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Milk Goes Intergalactic on VFX for SkyOne

14/05/2021

Milk Goes Intergalactic on VFX for SkyOne

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Brie Clayton May 13, 2021

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Milk is delighted to reveal details of its work as principal VFX supplier for Sky Original's new outer space, prison break drama series Intergalactic now available on SkyOne and NOW TV. Led by VFX Supervisor Jean-Claude Deguara, Milk created 850 shots across eight episodes delivering an exceptionally broad range of work, spanning stunning planet and complex city environments featuring well known landmarks; an FX focused desert storm, a spaceship crash and a submerged planet; a space walk including complex water and bubble elements; and hyperspace travel, in addition to creatures and character enhancements. The Milk team was supported by Egg in Dublin, Ireland.

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Intergalactic tells the story of fearless young cop and galactic pilot, Ash Harper (Savannah Steyn), who is wrongly convicted of a crime and exiled to a distant prison colony. On the way there Ash's fellow convicts seize control of their prison transfer ship the Hemlock and she is forced to join them on the run towards a distant galaxy with epic adventures along the way. Deguara worked closely with showrunner Julie Gearey (Prisoner's Wives), director Kieron Hawkes, production designer Mark Geraghty and executive producer Iona Vrolyk; leading the VFX teams at Milk and Egg to deliver the entire project remotely on a tight schedule during the 2020 lockdowns.

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To ensure the visual integrity of the frequent space travel sequences across the series, Deguara consulted Sky At Night space scientist Dr Maggie Aderin-Pocock MBE about the science of space, hyperspace travel and the folding of space time known as the Alcubierre drive'. Said Deguara: I spent an absolutely fascinating two or so hours chatting to Dr Maggie about how hyperspace travel would look. This allowed our artists to develop concepts representing how these elements would actually behave, to ensure the VFX supported the storytelling as realistically' as possible. We created a bubble-like effect around the Hemlock to represent the folding of space time and we then expanded it to feel like an ocean.

One of the biggest challenges was the visually evocative opening sequence, which needed to have maximum impact. It required the creation of a full CG, wide panorama of a dystopian future London that had emerged from floodwater and was surrounded by a giant dam and in the shadow of hundreds of giant buildings; supporting the futuristic new London'; (the Commonworld') built high up above. The depth of the old London buildings was over three hundred metres twice the depth of the English channel!

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The shots featured well known London landmarks Westminster, St Paul's, Tower Bridge which had to be accurately portrayed with a level of dilapidation that reflected the time that had passed as well as the flooding. In addition there was a whole cityscape of futuristic new London' buildings up above, to be constructed with giant skyscrapers, floating platforms, roads and monorails - to enhance the location shoot at futuristic City of Arts and Sciences' complex in Valencia, Spain. There was also a desire to have a lot of atmosphere shafts of volumetric light, clouds of dust, fog, steam from the engines of the platforms, low level vegetation and falling debris.

Although this had originally been envisaged as more of a dmp based sequence, it was built in 3d with a small team of assets artists, to allow a high level of detail in the shots.

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