How Westworld’s VFX Looked To Future For An Emmy Nomination

Hbo season 3 Done by Philosophically and geographically, the duo took the hit series in many new directions, overtaking the titular theme park for a story arc set in the outside world that traced humanity’s dominance over its creations.

The third season also nominated the show its third Primetime Emmy Award for Visual Effects – one of the 11 categories nominated for the season this year. Visual effects studio Pixomondo shared in each nomination over the past two years for its work on the series, which concluded its eight-episode third season in May and has already been renewed for a fourth season.

spoke to visual effects supervisor Nhat Phong Tran, who led Pixomondo’s team Done byIt’s about the work that earned him – and the series – another Emmy nomination.

Pixomondo / Facebook

: First of all, congratulations for earning another Emmy nomination Done by.

Nat Phong Tran: Thanks a lot. it’s very exciting.

With this season Done byWhat was your team’s primary focus for visual effects?

We were mostly involved in building the world outside of Westworld, including building future versions of Los Angeles and San Francisco and broadening Singapore’s horizons.

This is the second time you’ve been nominated Done by, But the show from season 2 to season 3 has changed a lot. How did your perspective change between the last two seasons?

This was indeed a huge change. Compared to previous seasons, where we greatly enhanced the natural landscapes and natural features of the environment, this season we were heavily involved with adding and creating man-made structures in the environment. So it was very different. In season 2, what we did would be through changes in nature and the natural environment, but in this season, everything we did came from conscious decisions by people, which was a different way of looking at things and a different process. .


When you are developing a future version of a city, it seems that you can easily go too far with all the growth and create something that does not seem real. Keeping a reality on the ground, how do you keep the balance between how the environment is feeling?

Yes, with the sci-fi versions of existing cities, you can easily project a short distance too far, and then it seems a bit naive and unrealistic. It certainly helps that we’re living here in Los Angeles, because the way we approached it was to pay in relation to Los Angeles’ special pockets and already existing neighborhoods – and to the city and street grid Also those that have already been determined. . We researched a good amount of time and considered what was likely to happen over time, and what would be difficult to change.

For example, looking at property laws, it is unlikely that they are going to tear down a bunch of single-family residence areas in Los Angeles. There are a lot of different owners in those areas, and it would be such a headache to consolidate them all for a new skyscraper or something of that nature. So that we influence the layout of placing buildings in a future version of Los Angeles. A lot of them have been added to the city of Los Angeles, which we thought would be slightly more likely because there are a lot of industrial areas around that are very large. There are already some areas in Los Angeles that are currently the right setup to be built upstairs like a skyscraper, so it was a big part of our plan.

When it was time to design the true look of the buildings and the aesthetic of future Los Angeles, from whom did you draw inspiration?

Singapore was always referred to by Jonah [Nolan, series co-creator] And the team as a role model for a future city. And Danish architect Bjarki Ingels has a very unique design philosophy that informs architecture. Using both Singapore and Bjarke Ingals-inspired buildings, we excluded everything so that it fit the palette of architecture and city planning.

Are there any special visuals or visual effects sequences from season 3 that you’re particularly proud of?

This will definitely be the approach sequence for Los Angeles [in the season 3 premiere], When Dolores leaves Supertouch with Liam and flees to his penthouse. It was good for me, personally, because we were involved during early photography by that order. We provided visual effects for the giant LED screen that was used as a backdrop during the actual photography, so we started creating everything for that scene before editing the first episode.

For that scene, we spent a lot of time making the city the future, and then to see it on a giant, curved LED screen was simply amazing. And we all got to see it on the set, photographed with the actors in front of it, and then reunited after six months to finish work on those shots. And finally, we got to see the finished scene, and it looked so beautiful the way it was set up. It was really, really satisfying.

That scene first introduced the show’s audience to the larger world outside the theme park. Did you feel any additional pressure to make a good first impression?

Yes, emotionally, there were a lot of different colors in that order. For us, this was the first time we saw our work as part of this new dimension Done by. But as you said, for viewers who have watched all the previous seasons, this was the first time they see this outside world in that context – the first time they are looking at the big picture. It was really beautiful to see Dolores flying towards the penthouse and looking out of the window and seeing that whole world.

You mentioned those massive LED screens Done by And many other big shows are starting to be used for background environments. How has that trend influenced your work?

Well, the visual effect was traditionally like a postproduction – something that happened after the shooting. But now, with those LED screens becoming part of the actual shooting and production, visual effects are also becoming part of that phase. So we’re getting a lot more involved right now, and because of that, we have more creative input at that early stage of production.

The 72nd Primetime Emmy Awards ceremony will be held on 20 September. Hbo Done by Nominated in 11 categories, including Outstanding Special Visual Effects.

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