Watchmen VFX Team Reveals Biggest Challenge For The Series

Watchmen’s VFX team has revealed the biggest challenge for the show. Monsters/Aliens/Robots/Zombies or MARZ talked to CBR about their work on the critically-acclaimed HBO series. There are a lot of hits to look toward to in the run of that show including everything Dr. Manhattan, the New York incident, and basically that last episode. But, to the people at MARZ, getting Looking Glass’s mask right was the toughest thing they faced. Tim Blake Nelson’s lonely detective almost always has it on in public and that otherworldly sheen had people talking. But, it turns out that his trademark mask isn’t even real, and bringing it to life is even more intense than anyone could have imagined.

"Our biggest challenge ended up being our biggest point of pride on the show. We knew what we wanted the Looking Glass mask to look like -- but how would we capture the reflections that we could then layer onto the mask? Nothing like that had ever been done," they began. "In preparation for the pilot episode, we tested a lot of different technologies and cameras to design a unique pipeline for the effect. Knowing that the production team's cameras would be pointing at Tim Blake Nelson (the actor who plays Detective Looking Glass) and not shooting from his vantage point (which is what we needed to capture to pull off the reflective mask), the idea became to place a camera rig on the actor’s head to capture a 360-view around him."

MARZ continued, "So we attached one Rylo camera to the front of the rig and one to the back, creating a 360-capture. While we went with Rylo because it was the only camera at the time that recorded rotation information directly into the video file; we needed a better way to remotely control when it was recording. We couldn't just step up to the actor after every take and interrupt his process. So we essentially hacked into the camera and ended up creating our own remote, transmitter, and receiver."

Watchmen is streaming on HBO Max right now.

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