Visual effects breakdown of the wight attack sequence from the Season 4 finale
By Lightbringer on in Production.

Scanline VFX has released a breakdown of the visual effects work they did for Game of Thrones Season 4. This is a good one – the wight attack from the season finale, which we know was touted as quite an expensive sequence that took up to the very last minute to complete. Watch as Scanline brings the wights to life, and then blows them up.

GAME OF THRONES: Scanline VFX Shot Breakdowns Reel from ScanlineVFX on Vimeo.

 

Get a daily update of the site’s latest news, conveniently sent in newsletter form, directly to your inbox. Sign up for WiC Daily.


43 Comments

  1. The watcher
    Posted July 12, 2014 at 10:51 am | Permalink

    Coldhands

  2. RadoLukacs
    Posted July 12, 2014 at 10:53 am | Permalink

    They always do a great job and the CGI on the show is unbelievable, but I still think they should have gone with usual wights for this sequence – in places it looked as though you were playing a GoT videogame and the children of the forest throwing fireballs at the skeletons was a little bit ridiculous for my taste.

  3. jentario
    Posted July 12, 2014 at 10:53 am | Permalink

    I liked this scene but the fireballs were a dumb idea

  4. SkyWrathMage
    Posted July 12, 2014 at 10:55 am | Permalink

    They’re not actually fireballs. That’s stupid.

  5. Tolgeros
    Posted July 12, 2014 at 10:58 am | Permalink

    Should’ve spent less money on this (normal wights would have been both cheaper and more accurate to the story) and more money on the Three Eyed Raven.

  6. jentario
    Posted July 12, 2014 at 11:04 am | Permalink

    SkyWrathMage,

    Well the fact that so many people thought they are is evidence of bad execution. And fire grenades are really stupid too. It just doesn’t make sense. They should have given her fire arrows or something.

  7. jentario
    Posted July 12, 2014 at 11:08 am | Permalink

    Tolgeros,

    Actually I think that scene was rather accurate in comparison with the books (in terms of skeletons coming out of the ground, not fireballs). IMO the skeletons were cool… BUT it would have saved a lot of money that could have been spent, say, on the Three Eyed Raven looking more awesome with roots out of his eye and a bunch of other CGI moments. So I guess this scene wasn’t really a smart idea (as cool as it looked, at least in my opinion).

  8. Alex Dubrovsky
    Posted July 12, 2014 at 11:14 am | Permalink

    This scene is just not cool enough without some nazi zombies:
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qWQ-pc9YDsA

  9. House Mormont
    Posted July 12, 2014 at 11:22 am | Permalink

    I loved the shot of Jojen’s face where you can see the spell arching in the air and coming down towards him

    I wasn’t sure what to think about the skeletal super wights, they were well done but it’s hard for animated bones to look believable when running etc

    The look of the children of the Forest was disappointing though, I was expecting them to be err less human

  10. John
    Posted July 12, 2014 at 11:45 am | Permalink

    Probably their worst CGI scene ever to be honest.

    It just didn’t seem real. And the scene felt out of place in general. Like it didn’t belong in GoT.

  11. Lars
    Posted July 12, 2014 at 11:48 am | Permalink

    jentario:
    SkyWrathMage,

    Well the fact that so many people thought they are is evidence of bad execution. And fire grenades are really stupid too. It just doesn’t make sense. They should have given her fire arrows or something.

    Oh yeah, that would have been SO MUCH better. (Sarcasm, if you can’t tell)

    I liked the sequence. Not perfect (would have preferred more “meat” on them), but certainly well executed from a technical point of view.

  12. meh
    Posted July 12, 2014 at 12:10 pm | Permalink

    A lot of time and money budget that could’ve been spent on things more useful.

  13. EverydayI'mHodoring
    Posted July 12, 2014 at 12:25 pm | Permalink

    Haven’t read the books, but I heard others mention that this particular child can conjure up fire? So I don’t understand why the “fireball” effect is bad. I compare it to Gandalf lighting up the pinecones and throwing them at the Goblins and Wargs.

  14. jentario
    Posted July 12, 2014 at 12:30 pm | Permalink

    Lars,

    When I say fire arrows I mean arrows set on fire, which the show has done a hundred times before (particularly in Blackwater and the Watchers on the Wall) not some magic BS

  15. jentario
    Posted July 12, 2014 at 12:32 pm | Permalink

    EverydayI’mHodoring,

    I don’t remember it in the books but if it was then that’s super lame in the books too. It just doesn’t fit this story IMO.

  16. Lars
    Posted July 12, 2014 at 12:46 pm | Permalink

    jentario:
    Lars,

    When I say fire arrows I mean arrows set on fire, which the show has done a hundred times before (particularly in Blackwater and the Watchers on the Wall) not some magic BS

    Magic? Fire does not mean magic. Combustion, y’know.

    As far as magic BS, you should stop reading the series (or watching the show) if that bothers you. And the “children” did have some interesting magical abilities, something presumably only scratched on the sure face by the novels.

  17. jentario
    Posted July 12, 2014 at 12:54 pm | Permalink

    Lars,

    Okay, I don’t have ANY problem with magic as long as it fits. This story and these books portray a world with minimal magic, and to see a little girl shoot a fireball is just misplaced here. It won’t make me stop watching the show, I am not some monkey man. I like this show for a hell of a lot more reasons than I dislike fireballs. And I’m calling them fireballs cause I just don’t have any better name for them. I assume fire was involved since that’s the wights’ weakness.

  18. jentario
    Posted July 12, 2014 at 12:56 pm | Permalink

    Lars,

    And why I said “magic BS” is because I thought you misunderstood my fire arrows as, literally, arrows made from fire in some spell rather than normal arrows set on fire

  19. LittleFlower
    Posted July 12, 2014 at 1:19 pm | Permalink

    Sixteen posts before one poster tells another poster to stop reading the books and/or watch the show because they disagreed with them.

    On one hand, ugh. On the other, a new record?

  20. Darquemode
    Posted July 12, 2014 at 1:26 pm | Permalink

    First thing I thought of seeing this scene was how cheesy and out of place it was! I thought it belonged in a 1980′s Sinbad movie… Only to later find out it was an homage to the guy that did 1970′s Sinbad movies! XD

    It was simply put the worst choice of the entire series so far to me. Other choices I loathe I can at least understand or appreciate why they were done, but this was little more than a second thought. It was them thinking it would be cool without any internal censor on their part.

    And yes, they did look like fireballs!

    The scene would have felt more realistic and more in sync with the rest of the show if they had given Leaf a torch to fend off the wights like in the book.

    Each time I have watched that scene I laugh at it and get pulled out of the moment!
    Just bad.

  21. chamush
    Posted July 12, 2014 at 1:34 pm | Permalink

    As a fan who has watched and re-watched the show countless times, this scene was the worst, weakest and most ridiculous thing ever happened on GOT! It lowered a great show to the level of a video game for 12 year olds!

    Those fireballs were the lowest of low (you dont like that word? Ok how about Magically Improvised Explosive Flying Objects? MIEFO)

    Just thinking that such scene happened in same episode as Tywin getting killed makes me depressed!

  22. Hodoring Hodor
    Posted July 12, 2014 at 1:38 pm | Permalink

    I thought the whole point was to look out of the place, like it belongs to a different story. Bran’s story has been very typical fantasy story this far which is different from what else is going on and all those running skeletons and little kid throwing fire grenades and kind old man living in a cave under a tree fit that. But I wonder if the differences from the book are an attempt to “whitewash” Bran’s story to make him more relatable to the audience, just like they did to Tyrion’s story. In the show Bran hasn’t been eating human flesh and the children aren’t creepy aliens and Three-Eyed Crow isn’t a grotesque one eyed half-man half-tree but just a regular old man. It makes me think they are cutting those things out (also Coldhands) to make Bran more clear-cut character.

  23. House Mormont
    Posted July 12, 2014 at 1:49 pm | Permalink

    I’ve said it before but no one seems to listen. The Children of the Forest blew up the land bridge between Westeros and Essos, creating the Stepstones. Readers have only glimpsed them twice, so when you say “errrr ma geeeeerd they can’t cast fire magic!!! that is so not asoiaf!!!! Only the dragons and r’hllor priests can do that!!!!!” you’re just spouting conjecture on a subject we barely know anything about and d&d know a lot about

  24. House Mormont
    Posted July 12, 2014 at 1:50 pm | Permalink

    Urgggh my comment got lost again can a mod or admin fix that

  25. Balon01
    Posted July 12, 2014 at 1:50 pm | Permalink

    Awesome effects! Cool action scene!

  26. Darquemode
    Posted July 12, 2014 at 2:28 pm | Permalink

    House Mormont,

    I think it is a bit odd you cite others using conjecture but use conjecture to lay your foundation….

    Though, you are absolutely correct on one thing…
    When discussing Leaf and the Children of the Forrest we do not know much. The only thing we can be sure of is in that scene in the book she used a torch, not projectile fireballs. To say she knew how to use a torch as a defensive weapon is fact. To say she had powers she did not use is theory. Sure it is possible, but why use a torch in a life or death situation if you can throw fire arrows or fire balls?
    *Shrug*

    Oh well, like I have said before… I do not need to like every scene. Others loved it and that’s okay. I still think the series is fabulous. One isolated scene does not ruin a series for me.

  27. jentario
    Posted July 12, 2014 at 2:30 pm | Permalink

    House Mormont,

    As far as we know the land bridge thing is just legend. GRRM likes to do that.

  28. House Mormont
    Posted July 12, 2014 at 3:07 pm | Permalink

    jentario,

    You mean like the legend of the children themselves? Or the legend of the horn of joramund? Or the legend of krakens that grrm confirmed we’d see at some point?

    Sure it’s legend, all the fantasy aspects of this series of this series is legend until they come into the story
    Darquemode,

    Well to be fair, in the books the wights were a lot slower, Leaf could just run around and set them all on fire before they got to Bran. That wouldn’t exactly work here

  29. Matt
    Posted July 12, 2014 at 3:21 pm | Permalink

    Daaaaamn even the explosions were cgi!!!

  30. Lex
    Posted July 12, 2014 at 3:42 pm | Permalink

    Ugh… this whole thing is just unfortunate and uncomfortable.

    It’s clear they spent tons of time and money and energy on creating the scene… and it’s also pretty much unanimous that it sucked. I think nearly every single review I saw of the finale mentioned how they disliked that scene. I felt the same. It took me out of the show, seemed incredibly out of place, and was probably the only real flaw of the finale. Also, the Three-Eyed Raven was just super disappointing.

    I love old Harryhausen films, I love fantasy movies and special effects, and I can enjoy that aspect of the scene (even if the CGI is a little unconvincing)… but it just doesn’t fit the world of Game of Thrones. I know it was originally Alex Graves’ idea (one of several bad ideas he had this year), so I really hope D&D steer away from this kind of thing in the future.

  31. smitzzz
    Posted July 12, 2014 at 6:39 pm | Permalink

    unnecessary action packed Hollywoodesque sequence , it would have been so much better with a bunch of skinny guys made up in good zombie makeup and costumes with maybe minimal cgi to show a skeletal arm here and skeletal leg there , as it was they tried too hard.

  32. EverydayI'mHodoring
    Posted July 12, 2014 at 6:40 pm | Permalink

    House Mormont:
    I’ve said it before but no one seems to listen. The Children of the Forest blew up the land bridge between Westeros and Essos, creating the Stepstones. Readers have only glimpsed them twice, so when you say “errrr ma geeeeerd they can’t cast fire magic!!! that is so not asoiaf!!!! Only the dragons and r’hllor priests can do that!!!!!” you’re just spouting conjecture on a subject we barely know anything about and d&d know a lot about

    times infinity

  33. Greek Pirate Downunder
    Posted July 12, 2014 at 8:45 pm | Permalink

    I agree with keen honest critics about this being the cheesyest, badly executed and cringe worthy scene of the whole series.

    My level of fandom for the books has subsided or faded somewhat since the 3rd book but it hasn’t subsided or faded as rapidly and not nearly as much as the TV series has. But, I am still a fan to this day just not so boyish.

    I am allowed to voice my opinion as I note many others agree with regards to the poor quality of this scene.

    Perhaps instead of hiding behind walls of ice to protect thy EGOs, why not accept and be guided by popular public opinions or at least consider them without taking personal insult?
    Is feedback not acceptable when critical?

    The series overall is still entertaining and I enjoy it of course, but my eyes are not glazed and my mouth does not dribble in hypnotic loving adoration like some. When something happens or doesn’t happen (hint hint) then it’s time for some FEEDBACK!

    I vote it: Worst scene ever for Game of Thrones.

    p.s. WTF happened to LS????? Give them (the fans) what they want to see, I’m sure that’s a famous saying right?

  34. Ignis
    Posted July 12, 2014 at 9:09 pm | Permalink

    Absolutely loved this scene. Very beautifully done, well rendered and animated.

    There are a lot of times when the CG in the series feels a little lacking (the Titan of Braavos and the scene with the shadow of the dragon over King’s Landing for example), but this scene was very high quality. Probably the highest quality fx scene in the series so far.

    When I first saw it I immediately made a connection to the famous skeleton fight scene from Jason and the Argonauts. I’m not sure if that was the intent, but it definitely felt like a slight nod to Ray Harryhausen who died last year.

    As for people complaining about the scene not fitting into the series, keep in mind the series has a very broad range of storylines with many different characters in many different settings and circumstances. Bran’s storyline is one of the more fantastical, and that’s fine. I’m sure there are people complaining about Daenerys and Esos too, but what those people don’t realize is that this series was never only about being a medieval, ‘realistic’ fantasy. The world has always been much larger and much more diverse than that.

    With that in mind the children of the forest are magical. They’re attributed to many magical things in the history. A recurring theme of the series is that, now that winter is coming, the magical elements from the past are starting to creep back into the world (white walkers, dragons, giants, the children, etc). If you understand this then I don’t see what’s to complain about.

  35. Greenjones
    Posted July 12, 2014 at 10:37 pm | Permalink

    Ignis,

    I too liked the scene. I had no problem with the skeletons but I guess I could’ve done without the fireballs. Flaming arrows would’ve sufficed really.

    According to the interviews I saw with Alex Graves and the VFX folks, it was an intentional homage to Harryhausen.

  36. Tatters
    Posted July 13, 2014 at 5:35 am | Permalink

    Greek Pirate Downunder,

    George came up with this scene, read the books again.

  37. ATG
    Posted July 13, 2014 at 9:32 am | Permalink

    Worst CGI scene we’ve had thus far, very disappointing overall.

  38. chamush
    Posted July 13, 2014 at 11:17 am | Permalink

    Greek Pirate Downunder,

    I agree.

    It is official. This scene has by far been the worst thing ever to happen on the show.

    Plus before I go I just wanna pour some more hate on whole Bran’s story line. This was supposed to be Bran’s exciting and pay back part!!! Ugh…
    Just cut the whole damm boring plot! (Kiddin, I know he is gonna warg the shit out of the whole story)

    He should just warg into the iron throne so ppl sit on him. That would be more interesting to watch.

  39. arden
    Posted July 13, 2014 at 4:18 pm | Permalink

    lmao if you think grenades are better than coldhands you are insane

  40. Radnacs
    Posted July 14, 2014 at 12:17 am | Permalink

    WORST SCENE IN THE ENTIRE SERIES. Cheesy, cheep and I cringed all over it.

  41. thisone
    Posted July 14, 2014 at 3:46 pm | Permalink

    The show would have been better without this scene.

  42. chamush
    Posted July 15, 2014 at 12:44 pm | Permalink

    In conclusion, fu*k this scene!

  43. Bri
    Posted July 20, 2014 at 3:53 am | Permalink

    Well, I am glad that so many despise this scene as much as I did. I’m actually still pretty mad at the series after the finale hit. This scene was far from the only reason, but it’s #1 for sure. I felt it ruined the series credibility completely, and is 100% missing the point of how magic is portrayed in asoiaf.

    I’ve been a series apologist for a few years now, but no longer. I’m getting the feeling that D+D are letting this series spiral out of control completely. The fact that it’s the most popular HBO series ever now, actually has me a bit nervous.

    It’s not like I am going to stop watching it, I love it way too much. This season, overall, was still a 8.5/10, but I was giving last year more like a 9.5 out of 10. My list of gripes continues to grow.

    My answer to this is simply to immerse myself in the source material again, as the longer the series goes on, the more watered down and generic it is becoming.

    All of that being said, I am still looking forward to the next 2 seasons, but nowhere NEAR as much as I want the Winds of Winter.

    B


  • Recent Comments

  • Archives

    • 2014 (955)
    • 2013 (679)
    • 2012 (550)
    • 2011 (512)
    • 2010 (309)
    • 2009 (174)
    • 2008 (47)
  •