Last night’s episode of the Fox hit House, now in its sixth season, featured six minutes of very cool 3D gaming graphics. If you were wondering who did the work, the answer is the Ascent Media post production company Encore Hollywood. The third episode of the season, “Epic Fail” was the story of a videogame developer–almost as arrogant as Dr. House–who hallucinates that he’s inside the creepy, dangerous world of an immersive game his company is developing.
The amount of full-on CG graphics in an episodic series is rarely scene in primetime TV. Encore Hollywood created three all-3D CG scenes of a bizarre apocalyptic world inhabited by strange creatures.
House Visual Effects Supervisor Elan Soltes approached Encore Hollywood four months before the airdate, to discuss the CG needed to make the episode work. The visual effects team at Encore collaborated with House writers, producers and the episode’s director, Greg Yaitanes, to develop scenes fromÂ a video game that doesn’t really exist. In real life, videogame development can take years.
To create the videogame sequences, Encore Hollywood utilized motion capture as well as more than 15 artists working in Autodesk packages 3D Studio Max and Inferno, as well as eyeon Fusion, among other tools, to build the multilayered environment required to bring the world and its mutant characters to life. “These sequences presented us with a tremendous opportunity to demonstrate what our visual effects team at Encore can do, and we were excited tackle this amazing challenge,” says Tom Kendall, Encore Hollywood Executive Producer for Visual Effects.
Concept Artist Christian Scheurer, who has done quite a bit of creative work on videogames, worked with Soltes and Kendall’s team on concept art to get everyone on the same page.Â “We didn’t go looking for people who worked in the gaming industry,” says Soltes. “Those people are used to taking years to do this stuff and I needed artists who were used to turning around high-quality work on an extremely tight television schedule.” Other Encore Hollywood artists involved in the immense push to get the six minutes completed in less than four weeks wasÂ 3D Supervisor Rodrigo Washington and 2D Lead Compositor, Dave Neuberger.”A lot of shows in today’s economic environment try to plan without many visual effects,” Kendall explains. “They might do a set extension or some driving comps, which we do plenty of. But it’s a testament to the producers of House that they’re willing to go all out and do something so elaborate for their audience. And Encore Hollywood is proud to be part of that.”
Encore Hollywood has worked consistently with House over its six-season run, to create visceral images of patients’ internal organs that no real camera could capture and adding other visual elements.
House is from Heel and Toe Films, Shore Z Productions and Bad Hat Harry Productions in association with Universal Media Studios. Katie Jacobs, David Shore, Paul Attanasio, Bryan Singer, Russel Friend, Garrett Lerner and Thomas L. Moran are executive producers.
Did you enjoy this article? Sign up to receive the StudioDaily Fix eletter containing the latest stories, including news, videos, interviews, reviews and more.