Burbank-based effects studio
collects second Emmy nomination for ABC series.

BURBANK— Accolades continue to accumulate
for FuseFX and its work on ABC’s Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. The lead
visual effects provider for the action series, the team from the Burbank-based
studio is currently nominated for an Emmy Award for Outstanding Visual Effects;
the second straight year they’ve been so honored. They’ve also tallied three
V.E.S. Award nominations and an Online Film & Television Award nomination
over the course of the show’s first two seasons.
“FuseFX is by far the best visual effects company working in
television,” says Mark Kolpack, VFX Supervisor for ABC Studios, producers of Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. “They have the
best pipeline and the best talent pool. Their organization and attention to
detail is outstanding.”

The studio aims high in producing effects for the show.
FuseFX VFX Supervisor Kevin Lingenfelser says their standard for comparison are
not other television shows, but rather other Marvel productions. “The work we
do has to fit in with the Marvel cinematic universe,” he explains. “What fans
see on television has to feel like it’s on par with what they see in theaters.
I like to say, ‘we do Marvel for television.’”

Of course, FuseFX has to do its work much faster than its
feature film counterparts. The studio typically has a mere 10 or 12 days to
turnaround the effects for an episode upon receipt of background plates. That
can include the creation of character-driving effects animation, photo-realistic
vehicles, CG set extensions, pyrotechnics and atmospheric effects, among
others.
Now into its third season, the production of the series has
assumed almost military precision with VFX involving intensely close
collaboration between Kolpack and his production crew on the one hand, and
Lingenfelser and his team of supervisors, artists and producers on the other.
Work begins before the start of live action production with Kolpack breaking
down the script and storyboarding complex effects shots.

“One of my big things is to add an element of humanity to
the visual effects,” Kolpack observes. “When there are people in the shot, it helps
bridge the gap for the audience. It gives them something they can to relate
to.”

As production elements arrive at FuseFX, individual shot
tasks are assigned to artists depending on their expertise. Lingenfelser notes
that 20 to 25 artists may be involved in a single episode. Temp shots are
produced within a day or two so that they can be made available to the
production’s editorial and sound teams. As shots are finalized they move up the
chain to Kolpack and ultimately the show’s producers for comment and approval.

FuseFX is especially proud of its work in crafting certain
signature elements of the show, including the highly specialized vehicles and
other paramilitary gear used by S.H.I.E.L.D. agents. Chief among them is the
“Bus,” a specialized Boeing C-17
Globemaster III modified to serve as the group’s Airborne Mobile Command Station. FuseFX artists
spent months designing and modeling the aircraft, which appeared in most episodes
during the first two seasons. Ironically, the episode that drew the Emmy
nomination includes the last appearance of the Bus. It’s hit by a missile during
an assault on an arctic research facility operated the villainous organization
HYDRA.

The shooting down of the Bus is accomplished as a completely
CG sequence.  “Pieces of wreckage catch
fire and burn as they fall to earth,” recalls Lingenfelser. “There is also a
smaller plane that flies through the airborne debris. It’s a very complex
sequence, combining CG, effects simulations and pyrotechnics.”

(FuseFX hasn’t had much time to mourn the loss of the Bus as
they are already busy designing and building its even more impressive
replacement. It debuts in season three.)
Lingenfelser credits the studio’s ability to complete
complicated effects sequences on a tight schedule to the bond that’s developed
between production and visual effects. 
“Mark and his producer Sabrina Arnold have their end down tight,” he
says. “Their notes are concise and complete. When we get that information, we
know exactly what we’re in for. It simplifies everything from bidding on
forward.”

Kolpack says that credit is also due to the commitment and
enthusiasm of the team at FuseFX. “I can feel how excited and appreciative they
are to work on our project,” he concludes. “They are my ace in the hole. They
deliver every time.”
View FuseFX’s work on Marvel’s
Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. 
About FuseFX
FuseFX is a full-service visual effects studio serving the
television, feature film and advertising industries from facilities in Burbank,
New York and Vancouver. Founded in 2006 by David Altenau, the company encompasses
a staff of more than 100 highly talented and experienced artists, producers and
support personnel. Using its refined, custom database and pipeline, the company
can accommodate numerous, high shot-count productions while delivering high-quality,
on-time results.
For more information, visit http://fusefx.com/
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