Cinesite London was the lead visual effects vendor for the  Netflix live-action fantasy series Fate: The Winx Saga.

The London studio, led by VFX production Supervisor Simon Stanley-Clamp, created an otherworldly mix of creatures, environments and magic for the series, which was produced by Archery Pictures in association with Rainbow.

Fate: The Winx Saga follows the coming-of-age journey of five fairies attending Alfea, a magical boarding school in the Otherworld where they must learn to master their powers, while navigating love, rivalries, and the monsters that threaten their very existence. From creator Brian Young (The Vampire Diaries), Fate: The Winx Saga is a live-action reimagining of the Italian cartoon Winx Clubfrom Iginio Straffi.

Visual Effects Supervisor Simon Stanley-Clamp worked closely with Netflix, Archery and Rainbow to establish an organic look for the visual effects. “The magic in the series is intrinsically elemental, with the key characters taking their powers from water, fire, earth and air.  We were always mindful that everything should be linked to the real world, from colour palettes to looks for the more supernatural effects like creatures and forcefields.”

Wider school exteriors were shot on location at Kilruddery House outside Dublin and Luggala House in Co. Wicklow.  A detailed lidar scan and photogrammetry of the former location was used and combined with aspects of the Luggala architecture to create the school’s distinctive building and grounds. Interior sets were constructed and filmed at Ardmore Studios.

Cinesite’s team also created the mysterious and sinister Burned Ones, creatures which attack the students.  Stunt actors were filmed on set in prosthetic suits for blocking, which were scanned to create the top half of the CG characters, 8 ft tall dark creatures made up of burned sinew melted into bone. Performance capture was used to help establish a look for their super-human agility, with runs, sprints and jumps based in reality before animators took over, altering the movement to make it more dynamic and otherworldly.

Other effects in the series show the students’ growing mastery over their powers, from growing plants to conjuring light sources, manipulating floating water spheres and weaponizing static electricity.

The six-part series features Brian Young (Vampire Diaries, Kyle XY) as showrunner and executive producer. Judy Counihan and Kris Thykier from Archery Pictures (Riviera, The State) plus Cristiana Buzzelli and Joanne Lee from Rainbow also serve as executive producers.

Jon Creamer

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