Hot off of the critically acclaimed television hits Legion, Shadowhunters, This is Us and The Magicians, as well as the highly anticipated return of FOX’s Prison Break, and alongside Season 4 of iZombie, and the feature films Underworld: Blood Wars and The Belko Experiment written by James Gunn, Emmy Award winning Character FX Studio MASTERSFX is currently celebrating its historic 30th anniversary Year with an unprecedented number of new projects.
Audiences will enjoy more of MASTERSFX’s work soon on shows such as the upcoming The Handmaid's Tale on Hulu (which debuts April 26,) and on the CBS series Zoo, later in the summer.
For 30 years, MASTERSFX has blown audiences away with their industry defining FX featured both within high profile television series and feature films. “When I started this company, I could only dream of all of these accomplish-ments,” said Todd Masters, the Founder/President of MASTERSFX. “To survive for 30 years in the FX industry, it’s been critical for us to remain vital - to stay current in this day and age of digital everything. And to adapt. We have, and that’s why we’ve done so well for so long.”
Masters explains how every project his company undertakes is like putting together a new puzzle which needs to be solved. During the course of 30 years, MASTERSFX has consistently remained current, having evolved itself into three studios: Vancouver, Toronto and Los Angeles. The company continues to lead the charge in influencing cinematic approach to FX, and has even influenced other, much bigger FX studios, with their groundbreaking work along the way.
“Today, we are happy to see many of our practical FX methodologies becoming more prevalent - these can be seen in the onslaught of productions treating their audiences to incredible visual spectacles. Some of the latest examples include Ghost in the Shell, the most recent Star Trek films, and all over TV. Producers and directors who integrate practical FX into their projects have come to realize it is often an easier approach on their pipelines. I’ve even seen some of our unique techniques and methods used within the newest Star Wars films,” Masters states.
MASTERSFX artist Sarah Pickersgill working on Legion's "Devil." Photo courtesy/copyright of MASTERSFX.
A surprise TV sensation, FX's Legion has captivated audiences in perhaps one of the most successful superhero origin stories to date. Legion follows schizophrenic patient David Haller (Dan Stevens) as he begins to realize that his mental illness may in fact be the manifestation of incredible superhuman powers. As David comes to terms with what in his reality is real and not, he is haunted by the grotesque "Devil With The Yellow Eyes," who thwarts his attempts to get well.
Known for their unforgettable creatures, the MASTERSFX team designed and created the “Devil With The Yellow Eyes” character, working closely with series showrunner Noah Hawley. MFX showed Hawley several of their own concepts, based on some of his notes, and Hawley selected the one that is now on air. The MFX team had fun creating this unusual and visually bizarre character – one that has really connected with fans and critics alike who spent all season wondering, "Who is the Devil with the Yellow Eyes?"
Masters also cites The Belko Experiment as a good example of a customized blending of CG and practical on-set FX. “In Belko, we shot true elements, photographing many graphic parts, and then combined them with the original practical FX—literally blending practical and digital,” he says. “This way, we achieved a believable look for our digital blood enhancements – they felt like they were really there.”
Masters adds that in many of today’s genre projects, the blending of CG and practical FX quite often delivers the desired look. “With so much CG in so many of today’s films, our clients come to us and say that they wish their FX-heavy scenes felt more organic, more ‘real.’ We tell them that the best way to achieve this is through a practical, on-set FX solution. Or a practical solution that can then be enhanced with digital - it is so hard for CG to convey a layer of fidelity, especially on a short television schedule. Shows like The Magicians, The Expanse and ‘Legion’ all require the ‘tricks’ and apparitions they present to really seem believable. CG and digital only solutions can often fail to make those illusions feel right."
Above photos courtesy/copyright of MASTERSFX, so please no unauthorized copying or duplicating of any kind. Thanks!