TV Special, 2015

We are extremely proud to have won a 2016 Creative Arts Emmy Award and received a 2017 BAFTA Television Craft nomination for our work on Sherlock special episode “The Abominable Bride”.

The Emmy marked the Milk team’s third major award of the 2016 awards season – which had already delivered Oscar and BAFTA recognition for feature film ‘Ex-Machina’ and BBC TV series ‘Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell’ respectively.

Milk’s talented Sherlock team received Emmy Award for outstanding supporting special and visual effects in a supporting role, alongside special effects company Real SFX at the 68th Television Academy Awards ceremony, held at the Microsoft Theater on Saturday 10th September 2016.

Milk created the Emmy-winning and BAFTA-nominated VFX for the 90 minute Sherlock special episode for Hartswood Films/BBC. It aired on New Year’s Day 2016 on BBC One and on television and cinemas worldwide.

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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:


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.


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

extension work.


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.


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.

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