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Union completes vfx work on Far From The Madding Crowd

Union completes vfx work on Far From The Madding Crowd
David Wood
01 May 2015

Union has carried out vfx work on Thomas Vinterberg’s classic adaptation of Thomas Hardy’s Far From The Madding Crowd.
The film, which opens today, explores the consequences of a headstrong Victorian woman’s tangled love life.

Produced by DNA Films and distributed internationally by Fox Searchlight Pictures, with which Union collaborated on Danny Boyle’s feature films 127 Hours and Trance, Far From The Madding Crowd is Union’s first project with DNA Films and film producers Andrew Macdonald and Allon Reich.
Highlights of Union’s work include a burning barn sequence using CG and real fire elements with embers and smoke created in Houdini, and a dramatic scene in which a flock of sheep is herded over a cliff by a sheep dog.

For the latter effect, Union took shots of a handful of live-action sheep jumping down a small drop, and replicated and multiplied these to create the illusion of an entire flock tumbling over a cliff.

Further replication and multiplication work was applied to the harvest scene, snow scenes and scenes on a Dorset beach.


Union has been involved in several period films recently, including Glorious ’39 and ‘71, but Far From The Madding Crowd was the first in which the story is set in the countryside.
Tim Caplan, Union’s co-founder and lead vex producer on the film, said: “It was inspiring to work in Dorset, such a beautiful part of the world and re-imagine it as it was at the turn of the 20th century.

“And the project itself was an exciting challenge. The big fire sequence, for example, came with a host of logistical, and health and safety restrictions.

“We had to work out how to keep that sense of real jeopardy and authenticity in the picture — but without of course endangering any of the cast or crew.” 

Union VFX was founded in 2008 by Adam Gascoyne and Tim Caplan, providing a creative service for feature film and television productions.

Film credits include The Theory of Everything, Trance, Black Sea, 127 Hours, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2 and The Woman in Black.

Recent television projects include the second season of Da Vinci’s Demons, Babylon and Dancing on the Edge.

Union was part of Danny Boyle’s core creative team for the opening ceremony of the London 2012 Olympic Games.

Film projects currently in production are Suffragette, Lady In The Van, Genius, Bastille Day, Everest and the untitled Lance Armstrong biopic.

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