AEAF 2015 Screen Scene Opens ‘Ripper Street’ Season 3 with a Bang

‘Ripper Street’ Season 3 is a new entry to the AEAF Awards 2015, now in its 19th year and receiving entries. To enter your team’s work, please see the Entry Form on the festival website. To see more entries see the Online Festival.

 When Screen Scene launched into Season 3 of ‘Ripper Street’, the
producers wanted to open the series with a bang. In Episode 1,
a train robbery ultimately leads to a tragic train crash.

Screen Scene Opens ‘Ripper Street’ Season 3 with a Bang

‘Ripper Street’ Season 3 is a new entry to the AEAF Awards 2015, now in its 19th year and receiving entries. To enter your team’s work, please see the Entry Form on the festival website. To see more entries see the Online Festival.

When Screen Scene launched into work on Season 3 of ‘Ripper Street’ TV series, the producers at Amazon Prime made it clear that they wanted to open the series with a bang. Episode 1 builds around a train robbery that ultimately leads to a train crash resulting in 55 deaths.

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As Ripper Street is a period drama set in Whitechapel in the 1890s it was important to extend all wide shots establishing Victorian London. Kenneth Coyne, VFX Production Manager at Dublin’s Screen Scene explained that while the majority of Ripper Street was shot on site at Clancy Barracks in Dublin, the practical shoot for Episode 1 took place near Loughborough in the north of England, on a private hobbyist track surrounded by countryside.

“It was clear all train shots would therefore require set extensions,” he said. “Our first undertaking was to cover and plan the principle photography collection of the required data and photography assets to help build and extend upon.

“Our next phase, probably one of the most important ones, was to gather accurate period references. This began with plotting the route of our stories journey on a period map to understand the geography of the environments we would be creating in VFX. This is always a challenge as there is little photographic references of many parts of London during that period. Once these references were gathered we were able to concept and plot out each shot and see if we needed to embellish the environment for dramatic effect.”

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This is best shown in the opening shot of the breakdown, the dock train terminal. This is St Katherine’s Dock on the Thames. The overall geography is correct, with the River running in the background and a dock on the left where ships would unload their cargo onto a train. However as there was very little reference to this particular dock area, the team aesthetically placed period factory buildings and furnishings to create the feel of a busy working area. 

The process of creating most of the shots in the breakdown was to begin with a 3D blockout of the environment to ensure scale, perspective and the basic layout. From there, a matte painter would paint on textures and details to each building and the surrounding cityscape. In many cases, because the camera was moving, this required 2.5D projections or 3D shots. CG water was created for our CG ship to sit on. Crowd duplication was done using 2D cards of extras, separately shot on green screen and placed about the environment performing shot-appropriate actions.

“There were many shots within the train sequence and the episode which took place on the Dublin Leman Street set,” Kenneth said. “As in previous years, we extended the environments to a rustic, authentically grubby Whitechapel. As with all work on the show, from art deptment to VFX, the texture and tone were key to maintain the Whitechapel palette.

“Our mandate has always been to be technically, geographically and period accurate with an emphasis on aesthetically pleasing work. We believe this year’s Ripper Street Visual Effects has met that brief. We are very proud of our achievement.”  www.screenscene.ie

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