Moonraker VFX helped to create stunning photoreal computer-generated effects for the BBC series Earth – the story of our planet’s four-and-a-half billion-year history. Presented by naturalist Chris Packham, who calls it a “biography of our planet,” the series airs this month in the U.K. on BBC Two and is available to stream on iPlayer.
The Bristol-based VFX studio contributed around 30% of the final footage – 97 minutes, a feature film’s worth – and represents one of the studio’s largest-ever television projects. Since being engaged by the BBC Studios’ Science Unit nearly two years ago, over 30 VFX artists have produced more than 13,600 individual graphic elements and 360 shots of photoreal CGI.
Scientific accuracy was the highest priority for Earth, so Moonraker’s team worked closely with over 200 scientists and researchers who provided guidance on everything from paleontology and geology to climate.
Watch: Moonraker VFX Breakdown: BBC Earth series – “Snowball – Volcanic Eruptions.”
“This project was challenging,” said Moonraker VFX co-founder and creative director Simon Clarke. “How could we convincingly place the audience on a version of earth, from earlier in its history, that may feel very familiar but look completely different from how it does now? The visual evolution of these landscapes took a lot of hard work and consideration to make sure we got every detail right.”
“We contributed to some really demanding shots, like time-lapse scenes of geological events spanning many millions of years, which required huge attention to detail and asset creation,” continued Clarke, explaining, “There were also a few firsts. We visualized ancient flora or fauna that has never been imagined in 3D before, paying particular attention to textural details and placing them in their natural habitats. The scientists were astounded with what we came up with.”
Clarke added, “It’s been a phenomenal project and fantastic opportunity to demonstrate the talent and creativity at Moonraker VFX, but it was certainly a team effort, and we’re very grateful to the BBC’s production team as well as the scientific advisers who made Earth possible.”
Rob Liddell, Executive Producer, BBC Studios, said, “With Earth, we wanted to push the boundaries of what was possible with VFX sequences featuring some of the planet’s most dramatic moments. The ambition was high, and Moonraker has been a brilliant partner in helping us realize it. The team brought amazing flare and attention to detail to every shot, resulting in some breathtaking moments of visual drama.”
Watch: Moonraker VFX Breakdown: BBC Earth series – “Snowball – Garden of Ediacara.”
Source: Moonraker VFX