LOS ANGELES — MPC (moving-picture.com), which has collaborated with FX on content for the shows Atlanta, Snowfall and
Legion, recently teamed up with the network to create a teaser campaign leading up the launch of
American Horror Story: Apocalypse.
“Our relationship with them is one-of-a-kind,” says Robert Owens, managing director of MPC LA. “We work as one creative team helping them make their unique and imaginative concepts a reality. Each campaign is like a small movie. The team works collaboratively to find the most original approach to each idea.”
“Robert and MPC are exquisite,” adds Stephanie Gibbons, president marketing, creative, and digital media for FX Networks. “They are with us every step of the way, from shoot through finish. We are tied at the hip and rely on their visionary VFX expertise to elevate every concept.”
The most recent collaboration between MPC and FX Networks is on the broadcast and social campaign for the latest season of FX’s popular anthology series, American Horror Story: Apocalypse. MPC handled the VFX for nine abstract teasers that are set in a futuristic post-apocalyptic world. Each teaser is a unique, standalone filmic piece. The MPC team made the supernatural sequences look as photoreal as possible, with many of the teasers requiring complex visual effects and creative problem solving along the way. Paul Tolton teamed with FX to direct the pieces.
One of the most challenging teasers in terms of effects was Fall Out, which shows a woman’s hair being brushed with a demonic comb as large clumps of hair fall out. What isn’t clear to the viewer is that all of the hair was built in CG to control the fall out.
Morten Vinther, creative director at MPC’s LA studio, describes the process: “The whole campaign, especially Fall Out, really allowed us to flex our creative muscles. We created a full head of hair in CG, which allowed us to play around with different ways as to how the hair fell out from the head as it was being combed. We explored many different approaches, taking the lighting and shadows into consideration to make it look as realistic and disturbing as possible.”
Another teaser, Hush, was also a complex execution. The spot features a baby covered in a red substance, who is given a pacifier by a devil-like hand. This required using both an animatronics baby as well as an actual baby. The animatronics baby with a wet glossy look was used on-set, but it had a limited a range of emotions, so a real baby was filmed for additional facial references. Combining both allowed the team to add realistic emotions to the CG baby, which required extensive match move but ultimately gave the performance needed.
In addition to Hush and Fall Out, the campaign includes Hand to Mouth, Shockwave, Radioactive Mist, Fig, Hand Out, Exhale and Mind Blowing.