Urban Myth Films and Vine FX have furthered their collaboration as a sole vendor on the second series of War of the Worlds, with the instalments premiering on Star (Disney+).

Set in present-day Europe, War of the Worlds is written and created by the BAFTA award winner Howard Overman, (Misfits, Crazyhead, Merlin) based on the timeless story by H.G. Wells. Season Two continues a few months after the initial alien attacks and sees the characters left reeling by the possibility that the invaders could be human.

War of the Worlds Season 2 was the first high-end scripted TV drama to embark on production under Covid-restricted conditions in 2020. Over an eight-month period, Vine FX delivered over 500 shots, with nearly 200 involving 3D elements. Key tasks included the full creation of a CG alien planet environment, adding spaceships across the streets of London as well as building the ship’s interior. All artists and the production team operated remotely throughout the project.

Following Season One’s nomination for a BAFTA and RTS Award for Best Visual Effects, Season Two represented an unheralded collaborative venture across the pandemic, as Vine FX’s Visual Effects Supervisor Michael Illingworth explains. “We were delighted to be engaged on Season Two of War of the Worlds, especially as it was to lead the way in Covid-restricted production,” comments Michael. “This season was CG heavy and the team led by 3D Supervisor Pedrom Dadgostar rose to all the challenges presented by pandemic protocols and home-working. The ‘War of the Worlds’ renowned tension and atmosphere were carried over between seasons, as were the deadly alien robots that were developed and created by the Vine FX team”.

A notable aspect of season two was the creation of the full CG alien planet. The alien humans were the only in-camera element kept within the plates. Executive Producer Julian Murphy’s main objective for this sequence was to convey the realism of the environment, whilst delivering the look of an urban apocalypse. Mountainous terrain was created in CG for texture and depth, with simulated moving water flowing into rivers and running through valleys and lakes. The planet also features a brown dwarf star looming over the horizon.

Scattered spaceships around the streets of London were another major feature throughout the series. The spaceship asset was built in CG, it had to look weathered to represent the alien humans long intergalactic travels, before arriving on Earth. The interior of the spaceship was built partially in-studio and enhanced further using 3D set-extensions to build the constitution of a large and continuous rounded space.

War of the Worlds has been renewed for a third season with production already well underway and Vine FX’s involvement already confirmed. The third season is due to air in 2022.

Jon Creamer

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