Rushes has created a wealth of VFX for The First Men In The Moon, a new TV film based on HG Wells' sci-fi story. It was created by Damon Thomas and Mark Gatiss, and is being broadcast on BBC4 on October 19.
Rushes completed full pre-production and concept design on the film, along with 312 VFX shots and full CG Selenite creature animation in 90 shots.
The First Men In The Moon is set in July 1969, when the Apollo 11 astronauts are about to make their historic Moon landing. But they are in for a surprise – somebody has beaten them to it.
League of Gentlemen's Mark Gatiss takes the lead role as Edwardian scientist Professor Cavor in his own adaptation of the book. As the world waits for news of Apollo 11, a young boy meets 90-year-old Julius Bedford (Rory Kinnear) who tells him an extraordinary story of their journey to the Moon.
Rushes were approached in the early stages of production by Damon and Mark to see how it would be possible to bring the story to the screen. VFX supervisors, Hayden Jones and Jonathan Privett comment “We were immensely excited by the project from day one and decided we could make it work with sufficient planning.
"Right from the outset we worked as part of the production team, storyboarding the key sequences, pre visualising the stage to determine set proportions and camera angles, providing concept art, initiating and matte painting an 80ft by 15ft printed backing and generally including ourselves in all the pre-production meetings. This really paid off when we came to shoot and post the film as we were able to offer fabulous value and quality of shots in comparison to a less thoroughly integrated production”
A key element of the VFX was the Selenite CG creatures that inhabit the Moon’s sub surface caverns. Supervising animators Andy Hargreaves and Craig Travis, having pre-visualised all key sequences, were then present with Jonathan and Hayden on set for shooting all of the VFX elements to ensure as smooth a transition as possible to post. Andy and Craig, in conjunction with technical director Mark Pascoe, gave the Selenites a distinct insect like but appealing character in line with their role in Wells’ script.
‘The Sphere’ in which Bedford and Cavor travel to the moon was handled by Seb Barker who took over the entire sequences single handed, including all animation and compositing. The Rushes team used Maya, Shake, Nuke and Renderman to complete the project.