Director Andy Mikita has helmed numerous episodes in the latest season of Stargate Atlantis, including “Search and Rescue,” “The Daedalus Variations,” and “The Shrine.” In a recent interview with Newsarama, Mikita praised the art department for meeting tough challenges and adding veracity to the show.
“It was very difficult for the show’s art department to come up with a set design that would be believable and show that these people are trapped underground, without resorting to using just Styrofoam rubble,” Mikita said in reference to the season premiere. “Ultimately, James Robbins [production designer] and the rest of his art department along with the construction team designed and built a really cool set. It was very effective and I think allowed our story to come across quite well to the audience. Besides the two debris pockets, we also built a debris surface that our rescue teams, led by Colonel Carter [Amanda Tapping], could physically climb up onto and walk around on before eventually locating Sheppard and the others and then begin the process of digging down to extract them.
“So it was a big art department show insofar as those particular scenes, and from a shooting perspective they were also the most interesting component for me. All in all this was a really fun story to work on and a nice way to start the year off, as well.”
“The Shrine” provided another challenge for the Atlantis artists. “The art department put together yet another impressive set for this episode,” Mikita said. “It was basically a shrine inside a cave underneath a waterfall with little window views looking out at the waterfall. We had to re-create that visually with some rear-screen projection and practical components as well. The SFX guys put little pressure washers underneath the set to kick the water back up a bit, and the greens department added moss and lots of other things that interacted with the water to add to the illusion of a waterfall.”
Daniel Jackson (Michael Shanks) visits Atlantis. From “First Contact”
When discussing the upcoming episodes “First Contact” and “The Lost Tribe,” Mikita said that the suits for the new bad guys “are a big deal, and we find out in ‘The Lost Tribe’ who and what are inside them. The suit itself is a pretty neat concept and design. Among the things we did discuss earlier today are the scenes in this episode where Daniel and McKay have to put on these suits in order to go incognito and solve a particular puzzle.
“One of the issues that came up was how do you photograph people wearing these suits that, except for their voices, the audience won’t be able to see who’s inside them. That could be kind of boring just looking at one inanimate suit basically looking at another one.
“So we’re taking a page from the movie Iron Man and thinking about filming really tight close-ups of the actors from an inside-helmet point of view and maybe adding some reflections and layers without getting as complex as they did in Iron Man. So there are lots of little details to think about, but, again, the scripts are fantastic and will be a blast to shoot.”
For the complete interview with Andy Mikita, please visit Newsarama! Stay tuned to GateWorld for continuing coverage of Stargate Atlantis‘s fifth season.
“First Contact” premieres September 26 on the SCI FI Channel in the United States.