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Storm: Letter of Fire

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  • Director
    Dennis Bots
  • Release
  • Producer
    Phanta Basta!
    Harro van Staverden, Michiel Bartels
  • Visual effects supervisors
    Albert van Vuure, NVX
    Pepijn Schroeijers, NVX 
  • VFX production supervsior
    Dennis Kleyn, NVX

    3D supervsior
    Jasper Scheepbouwer 
  • Compositing
    Frank Taris
    Frank van der Peet
    Pieter Schillemans
    Roel Meijering 
  • VFX edit assistant
    Ruud Vreman
  • VFX producer
    Violette Kleyn

    Title design
    Albert van Vuure
    Roel Meijering
  • Styleframes
    Stijn Windig
  • Release
    January 2017, The Netherlands
  • Running time
    100 min
  • Format
    shot on Arri Alexa, afwerking HD
  • D.O.P.
    Rolf Dekens, NSC
  • Editor
    Peter Alderliesten, NCE
  • Facility
  • Grading
    Fernando Rodrigues
  • Music reel/clip 
    Fons Merkies

Antwerp, 1596. Storm Voeten, son of printer Klaas Voeten, becomes the target of a hunt by the Inquisition. Aided by Marieke, a mysterious girl living in the underground sewers of Antwerp, Storm is caught in a race against time to save his father from death. 

Planet X had the daunting task to resurrect the medieval city of Antwerp, 1521. The VFX crew started by taking a guided tour through Antwerp and discovering its many secret, historic locations. One of them being the extensive sewer system that still runs beneath the city's surface today.

Armed with this knowledge, the team started building a completely 3D, procedural CG Antwerp. Isotropix Clarisse was used to create a city that was divided in different quarters, ranging from poor to rich. Each quarter looked at specific folders containing assets that match the social status of that particular district. Everything from trees to street furniture was also added this way and all in the same 3D environment.

3D procedural city

This technical animation how the build-up of the digital city: houses are first represented by coloured blocks (the colours represent social status) layed out on a map of the medieval city of Antwerp. These blocks are then replaced by more detailed assets of houses ranging from poor to rich. Finally, the city is dressed with trees, street furniture and digital extras.

In one of the film's key scenes, Marieke tells Storm she often risks the perilous climb to the cathedral's tower, the city's highest point, to take in the breathtaking view and contemplate. To realise this scene, two actors were shot in a simple set piece in front of green screen. This footage was used in multiple shots in whoch we orbit the church and see the city below in all it's splendour.

Andere shots behelzen het uitbreiden van achtergronden met matte-paintings, het verrijkende van shots met ‘assets’ zoals schepen in havens en het verwijderen van anachronistische elementen.

The old harbour of Antwerp

Boats and other elements were added to shots of the harbour to enrich the environment.

Historical tour of Antwerp

The Planet X team takes a guided tour through Antwerp's historical city centre. Emphasis was placed on locations that can not be easily identified as historically relevant, but which show, for example, an original section of the old city wall.

Visiting the old sewers

The sewers beneath the city's surface can still be visited (and toured by boat) to this day. For the film, the art department recreated part of the sewers in a studio in Luxembourg.

3D set extensions

Scenes that were set more at street level also often required the help of CG to extend or replace the surrounding. In this case, a cable cam shot was extended by adding 3D houses, roofs and background elements.