HBO's Inside True Blood Blog
A Land Called Faerie
by Jon Massey (Visual Effects Supervisor)
From a visual effects stand point, Faerie was one of the biggest sequences that we have done on the show. The concept of what it was and where it was went through many stages with Alan and the writers and producers. At every turn, new problems and solutions arose. This creative jigsaw puzzle finally became what you see on the screen now: a single beautiful ballroom in a strange land reminiscent of Maxfield Parrish, with a tree of fruit glowing in its branches, which then turns into a desert landscape, it’s true form, revealed by Sookie’s powers.
The Production Designer, the amazing Suzuki Ingerslev, built this single ballroom on a blue screen stage, so that we could add in the landscape behind them. The landscape was described as Parrish meets the Sierras, without the snow. Zoic Studios matte painter Jeremy Melton, who had studied Parrish’s work in college, created a fantastic landscape that we could use in a two hundred and eighty degree view. This was then composited in over a hundred and forty visual effect shots.
Once we entered into the desert landscape, which we called Goblinland, several other visual effect elements emerged. The energized fireballs the faeries toss down on each other are a real element of fire, composited into the live action shots. The actors had to visualize tossing these fireballs without any physical object to hold. Though sometimes in visual effects, we like to give the actors something tangible, i.e. a green screen ball, in this case tossing anything at each other would have been more problematic than nothing at all (not to mention also dangerous). When they land, we tied in energized tendrils into the intense explosions created by the special effects team, led by Michael Gaspar.
The last stop in this land called Faerie is the Chasm, the portal through which Sookie and her grandfather re-enter the world. This giant hole in the ground created additional difficulties for us, as it had to be created as a matte painting, composited into the live action footage and then animated as if it was closing up. How it closed was a dilemma, as visually, it needed to be tied into something that you could relate to in the real world. One of Zoic’s lead compositors, Tim Eilers, created a CG particle layer based on the visual reference of magma and lava, as if the earth was really pushing itself closed. Anna Paquin and Gary Cole merely had to jump off a small platform with a green screen below it, into pads, to simulate jumping into the chasm. But now I’m giving away too much, better to leave some things in the imagination...
Due to my lack of spoilers, I will search after some coffee, I am posting some Eric scenes from Lilja @
Ok, how much did you miss Buzz and Andy's Vlogs? They are back and I'm loving it, my baaaybeez are home!
I just can't with this TV Holly and the actress that plays her, this scene cements those feelings. I hope she meets her end this season, oh please TV gods hear my plea.
Ken Tucker get's overly serious with this show, he thinks sex always leads to a bad place for TB's characters. Doesn't he realize EVERYTHING leads to trouble on True Blood? That's life in Bon Temps, one thing after another for our fearless heroine and her scooby gang, sex is just the break they get between dilemmas. Read the proof of his theory at EW
I guess Jethro Nededog is now with THR fulltime or at least for TB articles, he's a fun read-
10 Things Sookie Missed While Fraternizing with Fairies
1. Jason was fitted with the tightest police uniform possible. While Sookie was away, Jason (Ryan Kwanten) became a full-fledged deputy. He had also sold her home after doing everything he could to find her. Not surprisingly (since we always thought there was a caring person underneath the vanity), he has started taking care of Crystal’s (Lindsay Pulsipher) fellow werepanthers from Hotshot. Despite his kindness, though, he finds himself locked up in a freezer. For what? We’re not sure yet.
2. Bill has discovered a whole new range of emotions. We have to say that Sookie’s absence has been good to Bill or is it power? Somehow, he’s now the vampire king of Louisiana. Gone is the sulking, serious Bill we have known for three seasons. In his place, we have a Bill who smiles, laughs, and generally uses a whole range of emotions we didn’t think possible for him. Who knew?
3. Eric works the man-cleavage (and buys Sookie’s house). Eric (Alexander Skarsgard) wears a deep v-neck like no other vampire we know. While Sookie was away, he contends that he’s the only one who never gave up hope of her returning. It’s a winning argument with Bill canoodling with the interns and Jason having sold Sookie’s home. Of course, Eric knows how to strategize. Didn’t he bide his time plotting Russell Edgington’s (Denis O'Hare) downfall for more than 1,000 years? Sookie’s one-year absence is nothing. We soon learn that his plan to buy her house was tied closely to his plan to make Sookie his property, as well.
4. Lafayette has a gnarly mohawk (and starts hanging with witches). Now that they’ve been together for a year, Jesus (Kevin Alejandro) thinks it’s time Lafayette (Nelsan Ellis) explores his magical side. Enter Marnie (Harry Potter’s Fiona Shaw) whose creepy facial expressions, “I give up” wardrobe, and mental instability qualifies her to lead the town’s witch coven. With Lafayette’s magical mojo, Marnie and the group revive a dead bird for a few seconds, which apparently is about as far as Bill will let them get.
5. Tara found a use for her muscles. All this time Tara (Rutina Wesley) has been wasting those guns wiping away tears. Season 4’s Tara has found a better use for her muscles. She has started a new life in which she’s a cage fighter and has a new name, a new history, and a new hot… girlfriend!
6. Jessica and Hoyt argue like an old married couple. And isn’t it sweet? Really, it is. The only problem is Jessica (Deborah Ann Woll) is a hot, young vampire with needs. And if Hoyt (Jim Parrack) doesn’t fulfill them at home, that ginger may just make a visit to Fangtasia without him.
7. Vampire-Human relations blow. After Russell’s evening news killing, the American Vampire League has found their mainstreaming efforts are in trouble. So, Nan (Jessica Tuck) has dispatched Bill and Eric to do some damage control. They both handle it with ease, but apparently not much has changed with Pam (Kristin Bauer). Thankfully for us, she still doesn’t play well with others.
8. The Bellfleurs are taking the town by storm. It seems that Andy (Chris Bauer) is barely holding himself together as he has become heavily addicted to V. Jason takes care of him, but, we’re sure he’s possibly keeping Andy’s secret to keep himself in the uniform, as well. Meanwhile, Andy’s sister, Portia (Courtney Ford), is a powerful attorney and the head of the Chamber of Commerce. Did we mention she seems chummy with Bill?
9. A shapeshifter support group has formed. Sam (Sam Trammell) has discovered a whole group of other shapeshifters. They talk, they relate, they turn into horses and run willy-nilly through the forest. The only problem is there’s one shapeshifter who’s apparently not invited. Sam is still on the outs with his brother Tommy (Marshall Allman) after taking a gun shot at him last season. Strangely enough, Hoyt’s mother has taken Tommy in. We’ll see how much longer that lasts.
10. Arlene’s baby is a cute little demon. Terry (Todd Lowe) is raising Arlene’s (Carrie Preston) baby with her, but she can’t seem to get over that his real daddy was a serial killer. And while the baby is the apple of Terry’s eye, we have a feeling Arlene may be right. A mother always knows.