See how Rodeo FX built the beautiful, surreal environments of The Greatest Showman

The Greatest Showman unexpectedly took the world by storm – a fresh, uplifting story that transports viewers into a magical – yet historical – world striving for inclusivity. The musical is inspired by the imagination of historical character P.T Barnum (Hugh Jackman) and explores themes of romance, success and acceptance. The film is set to music by Academy Award winners Benj Pasek and Justin Paul.

Although a Broadway adaptation is already underway, here we take a behind-the-scenes look at the 20th Century Fox film, with the work of VFX house, Rodeo FX. Much of the film was created using miniature sets and environments, which were then enhanced using VFX. Take a look at this and more in the breakdown reel below. 

Rodeo FX delivered 85 individual shots, many of which enhanced the surreal environments of the film as well as the fire and destruction of the theatre. One of the most challenging shots included three young children running into the circus. The plate for this sequence was shot entirely on a green screen, with just the actors in place. Rodeo FX then built the entire shot in CG, from the reflection of the circus on the puddle and the water effects as the children run through it, to the environment and circus tent itself.

Rodeo FX also worked closely with the film’s production team and on set with director Michael Gracey.

“I had the pleasure of being on set in Brooklyn to supervise shooting over the miniature set,” said VFX supervisor Martin Lipmann.

“Director Michael Gracey wanted the movie to have a very specific look and to show that it was created using miniatures. For The Greatest Showman we aimed for a deliberately unrealistic environment, which was a fun challenge.”

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