‘TITANIC BLOOD AND STEEL’ TURNS TO WINDMILL LANE VFX TO REBUILD THE TITANIC
Windmill Lane VFX has recently been commissioned to produce 100% of the Visual effects for the major international TV drama ‘Titanic Blood and Steel’. The twelve part drama series is directed by award winning Director Ciaran Donnelly (The Tudors, Camelot) and boasts a star studded cast including Kevin Zegers (Gossip Girl) Alessandra Mastronardi (La Bestia nel Cuore, Romanzo Criminale), Derek Jacobi (The Borgias, The King’s Speech), Chris Noth (Sex and the City), and Liam Cunningham (The Wind that Shakes the Barley, The Guard). The show is produced by Italian De Angelis Group, DAP (Aurelio Zen, A Life on the Run) with Italian State Broadcaster RAI in partnership with Irish Producer Paul Myler (In America, Laws of Attraction) and Irish based Epos films.
For this period drama the Windmill Visual effects team have the brief to recreate the Belfast ship yards and the building of the Titanic from the laying of its keel to the launch of the ship into Belfast Lough. Visual Effects supervisor, Julian Parry (Camelot, The Marine), says ‘All the references for creating the Belfast shipyards already exist in the extensive photographic archive dating back to the early nineteen hundreds and my job, with the Windmill team, is to recreate each stage of the Titanic’s construction together with all the cranes, gantries, and construction elements that no longer exist today but must be brought back to life and integrated into the drama as if they were here today.’
The Windmill VFX team is led by supervisor Ciaran Crowley (Inception. Dark Knight), working with head of 3D Ditch Doy (Casino Royale, The Imaginarium of Dr Parnassus), head of R&D Roy Stelzer and VFX Producer Katrin Arndt (Baz Luhrmann’s Australia). The Titanic, through 9 stages of construction and the massive Titanic Gantry that in its day dominated the Belfast skyline together with all the other period detail and building activity as it was in the early nineteen hundreds, is being recreated by the VFX team by use of 3D modeling, animation, matte painting and compositing. The Director’s vision is that the audience is aware of the building of the Titanic as the backdrop to the human drama and so, whenever we see the skyline or we are in the shipyards or the quayside that the visual effects ensure that these powerful images fit into the drama scenes. ‘We have to create some challenging crowd scenes but mostly our job, as artists, is to combine the dramatic CGI models and live action shots, many with extensive green screen set extensions, seamlessly and with the natural realism that we see in the early photographic references” says Windmill Visual Effects Supervisor Ciaran Crowley.
To achieve this Windmill Lane VFX has recently relocated to a dedicated facility near Merrion Square in Dublin’s city centre. ‘‘We have upwards of 25 Maya and Nuke workstations for this project working off a dedicated pipeline using the very latest in network rendering and compositing technology.” says Technical supervisor Bernie Doyle.
Additionally all picture post production work for the series is currently taking place in Windmill Lane Pictures on Herbert Street. The editorial team is led by Stephen O’Connell (Camelot, The Pipe) and includes Windmill’s editor Philip Cullen (Proof) and assistant editors Niamh Burke-Kennedy and Stephen Kidney. The series is filmed on the Arri Alexa and extensive colour grade tests and references have been supervised by DOP James Welland (Spooks) working with Windmill colourist, Dave Hughes (Albert Nobbs, Perrier’s Bounty). The whole project will be completed in Windmill Lane in 2012.