Were you expecting Stranger Things to become this huge cultural phenomenon?
No! We got onto the show because we'd worked with [creators and directors] the Duffer Brothers on a couple of small jobs. And we expected this to be just another small job to help out with. Even when we were looking at the dailies, and doing the visual effects for it, we imagined that it would be a compelling, but rather quaint love-letter to the 80's creature feature.
We didn't think that it was going to get the kind of incredible resonance that it did, but once we saw the final product, we were just as enamored as everyone else. It was definitely surprising. But much love to the Duffers because they nailed it. They did it exactly as they set out to do, and they killed it.
That leads into our sketch to screen process. We designed early on, and throughout the process the Duffer Brothers wanted to stick to the traditional guy in a suit. They had shot several plates and they came to us and said, "Hey, how do we get this guy in a suit to come through the wall looking really cool?" And what's unique about us, since we'd designed it, the asset was probably 70% done.
They had a rectangle cut out on the wall and "How do you make this work?" And Aaron just made the call, "You know what? We have the asset, let's finish it up and we will do the shot full CGI and present it to them." And they were thinking, "That's exactly the way I want it to look." And from there it went from three or four CG shots to about 175 shots.