Why Warehouse 13 Deserves Better Special Effects

Happy Tuesday PaleoPosse! I’ve just got a quick one for you this week.

Have you guys been watching the SyFy channels latest hit, Warehouse 13?

If not, you should be.

Don’t get me wrong…it has it’s fair share of ridiculous silliness… silly little quips that pull you out of the story… BUT NONETHELESS!!! The show is mostly awesome, except for ONE thing…

The special effects… *barf*

The shows’ premise is epic in it’s simplicity: That objects have meaning, given to them by the actions of their owners, and that meaning gives those objects powers.  This idea is beautifully realistic when you think about it… Edison’s first light bulb certainly has a “power” of it’s own, to inspire, to challenge, and even to corrupt people…Darwin’s magnifying glass could be said to be equally inspiring.

The only difference between the “power” that we give to these kinds of objects in real life and Warehouse 13’s interpretation of it is that the objects have a power in-and-of themselves, independent of the person deriving the meaning of the object.

For example:

  • Harriet Tubman’s Thimble – Allows the owner to assume the appearance of anyone he or she chooses. (in reference to Harriet Tubman being “invisible” on the underground railroad”
  • Robin Hood’s Crossbow – Allows the shooter to hit any target at any distance. (reference: obvious)
  • Edgar Allen Poe’s Pen & Notebook – Whatever the user writes in the notebook, comes to life.  (reference: stretched)

This “technique” or “idea” or “motif”, or whatever you want to call it…is almost certainly one of the most common “tropes” in comic books & sci-fi movies, but Warehouse 13 has managed to serialize it, which allows the show to explore the full consequences of the idea.  And I think that’s pretty sweet, and they do it really well.

So, take this cool idea, add very good acting (for SyFy, at least), pretty good writing, and the best ratings SyFy has seen in years, and you’d think that at the very least, the show would have decent special effects, right?  WRONG!

I think I remember someone telling me that SyFy has their own “in-house” special effects team that does all their shows and movies, which makes sense I guess (meh), but they SUCK.

Anywho, that’s my blog post this week.  Happy Tuesday!

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4 Responses to Why Warehouse 13 Deserves Better Special Effects

  1. JayNo Gravatar 29 July, 2010 at 10:18 am #

    What really boggles my mind about Warehouse 13 is that it apparently shares a continuity with Eureka.

    • JacobNo Gravatar 29 July, 2010 at 11:12 am #

      I still haven’t seen the cross-over episode yet, but I guess it kinda makes sense… They both are sort of science-y (see what I did there?) and light-hearted.

      The only thing that bugs me about Warehouse 13 is Mrs. Frederickson. Is she immortal? Is she from a group of immortals? I think that would really screw up the basis of the story.

  2. DylanNo Gravatar 21 April, 2014 at 9:28 pm #

    Honestly, these visual effects are pretty good considering its on a TV budget and deadline. Considering 80% of the show is made of massive Warehouse shots and artefact shenanigans, I would say that the fact Keyframe Digital Productions can achieve this on a TV deadline amazes me.

    For extra insight, check out this video, it’s good.

    – Thanks for reading

  3. CCNo Gravatar 8 January, 2015 at 9:45 pm #

    Dear Original Poster/Blogger,

    I think your spoiled hollywood taste has made you lose track of the complexity and originality that is involved in the visual effects field of production, from concept to creation warehouse 13 goes above and beyond to create very interesting and unique shots for their effects.

    Weather adding a flying cam from warehouse to city, or building entire set out of virtual pieces, the effects team pushes for more every episode, YES ! the effects can look cheesy and sometimes very amateur however what they lack in 3d animation and compositing they make up for with creative and unique ways to add effects into basic establishing shots, scene transitions, and set extensions.

    Now add tight deadlines and significantly less budget then your IRON MAN movie, or Avengers million dollar hit…
    In comparison to most shows that play it safe in the effects department and stick with make and props, these guys go all out and I respect that.

    Example AMC can’t even get blood splatter stock right a 2 second job, so GOOD JOB VFX TEAM on warehouse 13.

    if you want an idea of what is required for cheap effects just look up some tutorials, and I’m not talking drop stalk video files on top of footage and colour correct, Andrew Kramer will give you some insight. look it up.

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