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VFX Supervision

The Birch

In the Spring of 2019, Adam teamed up with Bent Image Lab and Crypt TV to supervise the visual effects for the Facebook Watch original series The Birch.

Based on the short film of the same name, the series focuses on a dark relationship between a supernatural tree demon and a grieving teenage girl. Showrunner Kate Krantz supervised much of the series' production, with John William Ross and Amy Wang alternating directorial responsibilities for the season's 14 episodes.

Bent Image Lab, CryptTV, Facebook Watch
Adam C. Sager (right) holds a slate and color grid while capturing a series of lighting reference plates.

Having a 10 year history with the hybrid effects/animation studio, Adam was able to hit the ground running with co-supervisor Rob Shaw and the rest of the team at Bent Image Lab. But due to a rushed production schedule, with both production and post spanning a mere 5 months, Adam was required to oversee principle photography and VFX simultaneously. To help aid him in this venture, Adam recruited 2D Supervisor Dan Short to manage the compositing team at Bent while CG Supervisor Ken Kurrass and Lead Technical Director Patrick Coan were recruited to tackle the series' 3D effects.

For the entirety of the series' 9 weeks of production, Adam worked closely with the showrunners, directors, unit production managers and A.D. staff to ensure all the visual effects sequences were efficiently planned and scheduled, and, in some cases, even taking it upon himself to draw up a shot list so the ADs had a roadmap to ensure all necessary elements were recorded. He then closely monitored the production units to ensure the series' plethora of VFX sequences remained within scope and budget. Due to staffing limitations, Adam wrangled all essential camera and lighting data himself as well.

Much to Adam's delight, the series showrunners shared his affinity for practical effects, reuniting him with two special effects wizards in Portland, Christina Kortum and Chris Coleman... who oversaw all the practical magic happening on set.

After wrapping production, Adam spent July, August and September overseeing the VFX work for all 14 episodes at Bent Image Lab, serving as the projects in-house director while keeping in close contact with the showrunners in Los Angeles.

All 14 episodes were delivered on-time and on-budget for the series' online premiere on October 11th. As of the time of the posting, The Birch is the 4th most viewed/popular series in the Facebook Watch library. Adam is hopeful a second season will be awarded for the series in 2020.

Watch season one of The Birch in its entirety on Facebook Watch:


Past works