Our VFX work included an elaborate setup to simulate realistic cockpit shots, CG elements such as rockets and other additions and fixes.
With the cooperation of the airforce and extensive access to its impressive fleet, it was possible to shoot many air to air shots with real life jet fighters performing specific actions and manoeuvres.
We reversed the logic on the approach of putting actors into jet fighters as pilots: instead of cockpit setpieces in which actors are shot against a blue or green background (later to be replaced by plates of moving skies), we took a shot of a real and empty cockpit (the second seat behind the pilot steering the aircraft) and placed the actors, shot on a chair in a studio, as an element in it.
The result is a shot that is 70% 'real'; the whole jet cockpit and surrounding (plus all the light interaction between the two) come from an actual shot where the actor is placed into.
We used the existing footage for the leader. We searched for robust, almost abstract shots. We wanted to emphasise the epic feeling. The characters go through (personal) development, we used this aspect in the leader. You will see an F16 on the army base and ultimately up in the air.
Well over 1 million viewers followed the journey of 3 youngsters each week during their challenging training to become F16 pilots for the Royal Netherlands Air Force.