VFX supe Russell Dodgson explores three seasons of ‘His Dark Materials’ magic

From on-set puppetry, to CG work, to second unit directing.

This week on the befores & afters podcast, we’re looking back at the past 3 seasons of His Dark Materials with production visual effects supervisor Russell Dodgson, who hails from Framestore.

I wanted to find out from Russell what the earliest conversations were about the show from his point of view, and he shared some fun stories about several things, including the aims with the creatures. These were all CG, but brought to life with puppetry on set. There were also some very neat virtual production approaches used on the show.

In the podcast we also discuss Russell’s additional roles in addition to VFX supe’ing and Russell identifies one of the toughest new creatures to make – the mulefa – and some of the hardest shots in the show to create. Incredibly, there are around 5000 shots in the 3 series, so he had a few to choose from!

This episode is sponsored by CGWire’s Kitsu platform. Kitsu is a collaboration platform for animation and VFX productions. It brings teams and production tools to the same place. The production team can dispatch tasks and collect deliveries. The artists know what they have to do and can publish their work easily, while the director can see all the preview versions and send feedback directly to the team. As a result, productions tracked with Kitsu see their quality increase significantly. And studios, by being more efficient, can scale seamlessly. Use Kitsu to unleash your full potential.

Check out the podcast below, and some behind the scenes from BBC.

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