'Game Of Thrones' Featurette: How Season 8 Pushes The Boundaries Of Visual Effects

Eight seasons, 80-plus hours of cutting-edge visual effects with which few other shows can compete. Game of Thrones has long pushed the envelope with special effects on television just by virtue of the sheer scope of this series, which has spanned years and continents — fictional or otherwise. And although they've had years of practice, creating the creatures, effects, and settings of Game of Thrones doesn't get easier for the visual effects team behind the hit HBO fantasy series. As the final season of Game of Thrones draws nearer, find out what went into the behind-the-scenes making of the show's effects in a new Game of Thrones visual effects featurette.

Game of Thrones Visual Effects Featurette

When Game of Thrones first premiered in 2011, VFX producer Steve Kullback and supervisor Joe Bauer only had four visual effects supervisors on the ground. Cut to 8 years later, and that number has ballooned to 24 pre-vis artists, three additional supervisors, multiple concept artists and visual effects editors, and even an air traffic control team.

"Things need to be shot faster and they need to be turned around faster, and this whole journey of Game of Thrones has been one of figuring out how to rise to that occasion," Kullback said in the Game of Thrones featurette exploring the visual effects of the lavish HBO fantasy series.

The VFX team's workload has risen exponentially since they were just a team of four in 2011, not just in the scale of the visual effects required (this season's upcoming episode-long battle scene likely being one for the record books), but in the number of shots per episode. "In seasons 2 and 3 we were looking at 600 and 800 shots in a givens season," Kullback said. "Now we're looking at multiples of that in a single episode. It's a remarkable demand on our team."

In the eight seasons of this series, the VFX team has done more than 10,000 visual effects shots, according to Bauer. "We're pushing the boundaries all the time. All eyes are on us and we're trying to do things nobody's done before by showing up each year with a new stack of things to do," Bauer said.

Game of Thrones season 8 premieres on HBO on April 14, 2019.