Dark Shadows Gets Burtonvision
Method also made a CG train (the '70s era silver Downeaster). They extended the platform in both directions, used lidar again and built the whole thing raw and full frame. "When you have a big CG build like that, unless it's a robot, everyone questions its authenticity," Breakspear continues. "It's got to feel completely real and fit in with a CG platform and digi-doubles. Method used Maya, Nuke and boujou throughout its work.
However, the hall of mirrors was tricky fun. In a scene in which Barnabas leads Elizabeth (Michelle Pfeiffer) through a secret passageway on the way to a hidden fortune of gold and silver, we notice that the vampire's reflection is missing in a twisting corridor full of mirrors. With her POV, she looks over at him and realizes that it's just a lamp hovering in the air as he's walking along. "It's funny but if you weren't looking for it, you wouldn't realize that he doesn't reflect because there's some weird quality about the shot," Breakspear suggests. "There were some big challenges because in some shots his reflection was obscuring her reflection and so we had to rebuild her reflection. But the methodology we chose was to build the entire corridor again in CG and re-project the right reflections where we wanted them and get rid of them where we didn't because we had control of the CG environment."
The Senate (under the VFX supervision of Anton Yri) remained onset during the shoot at Borehamwood and Pinewood (where Collinwood Manor sets were built) and documented with meticulous stills photography any textures, props or scenery that could prove useful later in post-production. "Our attendance at the shoot of the 1/3 scale Collinwood Manor, which was itself almost the size of a small house, was also crucial to ensure that camera moves and views would line up with the life size elements of the manor, which were shot several weeks previously," explains Yri.
Arguably The Senate's most complex shot was a sweeping camera move over an under-construction Collinwood Manor. Due to the camera move and required state of the manor, this shot had to be built completely from scratch. Starting with a basic art department model of the Manor, the 3D team had to start deconstructing it, removing roofs and walls and replacing them with wooden beams and the interior structure of the house. CG period scaffolding was then added to the exterior. An animating CG crane was also added to the foreground to add more dynamism to the shot. The Manor surrounds were created using a mixture of sea plates, matte paintings and model element shoots. "To add life to the scene, 18th century construction worker elements were then dotted around the various walkways," Yri adds. Similar techniques were also used for the following shot, as we slowly zoom back from the Manor, taking the viewpoint of the Collins family, situated on the ground gazing up at their new home.