Lawson Deming (‘Ted Lasso’ VFX supervisor): ‘We built not only the crowd but the stadium around them’ [EXCLUSIVE VIDEO INTERVIEW]

“Comedy doesn’t have to be completely cynical,” reflects visual effect supervisor Lawson Deming about “Ted Lasso.” For our recent Gold Derby exclusive video interview, he continues, “When it hit there were feelings and fears people had in the world. Having something that was inspirational, uplifting and earnest was the right way to do it.”

In “Ted Lasso” for Apple TV+, the optimistic Ted (Jason Sudeikis) adapts to the rules of soccer and English culture in his new job as coach of an English Premiere League Football club. Deming reveals for the big football matches “they were just playing in a practice field. They weren’t even playing to an empty stadium; they were playing to no stadium. We built not only the crowd but the stadium around them. They had production lights in the shot. Particularly when it was raining those lights were glaring into the lens. We would actually move the lights around in the stadium so it looked like the real lens reflection was coming from the stadium.”

The effects supervisor explains, “For the game play scenes there were some very complex handheld shots and some very low steady-cam moves. What I was really proud of is that we didn’t make any sort of game play or camera motion off limits. We just let them shoot as if we were in a real space.”

Deming says, “I enjoy invisible visual effects a lot. Sometimes the biggest compliment is people not reacting at all because they don’t realize anything was done in visual effects. Part of what made ‘Ted Lasso’ effective, in not feeling like visual effects, is the matter of fact-ness in how it’s presented. And the qualities of the show. It wasn’t out there trying to impress people. I’m ecstatic when people think there weren’t any visual effects. That’s really what you want on a show like that. You’ve done something wring if people are noticing it.”

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