the man in the high castle visual effects

The most impressive visual effects are the visual effects you never notice, and television is quickly becoming home to a ton of visual effects you never notice. While some shows get to show office massive CGI dragons, others use computer effects to modify skylines, extend sets, and quietly manipulate environments so they look like another time and place. We recently saw this kind of seamless effects work at work in ABC’s Agent Carter, but a new video explores how Amazon’s The Man in the High Castle uses the same technology to create a far different and more terrifying world. It seem that if computers are good for anything, it’s for crafting Nazi-run science fiction dystopias.

This very cool behind-the-scenes look comes to us courtesy of Wired and FX Guide’s Mike Seymour and here’s how they describe it:

Amazon Studios’ “The Man in the High Castle” take places in an alternate history, set in a post-WWII world where the Axis powers ended up victorious. To create the look of a United States run by Imperial Japan and Nazi Germany, Zoic Studios was tasked with creating difficult visual effects and environment work. Find out how they did it.

The “how they did” it thing is answered quickly enough – computers. Duh. But it’s the how that is fascinating here, not the what. There is CGI at work in every nook and cranny of this show, with much of it being utilized for unexpected and surprising reasons.

As the video explores, The Man in the High Castle faces two immediate uphill battles: it has to recreate 1962 and it has to recreate an alternate 1962 where the Allies lost World War II and the United States is dominated by the Axis powers. That means major cities have to digitally molded to resemble their older selves and they have to be filled with details that indicate just who is in charge here. And since many businesses and buildings objected to having Nazi flags and fascist propaganda on full display for filming, this task fell to the visual effects folks. From there, the task of creating this world only grows more complex, as the VFX wizards have to create vehicles and technology that would only exist in a world where American manufacturing and design was halted and replaced with German and Japanese concepts. It’s wild stuff.

The entire first season of The Man in the High Castle is available to stream on Amazon Prime right now. A second season is already in the works.

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