PLANET X FX | creative visual effects

Projects

    • The Resistance Banker  2018
      [In production] Feature film
    • Orange Fever  2018
      [In production] Feature film
    • Doris  2017
      [In production] Feature film
    • A Gentle Creature  2017
      Feature film
    • Storm: Letter of Fire  2017
      Feature film
    • Public Works  2015
      Feature film
    • Feature film
    • Feature film
    • The Longing  2017
      Feature film
    • De Premier  2017
      Feature film
    • Layla M  2016
      Feature film
    • The Day My Father Became a Bush  2016
      Feature film
    • Feature film
    • Feature film
    • Feature film
    • Documentary
    • Borgman  2013
      Feature film
    • Feature film
    • Matterhorn  2013
      Telefilm
    • Exit  2013
      Telefilm
    • Feature film
    • Oom Henk  2012
      Telefilm
    • Feature film
    • Feature film
    • Feature film
    • Pizza Maffia  2011
      Feature film
    • Dusk  2010
      Feature film
    • Animated short
    • Feature film
    • Feature film
    • Storm Bound  2007
      Feature film
    • The doom of the SS van Imhoff  2018
      [In production] Documentary
    • Klem  2016
      Psychological thriller
    • Toren C 6  2016
      Comedy series
    • A'DAM - E.V.A. 3  2016
      Drama series
    • Betrayal 3  2015
      Psychological thriller
    • Undercover  2015
      Telefilm
    • Drama series, 8 episodes
    • Toren C 1-5  2014
      Comedy series
    • Betrayal 2  2013
      Psychological thriller, 10 episodes
    • Drama series, 7 episodes
    • Family series, 13 episodes
    • Betrayal  2011
      Psychological thriller, 12 episodes
    • NOFF 2010  2010
      Viral Nederlands Online Film Festival
    • Kwik-Fit  2006
      Internet commercial
    • Caro Emerald - The Ghost of You  2017
      [In production] Music video
    • The Day My Father Became a Bush  2016
      Feature film
    • Title design
    • Clean Hands  2015
      Title design
    • Ventoux  2015
      Title design
    • Kidnep  2015
      Title design
    • In the Heart  2015
      Title design
    • Documentary
    • Opening title for drama series, 3 episodes
    • The Dinner  2013
      Title design
    • Title design
    • Music video
    • Projections on backscreen
    • In depth article on on-set graphics

Select your language

NL | EN

Feature films

De Geheimen van Barslet

2012  Waterland Film, director Boris Paval Conen

Waterland Film and director Boris Paval Conen contacted Planet X FX early in 2010 for the ambitious, seven-part drama series 'De Geheimen van Barslet'. The participating broadcasting companies are the NCRV and NTR.

The key moment in the series is a rain of fish, lasting 30 to 60 seconds, on the village square of Barslet, a scene that recurs in every episode. All seven main characters in the series experience this miraculous happening in their own way. The viewer follows each character individually, but the rain on the village square connects them all. It was up to Planet X FX to find a way to make these raining fish scenes convincing.

An extensive preparatory process began. The way the camera would be used for the series required that different ways of shooting be possible and that the post-production would give a limited number of restrictions. Because most of the fish rain had to be added in post-production, it was necessary to look for techniques that would not exclude handheld shots with close cuts and chaotic movements. This meant that almost every shot had to be trackable.

Another challenge was the hybrid that Planet X FX proposed. To realise the rains, both the CG fish, which were to be made in post-production and added, and the rubber fish on the set would be used. These rubber fish (about 2,500 in total) were used on the set on shooting days to strew the square once the rain had passed, and the characters in the series walked around or through them. The intensity of the rain was increased in the post-production/CG, so that the fish were dumped from the heavens from far in the background and interacted with roofs, trees and other objects they encountered while falling.

A second test phase had to point out where the set should end and where the CG fish would take over. At the same time, the use of two cameras would be tried out in real life. Because the rubber fish were unavailable at that time and objects with a reasonable size, but that could safely fall on someone's head without appearing too fake (such as ping pong balls) were needed, bread rolls were chosen. They met all of the requirements.

The CG fish were created with simulation software that was designed in house. So-called 'soft body' models that were pliable and could be contorted were used. The CG fish bounced somewhat more than real, that is, dead fish would, and therefore they did not differ too greatly from the fish on the set. Random loops in the fishes' movements made the fish appear to jump up and thrash about once they reached the ground. All fish reacted realistically to objects with which they collided or which they interacted with. To do so it was necessary to reproduce in the 3D scenes the objects (benches, roofs, trees, cars) occurring on screen. In addition, for each scene it was determined in what layers (foreground, middleground, background) the rain would be built up.

In the compositing these layers were integrated in a way that they coincided with the shot. Part of the open plan for the visual effects within this project was the avoidance of the use of blue and green screens on the set. This meant a substantial amount of rotoscoping, whereby each shot was deconstructed on the basis of the different layers creating depth. This gave the necessary control over focus, colour and other integration factors. Splashes, camera shakes and changes in light were added to the shots to enhance the realism of the fish rain.

Many shots from after the rain, when the village square is buried under the fish, were provided with matte paintings in order to fill the roofs and gutters sufficiently.

Aside from the fish rains, which contain a total of about 270 manipulated shots, Planet X FX provided 140 other shots in the series with visual effects.

Title van video
Caption
Visual effects breakdown

Before and after comparisons, behind-the-scenes footage and different stages of development reveal the secrets of the rain of fish we created using Maxon's Cinema 4D and Adobe After Effects.

Title van video
Caption
The 'bread roll test'

Seven shots, representative of the diversity of shots in the final series. Among others, the master shot, the shot with a handheld camera and from a car. First the end result, then a comparison between, on the left, the shots before manipulation and, on the right, the end result.


Title van video
Caption
Cameratest with A and B camera

A few simple camera tests led to the decision to attach an extra, smaller prosumer camera to the main camera. This camera always shot the wide-angle shot so that there was enough reference information in it for the CG animators. The A-camera could therefore shoot a close shot with little depth of field and many chaotic movements. The reference camera, camera B, ensured that a virtual (3D) camera track could be taken from the material. The lens and frame of this 3D camera would subsequently be made to coincide with the shot from the A-camera so that the CG fish, once placed in the scene, would interact with the real world accurately, no matter what camera movements were made.


Title van video
Caption
Practical rubber fish used during shoot

During the shoot rubber fish were strewn by a team of 'fish handlers' in several tower wagons on and around the actors and other objects (such as cars). This took some of the burden off the visual effects in the sense that no complicated collisions and such needed to be simulated.


Title van video
Caption
Simulation tests

An early test of the underlying dynamic fish animation system.


Title van video
Caption
The teaser from 'De Geheimen van Barslet'

'De Geheimen van Barslet' tells the story of mysterious events that happen in the idyllic village of Barslet. Miraculous events hold the villagers in their grip. A boy dies in strange circumstances, a small child predicts the future, it rains fish in broad daylight and an arsonist roams the streets. Eight villagers keep a secret that sheds a new light on these baffling events. What is going on in the village of Barslet?