Lost in Space

How VFX vendors all over the world kept in touch while being Lost in Space

Lost in Space, Netflix’s epic new re-telling of the 60s classic series, is high budget, spectacular TV at its visual best. Making extensive use of VFX, the show’s production values are incredible. In order to pull it off, VFX Supervisor Jabbar Raisani and VFX Producer Terron Pratt had to coordinate a globe-spanning team of VFX facilities. In a recent interview with VFX Voice, they talked about how the team came together and how they managed to coordinate and communicate effectively.

From the article:

Of the 10 episodes, eight in 10 have extremely intensive visual effects sequences, according to Pratt and Raisani, and the other two aren’t what one normally thinks of as “bottle episodes.” One involved a massive sequence with a ship escaping calamity. It’s small in terms of shot count, but in terms of complexity it’s still rather high for that one episode. Overall, shot-count wise, the show is huge. We are heading toward 2,700 shots in the 10 episodes,” notes Pratt.

The massive VFX effort required a huge team working together, and Lost in Space is a thoroughly global effort, with post production based in Santa Monica.

“Everyone knew the property and everybody knew it was being made by Netflix, and everyone wanted to get on it. Vendors were fighting to get on the show,” says Pratt. “We’re above 20 vendors. We’re mostly at that size of production because of our timeline. Ideally, we would limit to a small number of vendors, but in order to get the shot count pushed through in under a year, we branched out to everywhere. We have vendors in Sweden, Ireland, Germany, South Africa, Canada, India, the U.S. East and West Coasts, and Texas.

“We’re kind of everywhere,” Pratt adds. “Our core team is Important Looking Pirates [ILP] in Stockholm, Image Engine in Vancouver, Cinesite in Montreal, Rhythm and Hues in L.A., and El Ranchito in Spain [Madrid], and then we work out of L.A. [Santa Monica]. The post-production office is here and we’re the hub and epicenter of all the effects, everything that’s happening.”

“We cast the vendors based upon on their skill set, and also the amount of time necessary to free them up for the next large body of work later down the road,” says Raisani. “For example, ILP’s main episodes are one, three and 10, but they’ve got a little bit of work scattered throughout. As we’re breaking down the scripts and as we start to shoot and award the material, we look at where we want to preserve some of the larger vendors, to make sure we can allocate work appropriately.”

For European or Asian vendors, time-zone differences can add an extra challenge. Pratt says, “We’re just kind of rolling constantly. When we’re getting up in the morning, the Swedish team is wrapping their day, so there’s a little bit of overlap. We’ve done calls at 8 a.m. with Sweden and then 9 p.m. with India on the same day.”

“Working with different time zones actually works quite well,” says ILP Visual Effects Supervisor Niklas Jacobson, based in Stockholm. “We submit all our work and do our cineSync sessions and Skype calls at the end of our day, [which is] the beginning of the day in LA. Our client has all the material they need in their morning and they can review it and pass written notes back to us at the end of their day. Then we’ve got all the latest feedback when we jump start our days in the office.”

The rest of the article can be found at VFX Voice