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Peerless Creates Action-Packed VFX for ‘London Has Fallen’

Boutique effects house creates opening ‘Hive’ sequence and Cornhill chase sequence for Millennium Film’s crime/action-thriller.

LONDON -- Peerless has announced their involvement in Millennium Film’s crime, action thriller, London Has Fallen. The story involves the world's most powerful leaders gathering in London to pay their respects after the death of the British prime minister. Without warning, terrorists unleash a devastating attack that leaves the city in chaos and ruins. Secret Service agent Mike Banning (Gerard Butler) springs into action to bring U.S. President Benjamin Asher (Aaron Eckhart) to safety. When Asher falls into the hands of the sinister organization, it's up to Banning to save his commander in chief from a horrible fate

Peerless were awarded two Major sequences; the opening “Hive” sequence, and the Cornhill chase. The Hive sequence was shot as a number of lengthy takes which involved some complex transition work combining both 2D and 3D techniques to blend the takes seamlessly. As this was an intense battle sequence, a huge number of additions were made including bullet hits on cars, buildings and people, muzzles flashes, tracer fire, explosions. CG RPG and grenades were added. Split takes of explosions were combined for exact timings in order to enhance the chaos and mayhem that a firefight of this sort would entail.

Once the Hive building explosions were enhanced with CG debris, more bullet hits and tracer were added with split screen composites combining live action pyro SFX elements with character action to heighten the jeopardy of the ensuing fight and chase. This culminated with the “Hive” being destroyed by a huge gas explosion created by Peerless using bespoke CG techniques.

The second main sequence for Peerless was no less dramatic and involved a motorcycle chase through the streets of London, via Cornhill and the Embankment. The Cornhill section involved a combination of live action plates shot in London as well as studio setups, involving green-screen plates plus a vehicle peppered with bullet hits, adding to the need for precise continuity shot to shot.

Once on the Embankment the Peerless team created a full CG/DMP environment utilizing a combination of backgrounds to enhance the green screen live action that had been shot on a partially constructed set. Full sections of the Embankment were built in CG to mirror the real world which extended from Waterloo Bridge to Black Friars and Somerset House. Cars, trees, buildings and bridges plus many ancillary elements (including a collision with a CG motorcyclist) were created to ensure a believable world mimicking the London Embankment environment.

Director of VFX for Peerless, Drew Jones, commented, “This was a fantastic project for Peerless to be involved with and it was great to once again team up with VFX Supervisor Sean Farrow. Our relatively small team worked hard and passionately to produce over 250 exciting VFX shots. We are especially pleased with the creation of the full CG Embankment environment and the integration of this into the look and feel of the real world.”

Peerless is currently working on numerous shows including: The Foreigner (STX Entertainment) Outlander Series 2 (Starz Ent/Sony Pictures Television), The Secret Agent (BBC/World Productions) and Pete’s Dragon (Walt Disney Pictures).

Source: Peerless