The MR. X team, Emmy-nominated for Outstanding Visual Effects on Vikings, joins another action-packed, episodic period adventure from A+E Networks.
Knightfall on A+E’s History Channel goes deep inside the clandestine world – the medieval politics and warfare – of the Knights Templar. In the new season two, Mark Hamill joins the cast as Talus, charged with training the next generation of the legendary military order.
Also joining Knightfall this season is Technicolor’s MR. X, who have a long-standing relationship with A+E from working on multiple seasons of Vikings, for which they were Emmy-nominated for Outstanding Special Visual Effects. Knightfall, another action-filled period piece – with all that requires in terms of visual effects – is the type of large-scale television event that MR. X specializes in along with its feature film work.
Over the course of eight one-hour episodes, MR. X had the opportunity to work on all types of shots and visual effects, from fight scenes, stunts, and fire, to massive crowd simulations.
“Though the show was shot in Prague – using real castles as authentic sets and locations – other times it was shot on a backlot with MR. X providing set extensions and other visual effects work,” relates VFX Supervisor Jay Randall. “For instance, for certain scenes, we did a lot of crowd work to add more people to the medieval French countryside.”
As with most episodic productions today, quality expectations are at feature film-level, even when schedules and budgets are not. To ensure the highest quality, MR. X was involved early on with the show, working with everyone on the team from the showrunner and writers to multiple directors, producers, and cinematographers.
“Jay created a smooth working relationship between MR. X and Knightfall,” says Peter Sadowski, VP, production, A+E Studios. “His working knowledge coupled with director respect offered creative solutions in a production friendly environment.”
“With a show like Knightfall, we may touch every aspect of it,” adds Randall, “so being involved right from the beginning, during preproduction, we can add that much more to the show. We can do things with VFX that others might not be aware of, or even advise how to shoot something, such as the ‘burning at the stake’ scene in episode two. Because no actual fire was involved – we said upfront we could do it all in CG – a lot of time was saved without adding cost or sacrificing quality.”
While most of the VFX work was handled by MR. X in Montreal, they also leveraged the crowd simulation expertise at MR. X Toronto, and additional compositors from Technicolor’s MPC – making Knightfall a family affair.
Watch the trailer as the Middle Ages come charging back to life!