VFX,Set Extensions,Animation,CGI,Compositing,Dynamics,Tracking,Debut Season Quantum Leap
VFX,Set Extensions,Animation,CGI,Compositing,Dynamics,Tracking,Debut Season Quantum Leap

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VFX Legion Crafts 100+ FX for 1st Season of ‘Quantum Leap’

VFX,Set Extensions,Animation,CGI,Compositing,Dynamics,Tracking,Debut Season Quantum LeapVFX Legion created over 100 digital effects for the premiere season of NBC Television Network’s new series ‘Quantum Leap,’ creator Donald P. Bellisario’s revival of the ’90s sci-fi cult classic.  Stepping in during pre-production of the first episode, the LA and B.C.-based company created a complex mix of 2D and 3D assets across the first season.

VFX,Set Extensions,Animation,CGI,Compositing,Dynamics,Tracking,Debut Season Quantum Leap ‘Quantum Leap’ picks up 30 years after time-traveler Dr. Beckett (Scott Bakula) stepped into the Quantum Leap Accelerator and disappeared as a new team restarts the project. The story follows lead physicist Dr. Ben Song (Raymond Lee) as he leaps through time and space navigating new challenges.

Co-Founders James David Hattin, Creative Director/VFX Supervisor, and VFX Producer Nate Smalley put together a bespoke group of artists with a range of disciplines. Hattin, based at Legion’s flagship facility in Burbank, headed up the project ensuring that everyone shared a clear creative vision. Working seamlessly as a single unit, the studio’s team in British Columbia and LA created a wide range of shots, compositing multiple digital elements that deliver powerful imagery.

A Diverse Mix of VFX:                           VFX,Set Extensions,Animation,CGI,Compositing,Dynamics,Tracking,Debut Season Quantum Leap

Artists built a variety of complex computer-generated elements from the ground up,
including a 747 jumbo jet, and digitally rendered skies.  The team designed the aircraft’s flight control panel illuminating gages with an animated mix of vivid colors. Undulating runway lights viewed from the cockpit window provide visual cues for the nighttime landing.

VFX,Set Extensions,Animation,CGI,Compositing,Dynamics,Tracking,Debut Season Quantum Leap

Computer-generated shots include a multi-level VFX,Set Extensions,Animation,CGI,Compositing,Dynamics,Tracking,Debut Season Quantum Leapnuclear reactor cooling room, an asylum, high-rise buildings, a turret on a battleship, and a hologram.  Set extensions replace large-scale blue screens with a digitally rendered mountain range, skies, and interior walls; matte paintings projected onto geometry 2.5D extend environments.

VFX,Set Extensions,Animation,CGI,Compositing,Dynamics,Tracking,Debut Season Quantum LeapDynamics augment shots with fluid simulations, rain, thunder, clouds, fire, explosions, smoke, and debris replicating the organic look of real-world forces. Artists digitally deleted rigging, wires, and elements captured by the camera that didn’t fit with the look of specific periods.

 

VFX,Set Extensions,Animation,CGI,Compositing,Dynamics,Tracking,Debut Season Quantum LeapEach episode plays out in disparate locations and points in time, from a frontier town in 1889,  an exorcism in 1938, a psychiatric asylum in 1954, a test site for a nuclear reactor in 1962, a Transglobal Airlines Flight in 1971, and a  battleship in 1989 –  to the Quantum Leap Headquarters in LA in 2051, the ‘far future.’

New effects drive the show’s first journey to the future:

VFX,Set Extensions,Animation,CGI,Compositing,Dynamics,Tracking,Debut Season Quantum Leap

A continuum of the original ‘Quantum Leap’ premise – following time travelers to the past – the show makes its first journey to the ‘far future. Visual storytelling driven by a sequence of new effects works in tandem with the narrative to bring the new scenario to life.

Legion created a series of increasingly complex visual effects for Ben’s seminal leap to the future in the season finale, “Judgment Day.” Minutes after he finds himself amid a nuclear winter at what remains of Quantum Leap’s Headquarters the Accelerator begins trying to pull Ben back to the past.

VFX,Set Extensions,Animation,CGI,Compositing,Dynamics,Tracking,Debut Season Quantum LeapDigital effects visually manifest the increasing strength of the Quantum Leap Accelerator as Ben struggles to resist its force.  Ian Wright, the only member of their team to survive the apocalypse, quickly tries to bring Ben up to speed on three decades leading up to the catastrophic event and what he must do to keep
VFX,Set Extensions,Animation,CGI,Compositing,Dynamics,Tracking,Debut Season Quantum Leap
it from becoming a reality.

VFX,Set Extensions,Animation,CGI,Compositing,Dynamics,Tracking,Debut Season Quantum Leap

Artists began creating the new look of the ‘future’ effects by developing a ‘core’ visual asset, an overall atmosphere that engulfs Ben. Building on it, the team designed a sequence of layered effects visually representing the Accelerator’s force. The digital ripple of
VFX,Set Extensions,Animation,CGI,Compositing,Dynamics,Tracking,Debut Season Quantum Leapmultiple images of Ben increases as the Quantum Leap Accelerator’s pull gets stronger.

“When I first saw the concept art, I had a vision in my head for what it should look like,” says Hattin.  “I started breaking down the Avid footage and creating iterations until it started to
resemble the final look prior to the final jump back to the past. We then worked backwards to build the intensity of the Accelerator’s pull on Ben over the course of two scenes.”

Legion’s 3D supervisor Blake Anderson used the tools in Maya to rapidly develop several moving textures that could be rendered from any angle, and work with a variety of shots.

“We were able to track the motion of Ben and apply the distortion and fractal energy that is part of the base future effect using smart vectors. Roughly match-moved geometry was used to build several fluid simulations in Houdini to create the visible energy of the Accelerator trying to claw Ben back in time,” says Hattin. “Maya-based animated textures helped finish the layering effect and give it the energy it needed visually. Artists digitally cleaned up the scene and delivered a sequence of shots that seamlessly melds the synthetic imagery with the texture and feel of the live-action footage.

Legion, currently working on season two of NBC’s hit series, works closely with the show’s VFX supervisor, Trent Smith to develop the looks of the effects and achieve the showrunner’s vision on tight schedules.

“One of the great things about our experience working on ‘Quantum Leap’ is our relationship with Trent,” says Hattin.  “He’s there through every phase of the production – providing input and feedback – and helping us deliver final shots that exceed expectations.”

Today’s technology – Reimagining the original series: 

State-of-the-art visual effects that evolved over 30 years are the biggest difference between the original  ‘Quantum Leap’ and the revival of the series. Today’s technology alters the look of the new show with vivid imagery giving it a modern aesthetic and changing the approach to the concept.  Immediately understanding where travelers are as they jump to multiple points in time throughout each episode is key to following the storyline. The visuals do all the heavy lifting to achieve quick clarity for viewers.

VFX,Set Extensions,Animation,CGI,Compositing,Dynamics,Tracking,Debut Season Quantum Leap VFX,Set Extensions,Animation,CGI,Compositing,Dynamics,Tracking,Debut Season Quantum Leap

As with all episodic series, deadlines were tight. Focused on optimizing its technical infrastructure, evolving customized workflows, procedures, and protocols unique to the Legion since opened its doors in 2013. The full-service visual effects company consistently meets the demands of high-profile episodic shows – makes revisions and handles additions to the initial workload while allowing time for artists to develop creative options that elevate visual stories beyond expectations.

The mix of tools used to create the visual effects for the show include the Foundry’s Nuke for compositing, Unreal Engine, Autodesk’s Maya for animation, Redshift for rendering, SideFX Houdini for ash, smoke, and fire, Photoshop for matte paintings and adjustments.

The first season of ‘Quantum Leap’ is available for viewing on NBC.com and Peacock Streaming Platform.

For more information about VFX Legion, visit www.vfxlegion.com, or contact us at info@vfxlegion.com, 818.736.5855.

CREDITS: 

Project – ‘Quantum Leap’ / Season 1 (2022-2023)

Category – TV Series

Genre – Science fiction, adventure, drama

 Premiere – September 19, 2022, NBC TV Network and Peacock Streaming Platform

Donald P. Bellisario – creator, writer, executive producer

Steven Lilien, Bryan Wynbrandt – developed by

Martin Gero – executive producer, showrunner

Steven Lilien, Bryan Wynbrandt, Deborah Pratt, Helen Shaver, Dean Georgaris – executive producers

Production Companies:

Universal Content Productions (UCP), Quinn’s House, Universal Television, Dean Georgaris Entertainment 2.0

Trent Smith – series visual effects supervisor

VFX Company/Season 1 – VFX Legion  British Columbia | Los Angeles

James David Hattin – visual effects supervisor: VFX Legion

Nate Smalley – visual effects producer: VFX Legion

Eugen Olsen – digital compositor: VFX Legion

 Joseph Soloway – visual effects coordinator: VFX Legion

Dylan Yastremski – chief technology officer: VFX Legion

Matthew Noren – visual effects production coordinator: VFX Legion

Blake Anderson – cg supervisor: VFX Legion

Nick Guth – digital compositor: VFX Legion

Nolan Conrad – digital compositor: VFX Legion

Ruy Delgado – tracking artist: VFX Legion

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