The team of BlueBolt composed of Angela Barson, Stuart Bullen (VFX Supervisors) & Cath Duncan (VFX Producer) talks about their work on THE MAN FROM U.N.C.L.E.

How did you got involved on this show?
We have a history with both Guy and with Richard.

How was the collaboration with director Guy Ritchie and Production VFX Supervisor Richard Bain?
We dealt directly with Richard on all shots throughout post, seeing him for reviews a couple of times a week. We only saw Guy in reviews towards the end of post.

What are the sequences done by BlueBolt?

  • Aerospace Break-In: Safe opening effect
  • Back to Hotel Clean up period artefacts
  • Final Chase CG environments, CG vehicles, Composite backgrounds: – 104 shots – our biggest sequence
  • Gaby Tracked: Clean up period artefacts
  • Island Attack: 2.5D environment Island and Harbour
  • Ilya Mugged: Background environment work – Rome location
  • Rottweiler Attack: Clean up
  • Rome Hotel: Clean up period artefacts
  • Race Track: Background environment work, to make England look Italian
  • Solo’s Suite: Clean up period artefacts
  • Plaza hotel: exterior Clean up period artefacts
  • Vinciguerra Island: 2.5D environment Island and Harbour
  • Waverley Helicopter: Transition from photo to Island

Can you describe one of your day on-set and then during the post?
We supervised the 2nd unit in Wales for the car chase (which was mostly spent trying to keep out of the rain), and the second unit in Italy. Most of it was working with the stunt team, a lot at night. We also had a day shooting from a helicopter to get aerial shots and elements for VFX.

How did you approach the Vinciguerra island?
The castle on top of the island was based on the real castle, so we just had to recreate it in CG. The island and cliffs were all CG. We shot as many textures as we could of cliff faces from around the same area, mostly from a helicopter.

How did you handle the water creation around the island?
Water was based on live action plates, but then manipulated or combined with CG.

A big chase then happens outside the island. Can you tell us more about your work on it?
It would have been impossible to film the helicopter shots with the exact vehicle action and key landscape features required as there was not a single location and the helicopter moves needed to be quite extreme. Therefore a combination of live action, tiled stills and CG elements were used as a basis for a set of 2.5D environments to tie together the ground based locations, with CG animated vehicles to give control over the action required. The differences between the locations and the weather and lighting needed to be made work for continuity. A mix of re-speed live action and CG camera work was created to give the style of compressed action required. Lots of the ground based chase shots then had background composite work, such as mountains, added or weather changes were made to make the progression of the sequence work out.

What was the biggest challenge on this project and how did you achieve it?
The biggest challenge by far was having to create the chase sequence involving the off roaders. The plates that were shot on location were unfortunately not working for the pace of the film, which resulted in BlueBolt recreating the same location with the help of DMP, 2.5D projections and CG environments. With these environments we could then create the desired camera moves that Guy had always envisaged. This was no small feat due to the volume of shots, the scope of the environments, mixed with CG vehicles and time constraints. However the results proved successful and was testament to BlueBolt and it’s ability to utilise all departments to create a solution that was time efficient, creatively effective and ultimately seamless with the live action sections of that chase sequence.

Was there a shot or a sequence that prevented you from sleep?
Yes, recreating some of the shots in the chase sequence in CG as the camera moves on the live action weren’t working in the cut. So full CG people, vehicles, mountains, trees etc.

How long have you worked on this film?
We were in post on MFU around 8 months in 2014.

How many shots have you done?
BlueBolt finalled 224 shots.

What was the size of your team?
Overall there were around 30 people from BlueBolt involved in the project.

What is your next project?
Among other projects BlueBolt’s current 2015 slate includes WAR & PEACE for BBC One / TWC, THE LAST KINGDOM for Carnival films, NOW YOU SEE ME TWO for Lionsgate, MORGAN for Twentieth Century Fox and SPECTRE for MGM.

A big thanks for your time.


BlueBolt: Dedicated page about THE MAN FROM U.N.C.L.E. on BlueBolt website.

© Vincent Frei – The Art of VFX – 2015


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