FX Designer Breaks Down The Museum Scene In The Last Of Us

A production designer with The Last Of Us on HBO has outlined how a particular sequence from Episode 2 – set within the Boston museum, was created from the ground-up with “about 80 to 100% practical” effects. “In episode 2, we have a sequence where Ellie, Joel, and Tess enter a Bostonian museum set,” Barry Gower told Vanity Fair (from a story by ComicBook). 

“And as they come through the doorway they’re met with a plethora of cordyceps and fungus and mushrooms, and eventually get to a staircase, which all our cast walk up through all these kinds of decomposing infected bodies, which have become part of the environment.”

“To do that, we worked, again, with John [Paino, production designer] and the art departments and visual effects as well, to decide what we would need to create practically, and what would necessarily be extended digitally to go up the walls and ceilings. And actually what we ended up filming was pretty much pretty close to about 80 to 100% practical that our team created,” Gower added. 

The extensive use of practical effects in the series has been likened, in Gower’s words, to “vinyl” since it has led to an increase in productions employing practical effects over CGI. Gower defined the change as a “retro effect.”

The production designer said they were “very fortunate” in being asked “to work very heavily with visual effects and we’ve been asked to provide as much as we can in camera.”

The original voice actors for the clickers reprised their roles in the HBO series, so those bone-chilling sounds you heard during the museum scene were the same sounds from the video game, lending another layer of authenticity to the adaptation. 

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