CGI that creates the past, not the future (and on the cheap!)
I wrote a fun item for the current issue of Wired about the company that creates “invisible effects” for HBO’s awesome looking, Martin-Scorsese-produced new series about Atlantic City bootleggers, Boardwalk Empire.
The show has feature-film-caliber production design, which literally wouldn’t have been possible on a TV budget without CG-ing a whole mess of it — otherwise, as series creator Terence Winter says, “we wouldn’t have had a boardwalk or an empire.”
Some interesting tidbits that didn’t make it into the article:
- All the muzzle flashes from gunfire are CG’ed.
- All of the blood-spatters (and there are a lot) are also CG’ed, because it’s easier to reset the period costumes for additional takes when you don’t have to sew up squib-holes and mop fake blood off them. (And in many cases, again for budget reasons, the wardrobe department didn’t have extra copies of the costumes to begin with!)
- Scorsese is old-school, but really comfortable with this “fake” process — while setting up a shot in a boardwalk shop, he casually asked the CG guys (who were on set during the making of the pilot) to digitally move some signage in a window a little to the left “later” because he liked the framing better that way. (Again: much cheaper than having the art dept. spend an hour or two scouring off the paint and repainting it two feet to the left.)
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