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Tag: visual effects (1-4 of 4)

'Falling Skies': How Doug Jones transformed into the alien warrior Cochise -- EXCLUSIVE VIDEO

Doug Jones has played many beloved and recognizable characters in movies like Helboy and Pan’s Labyrinth. But Jones himself may not be all that recognizable to audiences — he typically appears onscreen with his appearance totally transformed. The 53-year-old actor has developed a specialty in portraying fantastical characters created with heavy prosthetic makeup. He currently appears on TNT’s Falling Skies as the alien Cochise.

Showrunner Remi Aubuchon told EW that while they were casting Cochise, “we didn’t think we could ever get [Jones for the show]. He’s in great demand. But he was the first name that ever came up.”

The relationship between Cochise and Tom Mason (Noah Wyle) as they strategize fighting the Espheni aliens was key, Aubuchon explained. “I felt strongly that having a tennis ball and the script supervisor reading the lines off-stage and then filling it in later would not give us that kind of intimacy that I felt was important with that relationship,” he said. So it was essential to cast an actor who could work with practical makeup effects on set. Enter Doug Jones.

Cochise is a warrior who’s never seen his home planet — like Earth it was invaded by aliens, so Cochise was born on a ship in the middle of the Vohm’s ongoing battle against the Espheni. That lifelong warrior identity informed how Jones moves while playing the role. READ FULL STORY

'Robot Combat League': Bot designer talks Syfy’s new 'Real Steel'-eqsue reality competition show

Robot boxing isn’t just for your little Rock’em Sock’em game anymore. In the new Syfy series Robot Combat League, metal giants dole out powerful punches on other robots. Much like in the Hugh Jackman-starring Real Steel, competitors shadowbox in an exo-suit that translates every uppercut and right hook to their mechanical avatars.

The show began with an idea from producers Jeremy Whitham and Craig Plestis. They gave the duties of creating the show’s robots to Mark Setrakian, whose credits include the animatronic effects in Hellboy, Men in Black, and Batman Forever. He was also a competitor on the Bill Nye-hosted show BattleBots in 2000.

Setrakian designed 12 robots for Robot Combat League that are each operated by teams of two: one shadowboxing contestant — one is George Lucas’ daughter, MMA fighter Amanda Lucas — and one tech-savvy teammate. It took Setrakian about three months in late 2011 to build a prototype robot, and then he led a group of 20 effects artists at Los Angeles effects studio Spectral Motion to create the robots that would appear on the show. Each robot cost about $200,000 to make, Setrakian says.

Ahead of Robot Combat League’s nine-episode season — the premiere airs tonight and is already available to watch online — Setrakian chatted with EW about designing bots for the show, inevitable Real Steel comparisons, and what the future might hold for boxing robots. READ FULL STORY

'Battlestar Galactica: Blood and Chrome': Ben Cotton on playing Lt. Coker Fasjovik -- EXCLUSIVE VIDEO

Last year Syfy took a brief return trip to the world of its deep-space (and deep-thinking) epic Battlestar Galactica with the prequel Blood and Chrome. Originally conceived as a two-hour pilot, Battlestar Galactica: Blood and Chrome was ultimately released as an online series of ten 12-minute acts. Now the whole two-hour movie is set for an unrated, uncut edition on Blu-ray and DVD, which will be released this Tuesday.

Blood and Chrome takes place during the First Cylon War and features an origin story for BSG’s Admiral William Adama. In this prequel, young Adama, recently graduated from the Academy, is assigned to the newest battlestar in the Colonial fleet – none other than Galactica itself. The eager young lieutenant soon finds himself at odds with his co-pilot, battle-weary Coker Fasjovik (Ben Cotton), who is eight weeks away from the end of his tour of duty.

Visual effects for Blood and Chrome were pulled off with digital reconstructions of Galactica, using scans made of the original sets before they were dismantled. Check out an EW exclusive featurette on the project’s effects below. Then read on for our chat with Cotton about how he crafted his character, his experience with Blood and Chrome’s visual effects and what advice he has for BSG actress Katee Sackoff as she enters the Chronicles of Riddick franchise, which he starred in eight years ago.

Skitters and crawlies and fishheads, oh my! The making of the 'Falling Skies' aliens

Building molds of giant, insect-like legs, directing a motion-capture performer to move like an alien, bouncing around ideas of how to freak out the viewers at home – it’s all in a day’s work for the team behind alien invasion show Falling Skies.

The TNT sci-fi drama, now nearing the end of its second season, has brought the invasion’s survivors face-to-face with all manner of extraterrestrial foes from the six-legged to the massive and metallic to the tall and regal.

And at any moment there could be a new threat to the 2nd Mass, the Boston-born militia regiment at the center of the show. The most recent episode introduced fans to crawlies – and yes, they’re as squirm-inducing as they sound.

Falling Skies, which just earned an Emmy nomination for Outstanding Special Visual Effects, features the work of two vfx companies: MASTERSFX, which primarily works on the show’s practical effects, and Zoic Studios, which focuses on the digital side. The two companies have teamed up before for such shows as Six Feet Under, True Blood and Fringe.

It’s a hybrid approach – the marrying of the practical and the computer-generated – that’s becoming increasingly popular in the entertainment industry. READ FULL STORY


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