Artemis Fowl is director Kenneth Brannagh's cinematic interpretation of the hugely successful young adult books of the same name, by author Eoin Colfer. When NVIZ came on board the project in the early stages of production, the team were thrilled, both to work with Brannagh, VFX Supervisor, Charley Henley and VFX Producer, Barrie Helmsely, but also to provide the kind of multi-layered and multi-diciplined support the company excels at.
NVIZ provided virtual production services, techvis, previs and postvis on three major sequences. In addition the team worked on graphics in camera during the shoot and again in post. The NVIZ teams were led by Head of Visualisation, Janek Lender and Creative Director, Chris Lunney for the graphics.
Final VFX for Haven City by MPC.
In one extensive sequence, NVIZ provided VR, techvis and postvis for Holly's journey to work at the LEP (Lower Elements Police) and results in the first fantasy reveal of Haven city. Though it was still in early stages of development, NVIZ were able to offer a raw version of its innovative Virtual Camera System for use by the production department and the director, Kenneth Brannagh, to explore the set in VR. Brannagh used the Virtual Camera System to study the virtual set for the LEP journey with the production designer Jim Clay, while still in the design phase and prior to the set construction. This helped to inform the design further, from both an aesthetic and practical shooting point of view and proved to be extremely useful for the decision making process, playing a crucial role in the set build.
The Haven City environment was a significant build, with most of it being realised in CG and featuring fast paced dynamic action. NVIZ built a 2-mile square patch of Haven city in Unreal Engine, and to populate the city, the team motion-captured NVIZ staff members to capture the movements for incidental people on the transport and also motion captured one of their animators as Holly boarding her transport and arriving at the LEP.
After NVIZ animated all the action in the sequence, Brannah used the Virtual Camera System to frame up shots. Says Lender, 'He [Brannagh] repeatedly played the action, walking around the VR looking for the best angles and camera positions to capture the action, much like a theatre rehearsal'.
The graphics on Artemis Fowl were led by NVIZ Creative Director, Chris Lunney who worked closely with the production's Graphics Art Director Neil Floyd to create script-specific storytelling graphics to be interacted with on-set.
While developing these real world graphics, NVIZ and Floyd were simultaneously conceptualising how graphics would appear in the fairy world. In Artemis Fowl the fairies inhabit a very different, screenless world where we are never sure if the graphics are organic, digital or just magical! The team started out by creating a series of designs for holograms and various interfaces throughout the LEP which worked as visual aids for the director and the actors on the day, helping to inform camera angles and artist performance.
Once the film progressed to post production, NVIZ added these graphics back into the shots in the post-vis process, about 160 in all, whilst further developing the LEP aesthetic alongside VFX Supervisor Charley Henley.
The Artemis Fowl experience was, for NVIZ, a perfect illustration of the way the team loves to work. The show Supervisors had close involvement at a variety of different stages, and in varying roles, while also interacting with a range of departments.
Read more about our work in an article by Cinefex writer Graham Edwards here.