Dark Shadows Gets Burtonvision
Check out a compilation of 6 clip sets, which expand on some of the images included in the article, pairing live action plates with finished shots showcasing some of Method Studios stellar vfx work on Dark Shadows. Only on AWNtv!
You just knew that Tim Burton and Johnny Depp would get a hold of Dark Shadows some day. The cultish vampire soap was tailor made for their kitschy, retro fun. And Method and The Senate were primary contributors in fulfilling Burton's distinctive vampire reinvention. In the past, filmmakers have referred to it as Burtonvision.
Vancouver-based Method (under the VFX supervision of Angus Bickerton ) delivered the ethereal Collinsport (circa 1750 and 1970) along with a CG train and a funky hall of mirrors inside Collinwood Manor. The London-based Senate, meanwhile, extended the interior of Collinwood Manor, along with creating full CG environments (including a harbor), ghost VFX and creature animation.
Collinsport, which is supposed to be an East Coast fishing port, was built around the water tank at Pinewood in London. Angel Bay Cannery, owned by the evil Angelique (Eva Green), is on one side of the cove. And on the other side is the Collins Cannery, which is derelict. The crew built a basic set but it had to be nearly 20 feet off the ground because of the water tank.
"For us, the challenge was taking the design and the art department look and extending that into a bigger town," explains Method's VFX supervisor Mark Breakspear. "We created streets going off streets and buildings and made it look far more built up. And it wasn't a case of just doing matte paintings because you're moving in the camera and it's all 3D and you have to put it all together. We knew that we'd have to lidar the existing set so 4DMax helped us with that and we were able to build and manipulate our city from there. But because Barnabas Collins [Johnny Depp] exists in two time periods, you have to understand that it's the same town, yet laid out in the same configuration, and featuring different buildings. It worked remarkably well even though the buildings and landmarks have changed and developed over time. Living in British Columbia, you don't have to go far for texture reference heaven.”
"From Tim's point of view, you watch this movie and don't think that we filmed at Pinewood or on a set. He wanted you to think that we took over some seaside town and changed the name. We replaced all of the water in the tank with CG water and CG boats; we added seagulls everywhere; we had digital doubles off in the distance and CG cars to populate the streets so it has life."