Director - Sheree Folkson, Christoph Schrewe, Luke Watson, Metin Huseyin, Susan Tully Writer - Jez Butterworth, Tom Butterworth, James Richardson Producer - Rick McCallum VFX Supervisor - Simon Frame Post Production Producer - David Dewar
VFX Supervisor Simon Frame commissioned the team at Lola to create an epic shot depicting hundreds of Roman ships sailing for Britain at the height of a terrible storm for this eagerly awaited Sky Atlantic series.
The shot was to establish Roman General Aulus (David Morrissey) aboard his flagship galley, glaring stoically towards the English coast as thunder crashes around his head. The camera then pulls back to reveal the extent of his fleet – visible by the flare of on-board brazier fires, and glimpsed fleetingly in its entirety by the intermittent flash of lightning. With only a short blue-screen plate of Aulus’ head to work with, Lola’s Rob Harvey was packed off to Prague with a pre-viz line up on his laptop to shoot a blue screen body double and various soldiers and slaves lashing down the cargo. The 3D team led by Tim Zaccheo set about creating everything else in CG. Roman Galleys, support ships, flapping sails and rigging, crews of men, fires, embers and smoke were modelled, textured, rigged, simulated and rendered in Houdini’s Mantra. The ocean itself was created using Houdini 16’s brand-new ocean tool set. As the series was a 4K delivery, the water simulation had to be split across 5 powerful machines and rendered at two resolutions, one for the close water and one for the wide distant sea – a total of more than 900 frames. At up to 40 hours per frame we had to resort to rendering on the cloud to meet the tight delivery.
The resulting rendered images were combined, and the finishing touches ably applied, by Lola’s 2D team led by Joe Cork in Nuke.
All episodes available from 18 January on Sky Atlantic.