DEFINITION - April 2020 - Web


side, and it was suggested that the fly could burrow behind his eye from the corner of it,” Wood explains. “The actor looking off to the side made it easier for the fly to slip inside almost unnoticeably, so we riffed off that idea instead of sticking to the script.” The subtlety of this effect is an example of Wood’s visual brief, from which he was asked to create visuals that are ‘in service to the story’. He explains: “Johnny Campbell doesn’t love visual effects. He prefers to keep them muted, and only in the foreground when they really have to be. For instance, when I

to be more complex than we had made it, especially because Tony went for a natural, candlelit lighting environment.” Dave Elsey adds: “It was later added that he would escape Castle Dracula by jumping from the roof, so we added decay to his prosthetic, where he might have hit rocks on the way down or been nibbled by fish after landing in the water.” MUTED VFX Jonathan Harker escapes to the convent in Hungary where he is quizzed by Sister Agatha about his time at Castle Dracula. During that scene, a fly lands on his eye and goes inside it. “It’s all anyone could talk about, but it really wasn’t that difficult to do,” laughs Matt Wood, VFX supervisor at Space Digital. “We already had a fly that we built years ago for another one of [director] Jonny Campbell’s series, and we knew that it could perform reasonably well. It was designed so that an animator would only need to move it around, and its legs and wings would automatically do the right thing.” What is interesting is that the way this fly got inside Harker’s eye wasn’t actually decided until the edit. “It was scripted that the fly would go inside Jonathan Harker’s eye when he blinked, but that looked awkward when we tried it. We ended up coming across a take that featured him glancing off to the

first read the script I thought, great! We’re going to make a CGI castle: a big, grandiose thing – but actually, that was the last thing Johnny wanted.” Castle Dracula is a real castle, Orava in Slovakia. Wood’s input was to make the castle look as remote as possible, by painting out surrounding motorways and car parks. He also created environments that proved impractical to film. “Everything that Jonathan Harker sees when he looks out of the castle’s tower window at night was built by us. The courtyard he sees when he looks down is a CG 3D model, the sky he sees when he

IMAGES Practical effects were used wherever possible, a nod to Dracula’s rich cinematic history stretching back almost a century

38 DEF I N I T ION | APR I L 2020

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