Emmys 2013: the VFX contenders

The visual effects Emmys range across two categories – Outstanding Special Visual Effects and Outstanding Special Visual Effects in a supporting role. We take a look at just some of the TV shows from the past year that might be contenders for a VFX Emmy in 2013 – with exclusive visual effects breakdown reels.

Spartacus: War of the Damned

The third and final season of Starz’ Spartacus made use of almost 100% greenscreen sets, with digital environment, crowds and combat effects. Visual effects supervisor Charlie McClellan and VFX art director Peter Baustaedter narrate this breakdown reel from the show’s final battle. And check out our previous article on the work.

Spartacus. Clip copyright Starz LLC 2013.


The Fox series includes visual effects supervised by Jay Worth. Here’s a breakdown reel that highlights work from the episode ‘Black Blotter’, in which Walter takes some LSD, has a fairy companion for the episode and experiences a Monty Python-esque vision.



Season 1 of the NBC series Hannibal features visual effects from Rocket Science VFX. Here’s a reel of their work for the show.


The Men Who Built America

Brainstorm Digital works its environment magic for this History Channel mini-series. See the reel below and also listen to our fxpodcast with Brainstorm’s visual effects supervisor Eran Dinur.

The Men Who Built America.

Game of Thrones, Season 3

A winner in 2012, HBO’s Game of Thrones sets the standard for both well-integrated environment effects and creature animation. Principal vendor Pixomondo is helped on the show by several others including SPIN, Gradient FX, Entity FX and others. Stay tuned to fxguide for in-depth coverage of Pixomondo’s work for the dragons.

A still from A Game of Thrones.
A still from A Game of Thrones.
Revolution, Pilot

VFX supervisor Jay Worth provided this befores and after reel for NBC’s Revolution (the pilot episode). In it you can see a slew of environment shots being made to tell the story of a worldwide blackout.


Grey’s Anatomy, Season 9

Stargate Studios is behind the seamless effects in ABC’s Grey’s Anatomy. Here’s a behind the scenes reel.

The Walking Dead, Season 3

We covered Stargate’s impressive work for The Walking Dead earlier this year at fxguide. Take a look at their VFX reel for the series.

Killing Lincoln

National Geographic Channel’s Killing Lincoln is another show hosting Stargate’s invisible effects work. You can see a reel below.

Killing Lincoln.


Cineplex’s new TV series Banshee contained visual effects by Encore VFX, including for the street scene below but also various other shots in the show. See our coverage at fxguide.

Original plate.
Original plate.
Final shot.
Final shot.
The Bible

Lola created the visual effects for The History Channel’s The Bible – a huge success when it aired this year. Read our coverage on the story and check out the making of below.

Watch Lola’s VFX breakdowns for The Bible.

Breakdown of a shot from Falling Skies.
Breakdown of a shot from Falling Skies.
Falling Skies

TNT’s Falling Skies has an impressive mix of practical and digital VFX work by MastersFX and Zoic Studios bringing to life various aliens and environments.

Other shows

Of course, so many shows include visual effects that can be front-and-center or of the seamless invisible effects kind.

Shows that may be possible contenders include Vikings, The Borgias, Revolution, Breaking Bad, Grimm and Once Upon A Time.

VFX Emmy nomination voting is being held on June 29th at Dolby Labs in Burbank, CA. The final Primetime Emmy Nominations will then be announced on July 18th.

The Primetime Creative Arts Emmy Awards, where the visual effects winners will be announced, is to be held on September 15th, 2013.

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