I was recently contacted by Jason Mayo – lead technical director at The Mill. He sent me a link to a recent behind the scenes film about the the making of this year’s Primeval series four – including interviews with himself (lead technical director) and the non-nonsense Jean Claude Deguara (VFX supervisor). This should be a special treat for all you VFX fans out there – as The Mill are one of the top VFX houses in the world at the moment.
Jason went on to explain that it was all made using Maya, Soft Image and Mental Ray together with lots of custom in-house software plugins . I think we are fairly blase about this level of effects now, but when you think of what we were having to watch on TV shows even five years ago – this is pretty amazing. Essentially The Mill is being smart by re-using lots of techniques that they have developed on high -end Hollywood pics on TV-only work.
I especially like the fact that the underwater scenes were made entirely from CGI, to think that they used to film this stuff in water tanks with scuba divers!
Jason told me that the original script for this episode called for two computer generated humans in wet suits to untangle a cable from the prop of a big submarine, but with humans being notoriously difficult to do convincingly in CG he suggested to the client that they put them inside a futuristic mini sub with mechanical arms. The clients liked the idea and the script was altered. The actors seen inside the mini sub were then filmed behind the wheel of a Mercedes parked in a studio (he assured me that no one got wet during the making of this…)
Primeval was broadcast this year on ITV to an audience of over 5 million viewers and also has a massive following both in Europe and the U.S. If you want more Primeval VFX based shenanigans – there is a “Part one” video that was made from series Four – which you can watch here
Next up they are working on a new TV series of Sinbad, made by Impossible pictures – the same company that makes Primeval