PRODUCTION. HOUSE OF THE DRAGON
LED BY EXAMPLE A volume stage was built from scratch at Warner Bros Studios Leavesden for LED screen shots
A sophomore slump – or in musical parlance ‘second album syndrome’ – refers to an instance where the artist’s second effort falls distinctly short of the appreciable standards set by the first. So when the much-anticipated, long- awaited prequel to Emmy-dominating fantasy drama Game of Thrones finally landed on our screens this summer, the new show’s creators were vulnerable to attack. The fact that swathes of the fandom were disappointed with the finale of the original series gave the critics even more ammunition. The ten-part House of the Dragon series premiered in August 2022, and less than a week after TX, it was renewed for a second season. It’s fair to say the prequel exceeded expectations. A co-production by George R R Martin, Bastard Sword, 1:26 Pictures and HBO Entertainment, this sprawling drama is based on parts of Fire & Blood , a fantasy book by Martin. His epic, but unfinished, series A Song of Ice and Fire was initially adapted into the Game of Thrones television show.
Set about 200 years before the events of the latter, House of the Dragon tells the story of a turbulent period for House Targaryen. As you may well have guessed, the argument is about who should rule from the Iron Throne. With no expense spared, an ensemble cast including Paddy Considine, Matt Smith, Emma D’Arcy and Rhys Ifans filmed in multiple locations, including the UK, Portugal and Spain. Principal photography on the series began in April last year, so no prizes for guessing the first trial by combat the considerable crew faced. “We were limited to between 100 and 120 extras in a Covid-19 bubble. You’re lucky to get more than that on a non-Covid production”
“The entire production from start to finish was produced under a tight Covid-19 regimen,” says Angus Bickerton, visual effects supervisor on House of the Dragon . “Delays were incurred due to the virus and schedules were often reworked, but we never stopped. We were limited to 100-120 extras in a Covid-19 bubble. To be honest, you’re lucky to get many more than that even on a non-Covid production, but it did mean a lot of crowd extension effects were required.” Bickerton, whose credits include Lost in Space and The Da Vinci Code and Angels & Demons , explains that when it came to day-to-day filming, two units – named
TALKING TACTICS Green screen, blue screen, grey screen – any screen! Different forms of VFX were employed depending on the colours of the costumes and set, or the general tone of the environment
ON THE MAP House of the Dragon proved a hit, getting renewed for a second season five days after its premiere
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