China Moo-Young, Kari Skogland, Sunu Gonera, Rebecca Johnson
Amanda Tudesco, Steve Clark-Hall, Erin Mitchell
Lionsgate, Character 7, Carpool Entertainment
30th June 2019
By all means, watch the opening episode of The Rook. It's a beautifully made, neo-noir espionage thriller.THE GLOBE AND MAIL
After waking up surrounded by dead bodies and no memory, Myfanwy Thomas is thrown into the world of the Checquy, a paranormal secret service where she’s a high-level operative known as a ‘Rook’ – and no one can be trusted. Watch ‘The Rook’ on Starz.
As the lead vendor on ‘The Rook’, DNEG was responsible for a range of VFX throughout the series, delivering around 200 shots in total across more than 50 sequences. The majority of the work involved ‘invisible’ VFX, including set extensions, building top ups, blood additions and monitor inserts. DNEG also creatively led the manifestations of two of the main character’s ‘abilities’ as well as a sequence involving a fully CG bird whose wings are contorted by electrical currents.
One of DNEG’s key sequences featured seven shots of a CG bird whose wings are spread out and contorted unnaturally, due to the abilities of the lead character Myfanwy. We had to ensure the bird looked photorealistic and was naturalistic in its movements. However, due to the unnatural pose it ended up in, the team built a custom rig in order to get the performance wanted. The bird was then comped into a practical cage.
DNEG was also tasked with creating and developing the look of one of the main characters’ ‘abilities’. The character in question emits a sonic boom type shockwave, which temporarily deafens all those around her. The main challenge for this was working out how to convey an audio-based ability visually, whilst keeping it relatively subtle. We generated a pulsing effect to show the power emanating, but also displayed the effect by adding ripples and falling leaves to the nearby trees.
Finally, DNEG developed the look of another key part of the show – chunks of ‘Fulgurite’ shards, which were fossilised remnants of the lead characters ability. Practical rocks were replaced with ones that appeared more mystical and crystalline in nature. To achieve this, we referred to the physical properties of a number of real crystals, then built a CG version of the ‘Fulgurite’ and comped sections of it onto the practical rocks, which shimmered when they moved.
Watch the featurette below to find out more about the show.