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  • RSP Delivers Explosive VFX for “Game of Thrones” Finale

    For the finale of season six of HBO’s smash hit Game of Thrones¸ Rising Sun Pictures faced a formidable challenge: replicate the sprawling city of King’s Landing and its central shrine, the Great Sept of Baelor, and then burn them to the ground in a magical, green-hued inferno.

    New to the Game of Thrones production team, RSP created visual effects for several episodes of the show’s recently concluded sixth season. Most of the work centred on King’s Landing and the Sept as artists produced photo-realistic CG set extensions and architectural enhancements that were blended with location footage to create the luxurious, walled city overlooking the sea.

    “King’s Landing is based on Dubrovnik, a Croatian city on the Adriatic that has many beautiful, medieval buildings,” recalls VFX Producer Richard Thwaites. “A lot of our early work involved wide views of the city, as well as internal and external views of the Sept (which is based on Fort Manoel in the Maltese town of Gżira).” For several of those shots, artists also filled city environments with animated digital crowds, representing members of a religious cult led by the High Sparrow.

    The goal throughout was not only to match the look of the practical locations, but to do so in a way that appeared thoroughly real. “Game of Thrones is a fantasy, but the aesthetic is highly realistic,” explains VFX Supervisor Hubert Maston. “The realism carries through in the design, the weight and dimension of the architecture and the atmosphere of the environments.”

    In the season finale, the Great Sept of Baelor and a large portion of King’s Landing is destroyed as the widowed Queen Cersei Lannister exacts revenge on her rivals. A store of wildfire below the Sept ignites, causing an explosion that fills its tunnels with flames. The blast brings down statues of the city’s seven kings. Everyone inside the building is killed and the Sept collapses. Nearby structures are also engulfed in the inferno.

    “One reason that the scene is so shocking is that it seems so real,” says Thwaites. “The explosion happens from inside out and seems so powerful that you believe it can take out everything in its surroundings.”

    Achieving that level of realism was made more difficult by the wildfire’s signature green hue. “The fire you are used to seeing is a mix of very hot colours…orange, yellow, bright red,” explains Maston. “When you turn it green, it doesn’t seem so hot. We had to completely reimagine it to create fire that looks like fire and yet not like fire at the same time. We remapped the light, colour and texture and, through trial and error, came up with a look that is both aesthetically pleasing and convincing.”

    The explosion also causes the demise of the High Sparrow. Flames bursting through the Sept’s mosaic floor, incinerating him. “It’s a fully digital replacement,” notes Thwaites. “It has muscle, skin, bones and internal organs…all of which blow up in just a few frames.”

    “The fire works its way through his body in layers,” Maston adds. “You see his skin peeling off and bones breaking off. It was pretty gruesome but a key moment for the final episode in the season.”

    The initial airing of the finale drew the largest audience in the show’s history. Rising Sun Pictures did its part to ensure loyal fans had plenty to marvel at.

    View the sequence as it aired below:

    RSP Delivers Explosive VFX for “Game of Thrones” Finale

    For the finale of season six of HBO’s smash hit Game of Thrones¸ Rising Sun Pictures faced a formidable challenge: replicate the sprawling city of King’s Landing and its central shrine, the Great Sept of Baelor, and then burn them to the ground in a magical, green-hued inferno.

    New to the Game of Thrones production team, RSP created visual effects for several episodes of the show’s recently concluded sixth season. Most of the work centred on King’s Landing and the Sept as artists produced photo-realistic CG set extensions and architectural enhancements that were blended with location footage to create the luxurious, walled city overlooking the sea.

    “King’s Landing is based on Dubrovnik, a Croatian city on the Adriatic that has many beautiful, medieval buildings,” recalls VFX Producer Richard Thwaites. “A lot of our early work involved wide views of the city, as well as internal and external views of the Sept (which is based on Fort Manoel in the Maltese town of Gżira).” For several of those shots, artists also filled city environments with animated digital crowds, representing members of a religious cult led by the High Sparrow.

    The goal throughout was not only to match the look of the practical locations, but to do so in a way that appeared thoroughly real. “Game of Thrones is a fantasy, but the aesthetic is highly realistic,” explains VFX Supervisor Hubert Maston. “The realism carries through in the design, the weight and dimension of the architecture and the atmosphere of the environments.”

    In the season finale, the Great Sept of Baelor and a large portion of King’s Landing is destroyed as the widowed Queen Cersei Lannister exacts revenge on her rivals. A store of wildfire below the Sept ignites, causing an explosion that fills its tunnels with flames. The blast brings down statues of the city’s seven kings. Everyone inside the building is killed and the Sept collapses. Nearby structures are also engulfed in the inferno.

    “One reason that the scene is so shocking is that it seems so real,” says Thwaites. “The explosion happens from inside out and seems so powerful that you believe it can take out everything in its surroundings.”

    Achieving that level of realism was made more difficult by the wildfire’s signature green hue. “The fire you are used to seeing is a mix of very hot colours…orange, yellow, bright red,” explains Maston. “When you turn it green, it doesn’t seem so hot. We had to completely reimagine it to create fire that looks like fire and yet not like fire at the same time. We remapped the light, colour and texture and, through trial and error, came up with a look that is both aesthetically pleasing and convincing.”

    The explosion also causes the demise of the High Sparrow. Flames bursting through the Sept’s mosaic floor, incinerating him. “It’s a fully digital replacement,” notes Thwaites. “It has muscle, skin, bones and internal organs…all of which blow up in just a few frames.”

    “The fire works its way through his body in layers,” Maston adds. “You see his skin peeling off and bones breaking off. It was pretty gruesome but a key moment for the final episode in the season.”

    The initial airing of the finale drew the largest audience in the show’s history. Rising Sun Pictures did its part to ensure loyal fans had plenty to marvel at.

    View the sequence as it aired below:

    Credits & Crew
    Director:
    Jack Bender & Miguel Sapochnik
    VFX Producer:
    Steve Kullback
    VFX Supervisor:
    Joe Bauer
    Rising Sun Pictures:
    Aaron Fickling Adam Potter Alana Newell Albert Radosevic Alexander Meddick Alwyn Hunt Andrew Clarke Andrew Palmer Andrew Peel Anissa Senoussi Anne Vu Anthony Smith Anto Bond Anu Vijayan Ashleigh White Ben Dickson Benjamin Holen Benjamin Paschke Brodie Mccrossin Bryn Bayliss Chelsea Mirus Christopher Janssen Claire Kearton Craig Field Damien Thaller Daniel Harkness Daniel Schneider Daniel Thompson Daniel Velikov Daniel Wills David Cattermole Dean Richichi Dylan Binns Emma Hildestrand Gabriel Roccisano Gemma Wood Greg Wieder Hao Truong Harry Medlin Heath Dingle Hubert Maston Jack French Jess Burnheim Jesse Balodis Jillian Brooks Johan Gabrielsson John Perrigo John Toth Jonathon Coy Jongwon Pak Joshua Kelly Julien Taton Kenneth Stewart Kevin Campbell Kieran Shepherd Kurt Debens Makoto Hatanaka Marcus Bain Mark Story Marko Perendija Matthew Shaw Melissa Sheldrick Merinda Janse Van Rensburg Michael Furniss Michael Larue Naeem Chudawala Nathan Zeppel Nicholas Beins Nicholas Deboar Nick Pill Noah Vice Paris Downes Paul Kirwan Paul Taylor Pauline Costantini Peter Dudley Peter Jurca Pim Shaitosa Eklow Quentin Medda Rajbir Dhalla Ranajoy Kar Ranjith Kizhakkey Richard Thwaites Roberto Genito Ryan Grobins Ryan Kirby Sam Hancock Sam Hodge Saptarshi Chakraborty Shane Aherne Shawn Mccarten Silvio Alberti Simon Herden Sophie Beck Stellios Cypreos Sven Lundin Thomas Cant Ting-Yun Lu Tor Andreassen Zoe Lamaera
    Director:
    Jack Bender & Miguel Sapochnik
    VFX Producer:
    Steve Kullback
    VFX Supervisor:
    Joe Bauer
    Rising Sun Pictures:
    Aaron Fickling Adam Potter Alana Newell Albert Radosevic Alexander Meddick Alwyn Hunt Andrew Clarke Andrew Palmer Andrew Peel Anissa Senoussi Anne Vu Anthony Smith Anto Bond Anu Vijayan Ashleigh White Ben Dickson Benjamin Holen Benjamin Paschke Brodie Mccrossin Bryn Bayliss Chelsea Mirus Christopher Janssen Claire Kearton Craig Field Damien Thaller Daniel Harkness Daniel Schneider Daniel Thompson Daniel Velikov Daniel Wills David Cattermole Dean Richichi Dylan Binns Emma Hildestrand Gabriel Roccisano Gemma Wood Greg Wieder Hao Truong Harry Medlin Heath Dingle Hubert Maston Jack French Jess Burnheim Jesse Balodis Jillian Brooks Johan Gabrielsson John Perrigo John Toth Jonathon Coy Jongwon Pak Joshua Kelly Julien Taton Kenneth Stewart Kevin Campbell Kieran Shepherd Kurt Debens Makoto Hatanaka Marcus Bain Mark Story Marko Perendija Matthew Shaw Melissa Sheldrick Merinda Janse Van Rensburg Michael Furniss Michael Larue Naeem Chudawala Nathan Zeppel Nicholas Beins Nicholas Deboar Nick Pill Noah Vice Paris Downes Paul Kirwan Paul Taylor Pauline Costantini Peter Dudley Peter Jurca Pim Shaitosa Eklow Quentin Medda Rajbir Dhalla Ranajoy Kar Ranjith Kizhakkey Richard Thwaites Roberto Genito Ryan Grobins Ryan Kirby Sam Hancock Sam Hodge Saptarshi Chakraborty Shane Aherne Shawn Mccarten Silvio Alberti Simon Herden Sophie Beck Stellios Cypreos Sven Lundin Thomas Cant Ting-Yun Lu Tor Andreassen Zoe Lamaera

    Tony Clark won an Academy Technical Achievement Award for cineSync.
    Contact us:

    Level 1, 180 Pulteney Street Adelaide, South Australia 5000 Australia

    +61 8 8400 6400 vfxinfo@rsp.com.au

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    Contact us:

    Level 1, 180 Pulteney Street Adelaide, South Australia 5000 Australia

    +61 8 8400 6400 vfxinfo@rsp.com.au

    Sign up to our e-Newsletter
    Follow Us On: