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The making of ITV1's Titanic

Here are three behind the scenes films that explain how the physical and visual effects, as well as the costumes, were created for ITV’s upcoming £10m drama Titanic.

Directed by Jon Jones and written by Julian Fellowes, the 4x60-min Titanic was made largely outside the UK in order to access Canadian and Hungarian tax breaks. 

One of the key challenges for the team making the series was how to create realistic effects on a budget that’s about 20 times smaller than James Cameron had at his disposal for his 1996 film staring Kate Winslet and Leonardo di Caprio.

Production designer Rob Harris created an extraordinary set in landlocked Hungary’s Stern Studios, which included the construction of the largest indoor water tank in mainland Europe.  You can learn some of the details about how this was done in the following film:

Titanic’s complex post post and vfx was completed in Toronto, led by Tom Turnbull of Rocket Science.  The following film explains how they went about creating the iconic ship.

And the costumes were also key for a story that’s essentially about British society in 1912, as the below film explains.

Produced by Nigel Stafford-Clark, Titanic will air on ITV1 later this month starring Linus Roach and Geraldine Somerville.

ITV1 signed up early on to the drama, and the rest of the finance was stitched together by Lookout Point and ITV Studio Global Entertainment. Pre-sales included a landmark deal with ABC, the first UK drama to pre-sell to a US network since the 1980s.


Posted 16 March 2012 by Tim Dams

Would tax breaks make a difference to UK animation?

Animation UK is urging the Chancellor to introduce tax credits in this month's budget. On the eve of the British Animation Awards (15 Mar), we ask: what real difference would tax breaks make to UK animation?

Miles Bullough, Aardman
It's very depressing to spend months and £1000s to develop a show and then see up to 80% of the jobs located overseas just to access foreign tax credits. The problem gets worse when you realise how good our overseas competitors are getting. Their studios have great talent working non-stop; soon they won't need our custom as they will be generating work of their own - or just hiring our talent. A tax credit would have an immediate impact on employment in the UK animation sector. It would help us retain our best talent and get their ideas into production on a timetable that doesn't make them fear growing old.

Oli Hyatt, Blue-Zoo Animation
Animation UK think it would make a huge difference for the UK industry for number of reasons but more important is the fact the government are catching on. Meeting with the Chancellor, the DCMS and top Treasury officials only four weeks before the budget to discuss a proposed animation tax credit shows what a huge way we have come. The government and civil servants said we had suffered in the past from being 'hugely under represented'. They now understand our issues and know the value of increasing IP in the UK and the inward investment that could come from a tax credit for the animation industry, as well as the benefits for the children that watch our shows.

Jackie Edwards, CBeebies
There is a long history of TV animation in the UK. From The Clangers, Postman Pat to Rastamouse and Abney & Teal, these programmes are part of our cultural DNA. UK shows have a more immediate relevance to our audience, and it's great when shows are produced locally - they work - but it happens less and less these days. At CBeebies, we look at ideas from all over the globe. Unlike many international competitors, UK producers have no local incentives to support their production and end up giving away the lions share of work and rights in their IP. You have to admire how UK producers play so well on such an uneven playing field.

Phil Davies, Astley Baker Davies
Here at Astley, Baker, Davies, we know only too well the value of home grown British IP. The global success of Peppa Pig means we now generate annually over 100 times the show's original budget at retail. However, we found with shows like Peppa Pig it's incredibly hard to get them off the ground. A tax break for animation in the UK would stop the leaking of talent overseas, and mean UK companies could hold onto the valuable IP rights that help build and sustain creative businesses. The global toy industry is worth £3bn annually - shows like ours contribute significantly towards the industry. A stronger animation sector will only contribute even more towards growing and sustaining the market.

Posted 12 March 2012 by Tim Dams

Sky bids to make F1 coverage 'sexy' with iPad app launch

Formula One fans will be watching with interest to see how Sky moves on coverage of the sport when it launches Sky Sports F1 HD later this week (9 March).

Sky gave a hint of its ambitions today when it unveiled a new Sky Sports App for the iPad which is focused on Formula One.

The App is designed to complement the F1 TV offering, and to work as a standalone viewing experience.

And it looks very impressive. It promises to offer a genuine two screen viewing experience that will enhance viewers’ enjoyment and understanding of the races.

The App features the main broadcast of a race, as well as a choice of up to eight different video feeds including on board cameras, pit lane views and highlights. And users can choose to view stats boards too, including race timings and positions. It also incorporates a Twitter feed to provide live fan reaction, which is editorially curated by Sky Sports.

David Gibbs, director of Sky Sports digital media, said the App was “the furthest that Sky had pushed the technology” and was designed to offer the best content and coverage and content before, during and after a race.

There’s no exact date for the launch of the App yet, although it’s likely to be released ahead of the first Grand Prix of the 2012 calendar in Australia on 18 March. A future release of the App in the spring will also offer a split screen option, allowing users to view three screens at once.

Sky’s lead commentator David Croft said Sky has one key ambition for its F1 coverage - “to make Formula One sexy.”

He added that the channel will seek to explain a complex sport so that fans understand what is going on.

Sky will show every race of the season live on their F1 channel, splitting the rights with the BBC which will show ten live Grand Prix with TV highlights for the remaining races.

Posted 07 March 2012 by Tim Dams
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