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Penny's Shadow

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  • Director
    Steven de Jong
  • Release
  • Producer
    Penny's Shadow Filmfonds
    Klaas de Jong
  • Visual effects supervisor
    Albert van Vuure
    Dennis Kleyn
  • Compositing 
    Albert van Vuure
    Frank van der Peet
    Dennis Kleyn
  • Vfx producer
    Violette Kleyn
  • Release
    June 2011, The Netherlands
  • Running time
    100 minutes
  • Format
    shot on 35mm, 2K
  • D.O.P.
    Richard van Oosterhout NSC
  • Editor
    Talia Stone
  • Facility
  • Grading
    Martin Klein

Penny is a popular comic for youthful horse lovers. For the equestrian drama ‘Penny’s Shadow’ by director Steven de Jong and producer Klaas de Jong, Planet X FX made more than 250 shots.

Together with the artists for the comic Penny, Planet X FX worked on the shots in which a scene or situation ‘freezes’ and transforms into a drawing in the familiar style of the comic. In this way, important moments in the film are ‘captured’ on paper.

The horses proved to be a challenge of their own. Filming with animals is often difficult, and the horses could not perform most of the action needed for the film without a trainer next to or on them. This meant that Planet X FX had a complicated removal job, with the trainers needing to be digitally removed from many shots. In the scene where the horse Shadow breaks free, the trainer literally had to be removed frame by frame. 

In addition, Planet X FX placed horses that were filmed loose in front of a green screen into the scene. A studio shoot with the horses allowed Planet X FX to place, with a great deal of control, specific action into the scene afterwards.

Visual effects breakdown

Planet X FX animated several sketches for the film's opening and removed the animal handlers who needed to be in close proximity to the horses. Also, many shot were created by combining chromakey studio shots with background plates shot on location. The visual effects breakdown shows a small collection of shots Planet X FX created for the show.

Animated pencil drawings

A test to see how the drawings in the film can gain depth to eventually transform seamlessly into film shots. The artists had to base their drawings on the filmed images and had to deconstruct all dimensions creating depth so that a sense of perspective could be created.