Blackmagic Design today announced that Poldark, the new hit television drama by production company Mammoth Screen features visual effects production by Lexhag Ltd, including lavish set extensions and 3D matte painting, which were composted in Fusion Studio 7.
The eight part series, based on Winston Graham’s first two Poldark novels, was adapted by Debbie Horsfield and directed by Edward Bazalgette and Will McGregor. Visual Effects (VFX) for the series were supervised by Alexis Haggar who was involved in the series from pre production, working closely alongside series production designer Catrin Meredydd as well as the two block directors and both block directors of photography.
Establishing an 18th century mining world was an extensive task. All of the exterior mine shots were filmed on location in Cornwall, England, in and around the remaining mines that still stand today reveals Alexis. Lexhag had one major reference image for the Grambler mine build from the turn of the century, which provided an insight into how the working mine would have looked. Using a digital scan of the location, Alexis and his team were able to build, position and light structures in both 3D and Fusion.
“All of the major set extensions were started with a LiDAR scan,” explains Haggar. “For Wheal Leisure – Ross Poldark’s mine – the art department built the lower area’s around an existing mine on the Cornish coast and we took over for the higher elements, such as the roof structure and windows. Grambler, the large mine set into the hillside, was a combination of digital matte painting and 3D elements all composited in Fusion.”
CG Supervisor Ken Turner adds: “All the 3D elements were rendered as .exr files and brought into Fusion to relight and grade. The Exr files handle multiple light passes, and masks for all of the separate elements, which gives you a lot of control for interactive adjustments in Fusion. Once the still frame was close to the finished article, I then took it into photoshop for a final paint, breaking up the clean CG edges with grime and rock before taking it back into fusion where I added people, smoke, grain, lens aberrations and lots of little tweaks to make the still matte painting come to life.”
Haggar concludes: “Fusion is fast and flexible. It has a great 3D workspace, which is where more of our composting happens these days meaning we can solve a lot more of our problems in 3D space. Speed is the key for us. Keeping your creativity alive while compositing has always been a challenge. Waiting for elements to render or playback was always frustrating. Fusion provides the best of both worlds, fast compositing or high accuracy "pixel pushing" for absolute perfection.”
Poldark is currently airing on BBC One, and is set for transmission in the United States and Australia later in 2015.
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Blackmagic Design creates the world’s highest quality video editing products, digital film cameras, color correctors, video converters, video monitoring, routers, live production switchers, disk recorders, waveform monitors and real time film scanners for the feature film, post production and television broadcast industries. Blackmagic Design’s DeckLink capture cards launched a revolution in quality and affordability in post production, while the company’s Emmy™ award winning DaVinci color correction products have dominated the television and film industry since 1984. Blackmagic Design continues ground breaking innovations including 6G-SDI and 12G-SDI products and stereoscopic 3D and Ultra HD workflows. Founded by world leading post production editors and engineers, Blackmagic Design has offices in the USA, UK, Japan, Singapore and Australia. For more information, please go to www.blackmagicdesign.com.