The Discovery Channel will broadcast one of the major battles of the 20th Century, THE BATTLE OF THE BULGE, as a one-hour cable show on May 29, 2005, at 8:00 pm with a rebroadcast at 10:00 pm. This is one of a series of historical shows produced by Morning Star Ent., with 3D-animated effects by Double Edge Digital, the Glendale, California studio that did the vfx on the first show of the series, ALEXANDER THE GREAT AND THE BATTLE OF GAUGAMELA.
The Battle of the Bulge started in Belgium on Dec. 16, 1944, and was a last gasp effort of the German Army to drive a wedge between American and British forces and seize Antwerp in an attempt to negotiate a favorable end to the war. The battle involved hundreds of thousands of men, and had superstar generals on both sides (Patton and McAuliffe on the American, von Manteuffel and Dietrich on the German side).
The television show, with a budget infinitely lower than that of the high-budget film named THE BATTLE OF THE BULGE (1965) starring Henry Fonda and Robert Ryan, manages to get all of these details down correctly. Tanks are very detailed, move correctly and snow displacement by the tank treads is realistically rendered. Scenes are depicted from ground level and feature the careful blending of simulated and live elements, with live characters in the foreground, duplicated actors in the middle ground and CG models with detailed paintings and photographs in the background.
John Follmer, producer on the series, worked closely with Morningstar president/exec producer, Gary Tarpinian, Buddy Gheen is vfx supervisor while Steve Porter is digital production manager and Roger Chao is senior modeler. Justin Ritter, vfx producer at Double Edge said it took more than 40 minutes to render some 1,800 frames for the program. The CG arsenal Double Edge employed for the show includes maya, LightWave, After Effects, PhotoShop, Shake and Digital Fusion with extensive camera tracking enabled Boujou, the toolset from 2d3.
Double Edge Digital (DED), with offices and studio facilities in Los Angeles (Glendale) and Taipei, is a uniquely structured company in todays digital vfx community. Both locations serve global film and television clients worldwide with digital visual effects and 2D and 3D computer animation. DED Los Angeles provides the artistic vision and quality that are hallmarks of Hollywood films, but the company utilizes its dual locations to build visuals literally 24 hours a day, and at costs usually not matched in Canada, the Far East or anywhere in the world.
Double Edge Digital (www.doubleedgeentertainment.com) is in production on feature films including ASK THE DUST, for Cruise/Wagner Productions, and MINOTAUR for Lions Gate. In television, DED is completing multiple episodes OF BATTLEGROUND: THE ART OF WAR, for Morningstar Productions, which airs on The Discovery Channel. Previous feature film credits include Steven Spielbergs CATCH ME IF YOU CAN, JEEPERS CREEPERS and the miniseries DUNE, winner of an Emmy Award for Visual Effects.