Framestore's Oliver Bersey helps director Matt Lossoso to tour through Doctor Who history in the trailer for the 50th anniversary special airing November 23.
50 years, eleven Time Lords frozen in time and one astonishing trailer. Director Matt Lossoso and Framestore VFX Supervisor Oliver Bersey have created this electrifying tour through Doctor Who history, littering it with references from the show’s 798 episodes. It begins with the original Doctor, William Hartnell, recreated from a blend of original footage and a double, in Totter's Yard – the setting of the show’s first ever scene.
From there the camera twists past a host of Doctor Who characters and objects, some shot, some added in Flame by Ollie. The Doctor’s regenerations, friends and possessions are scattered through time so you’ll never spot everything in a single watch. That’s exactly the point of course – we want fans to watch it over and over again in the run up to the 50th anniversary special on 23 November.
For the recreation of Hartnell the director sourced a hero still from the original black and white series then spent many hours placing elements from a double over the top of the original still in Photoshop to recreate him as very high resolution, colour still. From there Ollie took over, “first off I did the general compositing, the look, the colour, and the tracking, then I gave it some subtle 2D manipulations to make it look 3D as we go past him.”
Many of the camera moves were recreated in Flame, a very difficult task but one that made everything incredibly smooth and also allowed Matt and Ollie to throw in even more references from the show. “We had to pretty much take it apart and rebuild it” says Ollie. “I tracked the cameras, stabilized them then recomposited all the bits into the stable camera move, but I worked hard to create that same 3D depth using isolated 2D elements. Using this method gave us the opportunity to load it with all the Doctor Who items.”
As the camera zooms past Jenna-Louise Coleman’s Clara and David Tennant’s Doctor a vast landscape comes into view, equally full of motifs from the Doctor Who universe – a matte painting created by Ollie. Then Matt Smith’s Doctor reaches for the sonic screwdriver and time unfreezes. Get ready for the day of the Doctor!
Jennifer Wolfe is Director of News & Content at Animation World Network.