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Burn Notice Special Effects!

Posted by GoreMaster Special Effects on June 5, 2009

BURN NOTICE -- Pictured: (l-r) Sharon Gless as Madeline, Bruce Campbell as Sam, Jeffrey Donovan as Michael Westen, Gabrielle Anwar as Fiona -- USA Network Photo: Glenn Watson

BURN NOTICE -- Pictured: (l-r) Sharon Gless as Madeline, Bruce Campbell as Sam, Jeffrey Donovan as Michael Westen, Gabrielle Anwar as Fiona -- USA Network Photo: Glenn Watson

From TVOvermind.com

   Burn Notice fans, rejoice!  Not only are Jeffrey Donovan, Gabrielle Anwar, Bruce Campbell, and Company back for season three,  but Matt Nix, executive producer, writer, and creator of Burn Notice, and Kevin Harris, special effects coordinator, sat down to dish the details.

   For those of you who don’t know, Burn Notice is the USA Network’s hit series which follows the life of a former CIA agent, Michael Westen, played by the fabulous Jeffrey Donovan.  When you are a spy, you don’t get fired, you get Burned.  Burn Notice follows Michael Westen as he makes his way while in hiding in Miami; helping out people in need, while looking to find out who burned him using the only the basic skills at his disposal:  His wits, his charm, his special ops training, and his friends, Fiona (Anwar) and Sam (Campbell).  Oh, and it just so happens to be one of the greatest shows on television today.  Are you intrigued yet?  It just gets better with Matt Nix and Kevin Harris talking season three

    The special effects on Burn Notice are one of the things that sets it apart in the television landscape, and Matt Nix responds to questions regarding television’s budget versus feature films, saying:

   Yes, really it is very rare that Kevin – I mean really we’ve got such a great team of effects and stunt people that I can’t think of a time that they have come to me and said, “This stunt is too expensive.  We cannot do this stunt.”  Literally, they will say to me, “You are not pushing hard enough.  Come up with something that you really think we can’t do so that we can show you that we can do it.”  Right?  And so it’s just not – budget is not really the issue.

   And really a good example is when Kevin talks about doing intricate gags, that being a lot more difficult than doing big things.  Like we do all the big things.  We do the same things that they would do in a big movie, we’ll do them in more or less the same way, it’s just that we don’t have as many cameras on the stunt, we don’t shoot the green screen shot of the lead as the car is flipping, so that you see that it’s him in the car.  You know, there are certain things that we don’t have time to do.  So it’s kind of the details that end up falling out of stuff because we don’t have time to do it.

  The funny thing is actually like my dream stunt sequence was the raining, flaming cars car chase sequence at the end of season two, which I wrote fully expecting them to come back and say, “We can’t do it.”  And Artie, our stunt coordinator, and Kevin talked to me and the basically had pitches for making it bigger.  And of course I said, “Yes, make it bigger.”  So, honestly, like I’m still trying to push for something that we can’t get, and we just keep writing it and they just keep doing it.  So because of that it’s kind of a difficult question to answer.

  Kevin Harris adds:

   I’m more partial to water-type work, boat work, doing a lot of different types of effects on water and with the boats and stuff; it’s a lot more challenging.  I will say that after doing a couple of seasons of SeaQuest and a Hulk Hogan series called Thunder in Paradise, the thing that really needs to be done when you want to do real deep action is you almost have to run simultaneously.  We have a second unit and a first unit.  And on both of those shows there, pretty much your first year they did all of your walk and talk scenes when your second unit was backing it up with all the action sequences.  And in that case there is my difference as far as time versus money.  There it’s both; you’re going to get double the time, although you’re going to spend double the money.

And I’m confident that Burn Notice is getting to that point.  This season here we’ve done more second unit work than we’ve ever done before.  And when we did the last episode of season two, probably 70-percent of that was done via second unit, and it really meshed in very nicely.  But to do a good – because the studios are not going to give you more than your seven days.  I don’t care what show you’re doing, they are seven-days bound.  So the only way to get more out of it is to run simultaneous units.

  And we live in Florida, our biggest scenery here is the water, and it’s a lot more costly to shoot on the water, but you get a hell of a bang for your buck.

 Learn Special Effects at GoreMaster.com

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