Cinema’s latest take on the story of King Arthur transports us back to the world of ancient Britain courtesy of some super cool visual-effects by Cinesite. Visual effects supervisor Matt Johnson reveals all.

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Forget the magic of Merlin, the mystery of Excalibur, the brotherhood of Knights, the treachery of Morgan le Fay, and the love triangle of Arthur, Guinevere and Lancelot – Touchstone Pictures/Jerry Bruckheimer’s latest cinematic release rips apart the Arthurian legend to get to the historical story that inspired the myth.
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Directed by Antoine Fuqua (Training Day and Tears of the Sun), King Arthur presents an Arthur (Clive Owen) who is a battle-hardened warrior of British and Roman descent posted at the northernmost outpost of the Roman Empire around 452 AD. Commanding a band of soldiers, conveniently tagged with names including Lancelot, Gawain, Galahad and Tristan, Arthur is charged with one last mission before he, like the rest of the Romans, pack up and desert the rainy, backwater of Britain for the sunnier climes of the Med. 
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The mission is to rescue a Roman family under siege by bloodthirsty Saxons. They are joined in the task by ragtag bunch of Britons, aka the Woads, led by Merlin (Stephen Dillane) and a scantily-clad Guinevere (Keira Knightley).
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Recreating the ancient world of Britain and bringing to life several epic battles meant Fuqua had to rely heavily on digitally-created effects. Top effects company Cinesite Europe provided all the digital effects for the film, nearly 500 shots in total. Work was concentrated on the film’s two major battle sequences: a confrontation between Arthur and his knights and the Saxon army on frozen lake, and a final showdown that called for the creation of a digital army.
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Cinesite’s visual-effects supervisor Matt Johnson was involved in the film’s pre-production for the earliest stages, attending meetings in Los Angeles with executive producer Ned Dowd, production designer Dan Weil and director Antoine Fuqua to discuss possible approaches to creating the sequences. 
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