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Keith Shanks completes “Game of Thrones” run with ChamSys

Keith Shanks completes “Game of Thrones” run with ChamSys
Keith Shanks completes “Game of Thrones” run with ChamSys

A visit to the Harland and Wolf Shipyard on Queen’s Island, Belfast, a shipyard-turned-studio, with a gaffer friend in early 2011 plunged Keith “Shanksy” Shanks into the fantastical world of Westeros and Essos as the lighting programmer for “Game of Thrones” throughout its entire eight-season run. With him all the way, on every one of the 73 episodes (plus the pilot), has been a series of ChamSys consoles.


Shanks selected a MagicQ MQ200 with a Playback Wing for the pilot show. He soon added a second MQ200 to his setup, followed by an MQ500 Stadium. By the time “Game of Thrones” reached its eighth season, he had four MagicQ MQ500 Stadiums and two MQ200s with Playback Wings at his disposal.


The increasing number of consoles reflected the growing complexity of the “Game of Thrones” set lighting, which went from 14 universes to 19, as it moved from extremely high levels of illumination to more subtle and natural ones. More consoles were also needed to accommodate the variety of different sets used in the series.


During the last season, Shanks positioned the consoles at different locations throughout the Harland and Wolf facility (now the largest film studio in Europe). “We had six consoles here, one of which was in a van for when we shot at remote locations,” he says.


“Our production schedule was so sharp that we had to have everything ready to go at every set, as well as the van, at a moment’s notice. Every console has a full system built into it, so we could move from one to the other with no hiccups. We also did a lot of pre viz using WYSIWYG, especially the 3D version.”


(Photos: Helen Sloan/Getty Images)



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