Behind the Scenes of Power Rangers: VFX Department Podcast Interview

UPDATE, June 30, 2017 (US time): The podcast episode has since been removed from the World Podcast website. Both the direct link and in-post audio are inaccessible. (Thanks to @HurrricaneGold for the heads up)


On June 30th, 2017 (New Zealand time), Pro Video Podcasts, through World Podcasts, released an episode all about Power Rangers and the visual effects that goes into the show we all know and love.

The Pro Video Podcasts was created to allow guests described as “Motion Design experts” to speak with host Blair Walker on all things within the motion design community.  This includes Motion Graphic Design, Editing, Compositing, 3D Animation, 3D Tracking, 3D Generalist, Colour Grading, Photography, Character Animation, and Cinematography. You can check out past episodes of Pro Video Podcasts here.

In the 1 hour and 17 minute episode, host Walker, discusses the “tools, processes, creativity, and workflows” put into each and every episode that Visual Effects Artists on the Power Rangers Productions team, Richard Borg, Carlos Purcell and Dan Short work on since the four years the department at Power Rangers Productions Ltd had been created. Missing from their team on this podcast episode is Dapika Patel. Of the many effects Borg had contributed to the show, he also had a hand in creating the title design for Power Rangers Megaforce.


Listen to the episode at the direct link or below:


A couple of the topics in this interview include:

Removing wires from stunt work (4m46s):

“Our main go to when we set up the department: we were given an option to work with either Adobe Creative Suite–which is what we are actually using, financially became more viable than using…got a background working in Nuke as well–and the Foundry’s Nuke. Cost wise it was more effective for us to work with the Adobe Creative Suite and get the full range of all the product and tools they have available to us. So for wire removal we obviously used After Effects. There are some key tools that we use as a particularly great script from a guy based on AEscripts as a projection set up which just takes out a lot of the work that’s needed to set it up. When in After Effects, I’m sure you’re aware it’s not an easy process necessarily, and not as straight forward as clicking a button, he’s created that button that allows us to actually then project plates with 3D tracking within After Effects. Then marker is another go to that we use exclusively and consistently so it takes about out 70% of the work flow.”

How many shots received during the course of week/show (7m17s):

“We haven’t stopped yet. They just keep coming. It varies. When we first started out, a couple of seasons back, because it was a trial run, we were given, I guess, a small amount of shots to quantify them out. Maybe 20 shots for example which gave us a chance to r&d. We’ve now stepped up to, depending on the episodes and content, you can get anywhere between 50 shots to almost 200 shots. Certainly, some of the bigger episodes we’re getting a sizeable chunk of those coming through.

Favorite effects to work on (12m56s):

“It’s a really cool opportunity to be able to work on some special effects and visuals that a lot of people would kill for to do in their day to day job. Laser beams, man. Kung Fu fight scenes….It’s quite a bit different to working on commercials and that’s something I do enjoy about the job. I mean funny enough talking beams and laser beams, it’s the first time I’ve got use the beam effect in After Effects was on this show and over a period of time I realized that wasn’t really going to work for me even though we made it work. And then Saber (Digital Creative) came out. Thank god for Saber.”

Working on a kid’s show (29m):

“…A dream come true job for all of us because to be able to visualize something that’s really engaging and stimulating. A lot of times the graphics that we’re producing is sitting in the background…I mean the show is for seven year olds you have to embrace your inner child on this one…That’s kind of one of the hard things about the show. Sometimes I forget that it’s a kid show because sometimes you get some footage and it’s like a really cool stunt scene or a fight scene and your natural instinct is to go ‘super badass’ but then the producers are like ‘whoa, whoa, whoa. good show, buddy, good show.’ There is a few times where they’ve come back and said ‘That guy looks a bit like he’s being cut in half. Not so good for the seven year olds’. I think, yeah, they’ve got a thing with, like, fire. It’s a big no-no apparently so we get asked to create flames that aren’t flames.”

There are many good tidbits of information from this interview whether you’re a Power Rangers fan, interested in graphic designing and digital effects, or curious to know the process of creating the effects for the show.

Power Rangers Ninja Steel is currently on a hiatus and will return with new episodes (starting with episode 9) on Saturday, August 12, 2017 at 12pm on Nickelodeon.

In 2018, Power Rangers Super Ninja Steel will air commemorating the 25th season of the franchise with returning cast members making cameos to help celebrate the milestone.