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 ambitious project features extensive visual effects (VFX), which were facilitated via Portal, Deluxe's cloud-based proprietary service. Portal simplifies ingest and automates distribution of original camera plates to VFX vendors, dramatically reducing post production turnaround times. 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) for “American Gods.”
Available from a web browser, 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 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.
Comprising eight one-hour episodes, “American Gods” premiered on STARZ April 30, 2017.