A short, behind the scenes piece on the design and VFX work done by Prime Focus to create Mega City One for Dredd 3D. The filmmakers chose to build their fictional city by adding to the existing fabric of Johannesburg. The realism appears grimier, lived in and more tangible as a result.
If I have one reservation about the designs in these digital set extensions, it would be that the blocks are treated purely as forms without reference to their function or environment. Specifically, the floor plates on the blocks are really massive, which would make the cores deep within these buildings oppressively dark in a way that would make Hong Kong’s Chung King Mansion seem generously light and airy in comparison. Even a slum needs light, and the struggle to introduce this light would lead to a different footprint and therefore an alternate form for the towers – time spent studying architecture does have its benefits.
As much as I like the look of these visuals, I would like to have seen the design extended further through the application of some real world constraints.
ITV re-launched Daybreak, their breakfast show at the beginning of September, 2012. With just over ten weeks until launch, I began working with the set designers at BDA to prepare the views for the six plasma screens that would be acting as windows within the new set.
After an early false start along a soon abandoned tangent, we returned to a blurred photograph that had been used successfully in earlier presentations. We recreated the contents of the photograph in 3D and expanded upon the scene it suggested. The photographic reference was only big enough to fill a single window panel and so we had to extend the courtyard scene in order for it to fit the three screen window arrangement at the centre of the set design.
As the designs evolved, more modern versions of the courtyard were developed. The materials and colour palettes were retained but the forms and planting became more ordered and we began to focus on the composition of shapes within the blurred end product.
Continued development of the design led to increased amounts of detail and decreasing amounts of sky.
In the final version of the design, the scene is heavily colour corrected to compensate for the blue/cyan bias of the plasma screens.
Client: ITV Daytime
Set Design and Art Direction: BDA
Scenery Construction: Scott Fleary
Buried in the background of the new studio for TV2 News in Bergen you will find the backdrop environment that I designed and prepared over the summer of 2012.
The brief required black and white imagery to work with coloured front lighting. In order to achieve the best visual results, I worked on producing a design that would allow broad tonal range but with sufficient contrast to work well with the front lighting effects. The main lower portion of the scene is printed, but for the upper portion I prepared artwork for virtual lightboxes that are incorporated into a virtual set extension to be managed by VizRT.
As on other recent designs, I have made use of forced perspective techniques.
Images of the finished set can be found on the TV2 website