LOS ANGELES — Starz’s original series American Gods adapts author Neil Gaiman's novel into a feast of visceral imagery. Developed by Bryan Fuller and Michael Green, and produced by FremantleMedia North America, the project features extensive visual effects, which were facilitated via The Portal, Deluxe's cloud-based proprietary service.
The Portal simplifies ingest and automates distribution of original camera plates to VFX vendors, dramatically reducing post production turnaround times. The Portal was part of overall post production services that included color grading at Company 3, conform at Deluxe's Encore, and dailies via Deluxe Toronto. The series consists of eight one-hour episodes and began airing in late April.
Available from a Web browser, The Portal allows VFX vendors to securely access files instantly once the VFX editor submits EDLs, a capability that is becoming increasingly valuable as VFX for television productions grow increasingly sophisticated and involve multiple VFX companies worldwide.
Familiar with The Portal’s capabilities from using it on a feature film project, American Gods VFX editor Shannon Leigh Olds looked to deploy it on a television series. Deluxe worked with each VFX vendor to establish desired file sizes, formats and color spaces, and secured IP information for delivering materials. Individual profiles were created so that shot selections submitted by the VFX editor automatically would be set to appear in the preferred format for each respective vendor.
In addition to simplifying workflow, Deluxe’s creative and technical expertise enabled the show to achieve its dark and unique ultra-realistic look. Company 3 Colorist Dave Hussey worked closely with executive producer David Slade and the Company 3 color science team to replicate Slade’s vision – complex color references that were essentially unachievable through traditional methods; developing a custom show node that pushed on dynamic range aspects and incorporated variation in texture, grain, sharpness and LUT combinations that Hussey, Slade, and EPs Bryan Fuller and Michael Green then refined.