Jay Redd talks ‘For All Mankind’ visual effects: ‘Archival footage, stock footage, full CG shots, our original live action’ [EXCLUSIVE VIDEO INTERVIEW]

“We can do everything now; we can do anything now,” reveals visual effects supervisor Jay Redd in an exclusive interview with Gold Derby about “For All Mankind” (watch the video above). Apple’s drama from showrunner Ronald D. Moore stars Joel Kinnaman as an American astronaut in an alternate history of the late 20th century. “For better or for worse, we get to alter footage,” laughs Redd.

He explains about his work on the two seasons that Apple TV+ has released thus far, “One of the challenges for this show is that we cut between archival footage, stock footage, full CG shots, our original live action and so, what we want to is make sure everything feels like it’s from the same world and that we’re not jostling the viewer around.”

Redd elaborates, “We look at a lot of traditional NASA footage and stock footage/archival footage, but we want to add our own spin to things, which puts us into the environments where these adventures are taking place and to feel immersive. That’s the biggest quality that we try to go for as to not feel like we’re distanced from the experience because the show is really about what-ifs — and about characters — that happen on earth and happen in space and we don’t want to make it feel like it’s so foreign and so weird that you can’t feel immersed.”

With 1600 effects shots in the Emmy-eligible season, “For All Mankind” would normally qualify for the main Best Special Visual Effects category, as opposed to the Supporting one, but the Television Academy is reconfiguring the categories to be Season- and Episode-based. This gave Redd a choice where to submit strategically in the hopes of landing his first Emmy nomination after 26 years in the industry, albeit all in film prior to “For All Mankind.”

He explains about entering the Best Season Visual Effects derby, “It took time to cut a reel together, to be honest. We had, goodness, over 110 minutes of visual effects to cut down to six or eight minutes in a reel. It’s pretty challenging to take it all down into that because, again, I keep focusing on the variety of the work that we had.”

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