FuseFX was the primary visual effects studio for “Chambers,” handling 475+ shots for the 10-episode first season, spanning four months, with all work completed by the studio’s New York office. This first season of “Chambers” is FuseFX’s eighth collaboration with director Alfonso Gomez-Rejon, its first opportunity to work with Leah Rachel and Jenn Yale, and a continuation of the studio’s relationship with Jason Sperling and Netflix.
“Chambers,” tells the story of a heart transplant survivor Sasha Yazzie (as played by Sivan Alyra Rose) who goes through a strange transformation and begins taking on characteristics of her heart donor Becky Lefevre (as played by Lilliya Reid). As the story unfolds, the visual effects intensify to support the mystery and the many themes in the series. The series also has a few firsts.
“I’m proud to work on a show that features the first native American actress in the lead. The story was so compelling in the way it juxtaposed so many themes – naturalism, spiritualism, classism – and others. These themes created a lot of opportunities to use VFX to help tell the story. The natural world is its own character. One of the most challenging aspects of the show was finding ways of giving life and intention to inanimate objects like houses and dresses. It was very rewarding to bring VFX in to help establish all of these background characters for the people within the story to interact with.” – Brian Kubovcik, FuseFX VFX Supervisor
A show that is dependent on VFX requires deep collaboration between production and the team at FuseFX.
“Working with FuseFX was both a technical and creative collaboration. Bringing to life the strange atmosphere of Arizona and actualizing hidden pockets of the subconscious was both challenging and exhilarating. It required great trust and support to create a never before seen world like the one you’ll see on Chambers.” – Leah Rachel, “Chambers” Show Creator
Some key moments in the series were supported by VFX. For example, the transformation that Sasha endures has a moment where she is faced to face with Becky in a mirror. FuseFX stitched together several different takes between the actresses and employed several optical effects to exaggerate the horror and the narrative that the two characters are beginning to blur together.
FuseFX also created a fully CG fawn that Becky’s grieving mother Nancy (Uma Thurman) has an unusual encounter with while out jogging. The fawn had to exhibit lifelike (perhaps even human-like) emotions for extreme close-ups and have a full-body range of motion and realistic physical movements for full-speed running.
Another crucial aspect of the show is the sense that something dark is following Sasha. The “Shadow Monster” is a creature that was introduced in episode 6 and brought back in episode 8 to help ultimately tell the story of how Becky died. FuseFX knew that it needed to feel scary, imposing and vital, and feel like a subliminal representation of a character to be revealed later. To achieve just the right look and feel, separate CG smoke simulations were used for the base character, surrounding forces, wisps and ‘tentacles,’ and environmental dust interaction.
“One of our favorite moments of the season is a giant dust storm (known to locals as a haboob) swallowing the Lefevre’s mansion in the pilot. It’s both beautiful and frightening, and FuseFX was able to make the storm feel grounded and supernatural all at the same time.” – Leah Rachel, “Chambers” Show Creator
An especially dramatic and memorable scene in Episode 6 brings us the beginning of Sasha and Becky meeting face to face. The chest cavity was a practical prosthetic insert that FuseFX composited onto Becky’s chest; then hundreds of CG mice were added crawling out of it and falling to the floor.
FuseFX also created a fully CG house that was modeled to match to the practical Yazzie House in earlier episodes. The womb-like “Big Empty” space in which this house floats is meant to imply a feeling of being out of control. A plate of Sasha was placed in the front window, banging on the window, helpless and out of control. FuseFX’s house animation needed to reflect those feelings by providing the sense that it was untethered. There are subtle modeling features underneath the house that imply Sasha’s world has been uprooted.
“FuseFX designed amazing visuals for CHAMBERS, as well as cleaned up many a shot. But a favorite moment is when one of our characters experiences a drug trip and FuseFX delivers an enormous spectacle of unadulterated hallucinatory brilliance. We were lucky to have them as creative partners.” Jennifer Yale, “Chambers” Executive Producer/Writer.
“FuseFX was the ideal visual effects studio choice for Chambers because we have the creative vision and proven experience to deliver high-quality work when there are tight deadlines. We pride ourselves on being excellent creative partners who can help deliver on the showrunner’s artistic intent while also bringing our own viewpoint to the table. Chambers Season 1 posed so many creative challenges involving a wide range of effects. From CG modeling to simulations, character animation to a bevy of mixed 2D tasks, FuseFX delivered the high-end work that this exciting new show demands.” – Brian Kubovcik, FuseFX VFX Supervisor
Haunted by eerie visions and sinister impulses after a heart transplant, a teenager tries to unmask the truth behind her donor’s mysterious death.
FuseFX is an award-winning visual effects studio providing visual effects services for episodic television, feature films, commercials, and VR productions. Founded in 2006, the company employs 300+ personnel across three studio locations: our flagship office in Los Angeles, New York City, and Vancouver.