Television viewers may not always notice Mark Kolpack's work, but it's there. Kolpack is the new visual effects supervisor at Eden FX. The position involves designing effect shots that match the directors' vision and make sure those shots fit the tone of the show.
Most recently, Kolpack worked on the television show "Heroes," which was nominated for an Emmy for best special visual effects for a one-hour show. On "Heroes" Kolpack adopted the philosophy that the shots should be based on the character. He tried to avoid making the show look like a comic book.
"I didn't want to have the show go 'Hey look at me I'm a visual effect,'" Kolpack said. "But someone with nuclear hands isn't going to look real."
Other shows Kolpack has worked on include "One Tree Hill," "Thief" and "Commander in Chief."
He felt it was time to leave "Heroes" after differences with his previous employer. He signed on at Eden FX because he felt it was a more artist-driven company. Eden FX is bidding on a number of new pilots.
"I would've loved to do another season of 'Heroes' but it didn't work out," Kolpack said.
In the mid-'90s he and colleague Peter Murray also launched a company called Perfx They had built a strong client base after freelancing. But the venture was killed by the 1998 strike by the Writers Guild of America. "Most of the work went to Canada and the whole paradigm of the industry changed."
In his new position, he has been practicing a new effects technique called "immersive background." It allows actors to stay on the lot rather than shoot at distant locations. The technique allows directors to film with less set construction.
Kolpack got his start in the film industry as an assistant editor, working on "movies of the week." He feels this background has allowed him to better communicate with directors and was more useful than his degree in film studies from California State University, Northridge.
"Film school is an interesting place. You get just a basic understanding of the process but it still produces huge egos," said Kolpack. "College is a wonderful place but my real education began as an apprentice film editor."
In his free time Kolpack enjoys spending time with his wife, Dina, and three children.
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