Marc Kolbe Q&A: ‘Stranger Things’ visual effects
When asked during our recent webcam chat (watch the exclusive video above) about the success of “Stranger Things,” visual effects supervisor Marc Kolbe attributes it to audiences wanting, “something that was based in the ’80s,” that was also, “different and new and exciting.” The show is unique in that it both harkens back to ’80s classics such as “E.T.” and “The Thing” while at the same time using modern filmmaking techniques. Kolbe’s work, therefore, was a mix of in-camera effects with CGI.
Of those choices Kolbe says, “”We went through a lot of the old school techniques of doing as much as we could practically.” He explains that even included having a guy in a rubber suit for some shots of the monster: “Obviously, to do a lot of that work takes time,” he adds, “and when you’re doing television shows, that’s one thing you never have enough of. We were doing as much as we could practically, and then we’d enhance digitally.”
Created by Matt and Ross Duffer (credited as the Duffer Brothers), this Netflix original series centers on a group of children in a small Indiana town in the 1980s investigating the mysterious disappearance of their friend. The sci-fi/horror show won the PGA award for Best Drama Series and the SAG Ensemble prize for its large cast, which includes Millie Bobby Brown, Winona Ryder, David Harbour, Matthew Modine, and Finn Wolfhard.
Kolbe is a longtime VFX artist, working on such films as “Independence Day,” “Deep Blue Sea,” “The Nutty Professor II: The Klumps,” “Where the Wild Things Are,” “Cloud Atlas,” and “Jupiter Ascending.” He was on the committee for the Visual Effects Society when they started handing out awards in 2002 and reaped his first nomination for Best Visual Effects in a Photoreal Episode for “Stranger Things.” Are the Emmys next? Check out our full interview above for more on his work.