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Game of Thrones VFX team talks about 'Beyond the Wall'



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Game of Thrones is not only a show with a great story and cast, it’s a great looking show as well. We have seen the show almost pioneer what visual effects on television should look like, and the team behind the show has gone and pulled it off spectacularly. As the team behind the VFX on the show gears up to win its six consecutive Emmy award, the team members recently spoke to IndieWire about their work on Beyond the Wall, one of the best looking episodes of Season 7. Read on!

Speaking of that scary Wight polar bear, Joe Bauer, the lead visual effects supervisor said:

“In doing photo research on dead polar bears, they lose their fat layer and the fur mats and goes away. They don’t look like polar bears anymore.

And Wayne had the idea of also sizing up the skeletons, so that there was some explanation for the shape of it. And you needed to get enough of the familiar facial features so it didn’t look like a monster.”

The Wight army we saw apparently had two kinds, green screen wights that were 90% CG and 10% costume and prosthetic, and negative space wights (deformed and see through) that were 30% CG and 70% costume and prosthetic. Bauer explained:

“The VFX mainly added volume with thousands of wights on the ice and up into the hill extensions. The other addition was when they break through the ice, so we shot plates and 3D tracked them. We built a water tank on stage and used motion control to duplicate camera moves, and shot stunt wights falling through wax pieces on a hydraulic system that lowered them into the tank.”

Getting the dragons right was quite a challenge for the team, said Bauer:

“Having Drogon land on the island and then take off from a fixed position was one of the challenges. It was like a 200-foot-long high jumper. The complexity of getting all those dynamics correct for the leap and flap took a lot of effort.”

We decided to laser cut the entire back of Drogon in full scale out of polystyrene, and that was divided into three sections. When they animated the dragon’s performance, we would play back the portion of it where that piece was situated on Drogon so the surface with the actors was correct to the action.”

Well, apparently the Season 8 finale is going to beat everything they’ve done yet, so keep your eyes peeled. Excited already? Tell us in the comments, down below!


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Founder at Wiki of Thrones and a full-time Game of Thrones fan who does other work when he has finished reading and writing about Game of Thrones and also dreams about playing a role in the show.