“Hardhome” was a centerpiece of Game of Thrones – Season 5. Several seasons of ominous warnings finally paid off in a thrilling battle sequence that was one of the show’s best, thanks to its grand scale and attention to detail. And a lot of that credit goes to the people who render the snowy backdrops that replace those greenscreens, or who erase the wires holding up the props and actors, or who adjust the lighting to give the scene that chilly, hopeless feel.
It goes without saying that creatures like the giants are created with the aid of a computer, but it’s more surprising to see how much polishing goes into more mundane visuals, too. Not to mention how many stunning vistas are created seemingly out of nothing. Those wights sure look a lot less intimidating when you can see how much of them is actually covered in neon Spandex. As of now, there’s no word yet on what’s in store for our heroes in Season 6. (For that matter, we don’t even know which of our heroes are still alive in Season 6. So many theories!) But it’s worth pointing out that the show has hired back Miguel Sapochnik, who directed “Hardhome,” to helm episode 9, traditionally the climax of each season. Odds are we’re in for another massive, VFX-heavy setpiece.
The spectacular Game of Thrones ‘Hardhome’ battle scene with white walkers, zombie-like wights and wildings is pretty VFX-heavy, judging by a new video from effects house El Ranchito. Highlights include Jon Snow slashing a walker into shards of crystal, battle scenes with the giant Wun Wun, and wights — so manyhordes of wights. Despite having TV’s highest budget, the show doesn’t rely overly on digital effects, using them sparingly on gore and dragons, we imagine. However, Snow actor Kit Harrington said that the ‘Hardhome’ battle “is so CGI-heavy it’s unlike anything I’ve ever done on Thrones.”
He added that it was also the most grueling GoT scene ever, taking nearly a month to shoot. For his own fight scenes, he needed to “first go against a man in a (greenscreen) suit, the second with a man (in zombie makeup) and the third time I would just fight alone.” The scene had the biggest budget of any GoT scene, and required about 400 extras and 50 stuntmen. Check the video to see how the VFX artists transformed dull green screen shots into a glorious battle in some seriously crappy-looking weather.