Definition January 2023 - Web


“Even with a massive budget and the finest tech, the VFX team had to learn new techniques to bring the series to life”

“We built a full volume stage from scratch at Leavesden,” says Bickerton. “I had to learn to shoot in the volume and create content for the LEDs. Experienced guidance came from Ryan Beagan, VP virtual production at Warner Bros – the main architect of our volume build – and Kris Murray of Lux Machina, who we employed to run the screens and content.” Bickerton also leaned heavily on Pixomondo, which had already built a volume stage in Toronto using experience creating Unreal Engine environments. “I worked closely with DOPs to stretch

the possibilities of volume shooting,” he adds. “All House of the Dragon episodes use practical SFX – flames, smoke, rain. Initially, atmospherics were considered impractical in the volume.” However, by working with all parties, Bickerton and team came up with ways to incorporate practical effects with LED screens. “In search of a faster, more experiential motion base for dragonriding shots, SFX built a servo-driven base with a greater range of movement than the previous hydraulic-driven one,” he concludes. WINGING IT For other members of the team, it was the first time they’d worked on anything as big as House of the Dragon . “Everything was a challenge,” says Quentin Jorquera, a Paris-based cinematographer who did dailies on the series. “As a camera operator, though, I didn’t experience technical challenges. Maybe not getting lost in the humongous sets. The biggest learning curve for me was cultural. I had to learn all the behavioural codes of working on a major UK production, as I had only worked on big projects with French teams before.” Jorquera adds, when it came to VP outside the volume: “I was impressed by the VFX team showing dragons on an iPad, to help the A camera follow the creature’s movements on outdoor shots.” So are we. Roll on Season 2. House of the Dragon is available to stream on Now TV and HBO Max

BATTLE HARDENED Whatever vagaries production threw up, Bickerton and his team dealt with them


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