<I>The Other Two</I>: VFX Supervisor Michael Caplan
June 8, 2023

The Other Two: VFX Supervisor Michael Caplan

The Other Two is an HBO comedy series created by Chris Kelly and Sarah Schneider. The show follows two floundering millennial siblings who are forced to grapple with their 13-year-old brother's overnight fame. Drew Tarver plays gay aspiring actor Cary, while Heléne Yorke portrays his sister Brooke - a former professional dancer. Molly Shannon plays Pat Dubek, the siblings' Hollywood-ready mother. The series premiered on Comedy Central in 2019, and was renewed for a second and third season on HBO Max.

Michael Caplan served as VFX supervisor on The Other Two and says he was excited to return for Season 3 after having worked on Season 2.

“While the show still called for the usual visual effects faire, like driving composites, screen comps, and general fix-it work, we were thrilled to see that many of the episodes had higher concept, scripted visual effects sequences,” he explains. “We were able to get involved early in the prep process to game plan and execute these sequences to insure the best results. We always prefer and are grateful for this sort of collaboration with the creative and production teams, but it is not always possible in today’s very fast-paced and tightly-budgeted TV productions. Luckily, everyone was on board to setup remote supervision tools, like Q-Take, since Engine Room is in LA and the production was based on New York City. While challenging at times due to logistics, it was still very helpful to be able to participate with the team during the shoot.”

Caplan says he would point to Episode 304 as the most challenging, as it took on a Pleasantville-style for Cary’s storyline.  

“The requirement was to create scenes with varying levels of mixed black & white and color content,” he recalls. “We didn’t want to handcuff the creative team with a green-screen requirement that would limit camera movement and slow down production, so we planned to execute everything using a rotoscoping approach. While this isn’t a technically-difficult process, it is labor intensive and requires a tremendous amount of frame-by-frame detail in order to create the separation between the black & white and color elements.”

The schedule was also a challenge, as the team had only about half the time they would normally get to plan for it.  

“As a result, we teamed up with Pixstone Images in India on the roto. All said and done, between our LA team and Pixstone, we used about 50 artists on 100-plus shots, completed in about four weeks. The other fun aspect to this episode was collaborating with Jaime O’Bradovich, the colorist at Company 3, since a big part of the finishing and overall look was set by him. We provided separate, individual mattes for each shot, with some shots having as many as 15 individual mattes. This allowed Jaime to separate all the different elements of each shot to set different black & white and color looks as necessary. Needless to say, we are very proud of this episode and our work on the entire season. It’s such an amazing show and working with Chris, Sarah and the whole post production team is a real pleasure for us, which makes all the hard work and tight scheduling very much worthwhile and rewarding.”