Author: Expert use of VFX on a TV budget brings Winston Graham’s world to life in the hit BBC drama.
Lexhag was able to help the BBC bring the world of Poldark to life with an array of VFX production, including lavish set extensions and 3D matte painting, including Sunday night's dramatic shipwreck finale.
The BBC television drama is an eight-part series based on Winston Graham’s first two Poldark novels.
Recreating an 18th century mining world involved combining VFX with location-shot footage in and around the remaining mines standing today in Cornwall. VFX for the entire series were supervised by Lexhag director Alexis Haggar.
“All of the major set extensions were started with a LiDAR scan,” explained Alexis. “For Wheal Leisure - Ross Poldark’s mine - the art department built the lower areas around an existing mine on the Cornish coast and we took over for the higher elements, such as the roof structure and windows. Grambler, the large mine set into the hillside, was a combination of digital matte painting and 3D elements, all composited in Blackmagic Fusion.”
Ken Turner, CG Supervisor for Lexhag on Poldark, explained that all the 3D elements were rendered as .exr files and brought into Fusion to relight and grade.
“The Exr files handle multiple light passes, and masks for all of the separate elements, which gives you a lot of control for interactive adjustments in Fusion,” he added. “Once the still frame was close to the finished article, I then took it into Photoshop for a final paint, breaking up the clean CG edges with grime and rock before taking it back into Fusion where I added people, smoke, grain, lens aberrations and lots of little tweaks to make the still matte painting come to life.”