Union VFX completed 160 shots on James Marsh’s Stephen Hawking biopic The Theory of Everything, which opened in cinemas at the beginning of January.

Union, which carried out all vfx work on the film, completed the shots from design and pre-visualization to final execution.

The shots included an end titles sequence where a two minute journey through space was created flying past several nebulae, into a black hole and then through the nervous system of the body.

The sequence was created in Houdini.

The monitor which Hawking uses to communicate with in the film was also re-designed by Union in post and the timings of the text were adjusted for dramatic effect to make it clearer for the viewer. 

Some crowd replication and car green screen work was also carried out.

Union VFX lead visual effects supervisor and co-founder Adam Gascoyne, says : ‘This is our first project with James Marsh and we worked very closely with him to develop a visual interpretation of Hawking’s theories.

"We tried to come up with a look and feel for the period and wanted the visions to be very subtle in keeping with the context of the film.
"Simple things like reversing the motion of cream being added to coffee using Houdini fluid simulations, the animation of embers flying out of the fire and the explosion of the pupil representing Hawking’s heat radiation theory have had considerable visual impact on an already compelling story.

“It’s creatively much more exciting and gives significantly more bang for your buck to factor in the vfx development process rather than try and fix it in post,” added Gascoyne.
Union VFX is currently working with Working Title Films on Stephen Frears’ Lance Armstrong biopic, based on the book Seven Deadly Sins: My Pursuit of Lance Armstrong by Irish sports journalist David Walsh.

Other projects include Sarah Gavron’s Film4 backed movie Suffragette.

David Wood

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