Milk created all the visual effects for the BBC/Hartswood’s Emmy winning and BAFTA-nominated Sherlock special episode: The Abominable Bride.
The hotly anticipated ninety minute episode aired on television and cinemas worldwide on New Year’s Day 2016.
Set in 1895 in Victorian London and the present day, Sherlock and Watson try to crack an unsolved case.
Number of shots: 100
VFX brief & challenges:
DIGITAL MATTE PAINTINGS OF VICTORIAN LONDON –
Milk was briefed to enhance and perfect Victorian London; creating a
digital matte painting street extension of Ludgate, adding additional
people and carriages and a 2D clean to help set the scene and add scope
and scale in Victorian London.
The team were also tasked with transforming present day London
locations Piccadilly and Baker Street to their Victorian period versions –
undertaking a challenging crane shot, a street extension, adding and
removing people and a challenging 2D clean up of an aerial shot to hide
present day road markings.
Said Milk’s JC Deguara, VFX Supervisor: “Show runner Steven Moffat’s
brief was to accurately replicate the busy, chaotic streets of Victorian
London, teeming with people and heavy traffic – carriages and people
dodging between them. We studied old footage of the period for
reference. Mark Gatiss also gave us reference imagery which included a
caricatured illustration of Ludgate Hill to show the mood and feel they
wanted to achieve.”
Milk created a digital waterfall –using water simulation effects to add
movement to a practical waterfall. Milk blended the waterfall into a
wider shot, which included a 3D extension of a rock face and digital
matte painting of the valley for a scene in which Sherlock regains
consciousness and finds himself on a mountain precipice next to the
Milk made the water effects for the sequence in which Sherlock falls into
the waterfall. The challenge was to ensure the water continued moving
and interacting with Sherlock as realistically as possible despite the fact
that Benedict Cumberbatch was actually static.
SHERLOCK FREEZE FRAME MIND MAP –
Milk created the sequence in which Sherlock’s mind map re-imagines
and dissects the scene where the Abominable Bride is shooting into the
street from a balcony and examines it from 360. Milk made the rotating
camera viewpoint – so that the scene can be visually examined from
every angle in Sherlock’s mind. The Milk team blended two plates to
create the rotating 180-degree camera move – which had been shot on
a camera track around actor who remained static for the take – revealing
an outdoor set version of the lounge area of Sherlock’s Baker Street
house. Extensive and intricate tracking work was required to map the
shot perfectly as well as period clean up, and digital matte painting set
PULL OUT THROUGH WINDOW TO CRANE SHOT –
A key challenge was designing the concluding sequence in which
Sherlock looks out of the window of his Baker Street house in Victorian
London and sees modern London outside. As he walks towards the
camera, the camera tracks back away from him, pulling out through the
window to reveal the modern Baker Street exterior of his house.
The challenge was to seamlessly execute the transition through the
window and blend the Victorian interior and modern exterior sequences
which had been shot in two separate locations.
To resolve and blend the two shots, Milk removed the interior camera
track and then created the illusion of continuous pull out through the
window, matching up and continuing the original camera move with the
modern Baker Street exterior plate. A crane was used to shoot this
second plate and seamlessly reveal the wider exterior. The team then
composited the two plates together to ensure the brickwork and
window frame matched perfectly.
MORIARTY HEAD INJURY –
Milk created a dramatic head wound for Moriarty when he shoots
himself in the head in one of Sherlock’s dream sequences. To achieve
this Andrew Scott wore a circular green screen head cap, with tracking
markers on it for reference when the scene was shot. Milk then
modelled a skull with a hole in it and a created a wound.