Season 4 of Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. was arguably the biggest in the series, as demonstrated by a new VFX reel that shows Ghost Rider and Framework brought to life. While the season’s visual effects were extensive and certainly impressive, season 4 had more to offer viewers than just CGI augmentations that made Gabriel Luna’s iteration of the Spirit of Vengeance a possibility. With three distinct story arcs unfolding throughout the 22-episode run, the series explored the mystical side of the MCU before Doctor Strange hit theaters, and then ventured into a massive virtual construct known as the Framework wherein the agents battled against a sentient AI known as Aida. The result meant a lot of postproduction was involved in order to pull it all off.
This particular VFX reel is comprised of the work done by CoSA, visual effects studio that’s worked on a number of genre TV shows, like Gotham, Westworld, Person of Interest and Stranger Things. The studio even handled work for Guardians of the Galaxy.
As is usually the case with these reels, the before and after is rather remarkable. Though it doesn’t do the usual green screen shot that then wipes over to show all the digital effects that were brought in, CoSA’s efforts seem to be in bringing subtle enhancements to already filmed footage and/or generating massive cityscapes to bring the worlds of these television series to life. Perhaps most interesting is how seamlessly the studio integrates the requisite effects, producing an image that might only be thought of as a digital effect when seen in reels like the one above.
Case in point, the shot showing the inner workings of an artificial life form looks as though it could have been a practical effect. On the other hand, the studio’s work makes good on presenting an array of spectacular visual effects that serve to bring the sort of elements native to comic books to life in a convincing manner. Perhaps the most impressive – and perhaps challenging – element the studio was tasked with creating was a credible version of Ghost Rider, especially since the character was transitioning from the big screen to television.
As CoSA demonstrated the studio was able to add flames to Robbie Reyes’s haunted muscle car, and make his mystical chain-induced portal creation a perfect reproduction of a sling ring seen in Doctor Strange. In all, it seems like Ghost Rider wouldn’t have been the success he was if not for the digital artistry of CoSA.
Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. returns for season 5 in 2018 on ABC.