Stranger Things has dominated the pop culture sphere this summer as the series returned to Netflix after a three-year hiatus between Seasons 3 and 4. With this epic fourth season, the show took its show to new heights with longer episodes, more intense horror sequences, and stunning visual effects as we began to learn more about the Upside Down's origins, there's one thing that has stuck on everyone's mind since Volume 1 was released at the end of May.
Julien Hery, who worked with Collider's Samantha Coley, explained how Rodeo FX enhanced Vecna's mind lair and built a ton of the scene's visual effects around Sadie Sink's remarkable performance. The scene is essentially broken down into two parts: the first where she puts Max (Jamie Campbell Bower) on the island and the second where she wounds him and runs back to the safety of her friends. "Everything is a blue screen," said
Stranger Things' visual effects teams are tasked with producing massive landscapes that span the whole screen, as well as small intimate details in close-up shots. Hery praised Sink's performance in both sections of the scene as he explained how they created the curvy vines that Vecna traps her in his cave:
"It's quite impressive. It's all CG vines. There was no placeholder. I think there were a couple of scenes where she had a placeholder on her wrist to help her act the way she was [restrained." We were relying heavily on what she was doing on the day. Every time she was feeling unwell or suffocating, we added the vines to her neck to make sure it was right.
The monstrous villain attempts to intervene by crushing Vecna with the debris within the Upside Down. "We had a sense from the actress' performance that we need to have debris on the right, on the left," she said, and we had a bit of a visual representation. Does it evoke fear that you can sense when you are chased like that?"
Hery explained how all of those moving pieces came together:
"We did a body match move of performance," says the actress. When we simulate things exploding, they can collide, and pieces can collide on her body. Then, when she's running or so, we can have the blood that we create in CG. The blood can collide on her, and even the smoke that we've added on the ground can collide with her footstep. We still preserve her performance, but we have a, let's say, digital double that we only use to
Stranger Things Season 4 is now available on Netflix, and be sure to check out our entire interview with Hery at Collider down below.
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