The team behind “Harry Potter & The Goblet of Fire” and “Charlie & The Chocolate Factory” created the controversial visual effects sequence in “V For Vendetta” where famous landmarks of London’s establishment are blown to pieces, to the music of the 1812 Overture.
Their work involved weeks of architecture and building research, construction of the massive 30-foot high 10th scale models at Shepperton Studios, model unit photography and compositing of the models into background footage of London. The realistic model and digital effects make the disturbing sequence highly convincing and will leave cinema-goers wondering “How did they do that?”
Set in a futuristic London, V For Vendetta tells the story of freedom fighter “V” rebelling against a fascist state, the result of England losing the Second World War. With a campaign focused on fighting the oppressive authorities with acts of terrorism, “V” attempts to convince the suppressed English people to rise up and rebel. V’s acts of terrorism include the spectacular destruction of the Houses of Parliament and the Old Bailey.
Model Unit Supervisor Jose Granell supervised the construction and unit photography for “V For Vendetta.” He undertook tests with different strengths of explosives, studying the internal and external architecture of the real buildings to establish how fast the explosions would travel and which areas would detonate first. Dictates of the explosion choreography affected the mix of the pyrotechnic and plaster recipes. All of this attention to detail ensured that the final result would be eerily accurate.
In a nerve-wracking finale to weeks of extensive testing and modelling, it was time to detonate the massive models. The model explosions were filmed on Shepperton’s 30,000 square foot H stage, using a motion control camera, a special computerized film camera adapted to make repeatable and intricate moves that are necessary when filming major visual effects sequences. The explosions, filmed in various passes, were so loud that they were audible outside of the studios.
Cinesite supplied all of the visual effects for the film, Directed by James McTeigue. “V For Vendetta” is due for simultaneous US and UK release on Friday March 17, 2006.
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