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Eric Durst & Matt Whelan — VFX Supervisors, “Five Days at Memorial”


Apple TV+ miniseries Five Days at Memorial shines a light on a disturbing true story of a New Orleans hospital flooded during Hurricane Katrina. In this podcast, the show’s VFX supervisors — returning guest Eric Durst and newbie Matt Whelan — reveal how they recreated New Orleans circa 2005 and added invisible effects that would earn the show an Emmy nomination.

Eric and Matt talk about how they worked with the show’s practical team to build versatile sets that would seamlessly integrate with CG, and discuss how Google Earth helped them rebuild and reflood New Orleans. They also give an on-set perspective on how AI is changing the industry.


Eric Durst on IMDb >

Matt Whelan on IMDb >

”Five Days at Memorial” on IMDb >

”Five Days at Memorial” article on befores & afters >


0:03:40 Introducing Matt and catching up with Eric

0:08:44 The return of the mini-series

0:14:20 What "Five Days in Memorial" is about

0:18:42 The series' visual effects requirements

0:24:17 The secrets of seamless water

0:26:32 Rebuilding New Orleans circa 2005

0:31:35 Building invisible effects and Emmy nominations

0:35:00 How Google Earth helped on the show

0:39:10 Making waves and extending helipads

0:44:45 Meeting helicopter heroes 

0:46:35 Eric and Matt's perspectives on AI

0:51:07 Is AI making VFX more simple?

About the author

Christopher Nichols

Chris is a CG industry veteran and Director of Chaos Labs. He can also be heard regularly as the host of the CG Garage podcast which attracts 20,000 weekly listeners. With a background in both VFX and Design, Chris has worked for Gensler, Digital Domain, Imageworks and Method Studios. His credits include Maleficent, Oblivion and Tron: Legacy.

Originally published: August 21, 2023.
© Škoda Design

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