the episode months and months before we were anywhere close to realizing the final shots for the show.”
Dan Sarto is Publisher and Editor-in-Chief of Animation World Network.