Boyd Shermis

We talk to the VFX Supervisor of Speed, Face Off and Fear the Walking Dead

Boyd Shermis is an industry legend, having supervised the VFX on some of the biggest films of the past 2 decades and more – including Speed, Poseidon, Face Off, Swordfish and GI Joe: Rise of the Cobra. More recently, he’s turned his hand to TV, handling VFX Supervisor duties on AMC’s Fear the Walking Dead.

We recently caught up with Boyd to see how his work is going, how the VFX landscape is evolving – and how cineSync makes a difference.

What have been some of the most exciting and unique projects in your career?

Swordfish was a big one. Choreographing and figuring out how to do the slo-mo explosion shot at the beginning of the film – and then actually pulling it off, both in the photography, as well as in post – was a huge challenge.

Poseidon also comes to mind, where we designed a completely new way of doing CGI water (real-world volumes) with the team at ILM. We used that water system throughout the film. 

Also: bringing Scanline’s water system to MPC and using it in new ways, and designing and executing the opening 3-minute shot of ‘flying’ around the virtual ship, following our hero on his morning jog.

On what project did you start using cineSync?

I first started using cineSync on Poseidon. We were working with MPC/London and were able to review work in progress remotely from LA. We still made trips to London to work, but cineSync enabled us to do a lot of work from LA.


Was there a specific feature of cineSync that you immediately responded to?

The ability to jog a sequence of frames in sync with the remote end to review and critique animation, and the ability to draw on the screen and leave notes on screen.

How did cineSync change the way you approached remote collaboration on later projects?

I almost never have to travel to remote facilities and now don’t think twice about working with facilities around the globe.

I’ve also recently used cineSync on a television show where I was on location, while the editorial department and showrunner were in LA working on episodes that were already photographed. I was able to spot new sequences and review in-progress and “final” materials with them back in LA, all while I was still shooting episodes in a remote location.


How often do you work on global project?

EVERY project now is a global project and cineSync is an integral part of this process. It plays a central role in our ability to work with the global VFX community.

Can you think of any one specific shot or sequence that cineSync really helped out with?

It plays a role in almost every shot we do now; certainly in my last project. I don’t think there was a single shot (besides straight ‘clean up’ and wire removals) that wasn’t reviewed and discussed via cineSync.

What new challenges do you face in VFX and how will cineSync enable you to overcome them?

Every show has it’s unique challenges – I can’t say what the next ones will be. But I’m confident cineSync will play an integral role!