January 14, 2022

Around the World in 80 Days Soars with VFX from MPC Film & Episodic

Visual effects bring historical reality and visual sweep to Jules Verne’s globe-spanning adventure.

  • MPC Film & Episodic won a 2022 Genie Award – Best Visual Effects - TV Fiction – at Paris Images Digital Summit this month.

Around the World in 80 Days is an adaptation of Jules Verne's classic novel that tells the story of Phileas Fogg's (David Tennant) crazy challenge: to circumnavigate the globe in eighty days. He will need all the resilience he can muster and the assistance of quick-witted Frenchman Passepartout (Ibrahim Koma). Joining them on the journey is Abigail Fix (Leonie Benesch), the journalist who came up with the outrageous idea.

The new series, created by Ashley Pharoah and Caleb Ranson, premiered in France and Germany over the holidays, followed by the UK and other countries. Beginning January 2, it’s being broadcast Sunday nights on Masterpiece PBS.

The epic journey that travels the globe takes place over eight 47-minute episodes, and Technicolor’s MPC Film & Episodic team was there at the beginning, producing visual effects for the first three episodes set in England, France, Italy and the Middle East, as well as the exciting last two episodes set in the United States.

Under the overall supervision of Jean-Louis Autret, and the leadership of VFX producer Delphine Lasserre and VFX supervisor Hugues Namur, MPC Film & Episodic teams in Paris and Bangalore worked on nearly 350 VFX shots, creating the visual effects to reflect the historical reality of the time and environments.

Here are some highlights:

  • For the sequences taking place in England, London settings had to be digitally recreated to match the reality of the period. During the crossing of the English Channel, the water was recreated in 3D FX and the scenery was overlaid on a blue background.
  • During the sequence taking place in France, the Parisian scenery, such as the Hôtel de Ville, the Gare du Nord and the landscape overflown by the balloon, had to be digitally reconstituted. MPC artists completed the balloon, partially built on set, as spectators travelled through idyllic settings.
  • For the sequences in Italy, the balloon was entirely recreated digitally and integrated into the landscape. For the train journey, MPC teams overlaid corresponding scenery on images initially shot on a blue background.
  • For the Middle East journey, landscape creations and extensions were necessary to immerse the audience in the burning atmosphere of the desert. A sandstorm was digitally generated as well as a fire with great attention to detail and the artistic vision of the creators.
  • Finally, when crossing America by horse-drawn carriage, the snow-covered mountains of the Midwest were recreated in 2D matte painting. For the sequence in New York City, sets such as the Brooklyn Bridge were digitally created in 3D, for the characters to admire from a boat and the streets of the city that never sleeps.

In addition to VFX, image post-production was carried out by MPC Film & Episodic teams in Paris. This included DI, mastering, conformation, and color grading – as well as delivery in various languages to ensure the series could be seen and appreciated by as many people as possible globally.

An international production, Around the World in 80 Days was produced by Slim Film + Television (UK) and Federation Entertainment (FR), as well as the European Alliance formed by France Télévisions, ZDF (Germany) and RAI (Italy), and a dozen other production companies based around the world.

Go behind the scenes and check out the VFX Breakdown behind Episode 1 of Around the World in 80 Days.