‘The Umbrella Academy’ visual effects supervisor Everett Burrell on pulling off ‘our biggest season to date’ [Exclusive Video Interview]

“It was our biggest season to date in terms of VFX for sure, both in shot count and our budget,” says “The Umbrella Academy” visual effects supervisor Everett Burrell about the third season of the superhero series. “You know, it ballooned pretty high to really accommodate the creative needs of season three. I mean, massive amount of visual effects.” Watch our exclusive video interview with Burrell above.

“The Umbrella Academy” follows the title dysfunctional family of heroes as they, season after season, try to avert the apocalypse. In season three that apocalypse takes the form of the kugelblitz, a fiery ball of energy that threatens to destroy all matter in the universe, the result of a temporal paradox caused by some careless time travel — don’t you hate it when that happens?

To create the floating kugelblitz, Burrell and his team “started with zero-G footage of the space shuttle where the astronauts would squirt water out in zero-G and understand that kind of blobby, weird zero-G mass,” and from there “we got into different forms like lava and heat and internal mechanisms of planets and suns … It’s like a little baby sun in the basement.”

Burrell has been Emmy-nominated for both of the show’s first two seasons, and he’s aiming for a third in the category of Best Special Visual Effects in a Single Episode. “Umbrella Academy” is submitting the sixth episode of the season, titled “Marigold”: “That’s with Pogo and the fight at the drive-in between Viktor and Harlan and all these amazing effects. One of our biggest episodes for sure.”

Pogo, a hyper-intelligent chimpanzee, is a CGI creation who exists in seasons three’s alternate timeline as a jaded biker and tattoo artist: “The biker Pogo was the most fun because we went through a lot of great reference. Everything from the Hell’s Angels to ‘Sons of Anarchy’ … They had to add muscle, like he’s been working out in the backyard, so it was a lot of fun. [Visual effects company] Weta did an amazing job on revising him for 306.”

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