Cinesite Wins Emmy for Generation Kill Effects
September 16, 2009

Cinesite Wins Emmy for Generation Kill Effects

Los Angeles - Cinesite has won an Emmy at the 61st Primetime Emmy Awards held in Los Angeles. The company's work on Generation Kill for HBO was awarded in the category Outstanding Achievement In Special Visual Effects for A TV Special Or Miniseries. "We had been competing against our own work on Into The Storm and were therefore guaranteed a win," says a representative.
This is Cinesite’s second Emmy award in the same category, having previously been awarded in 2005 for the highly-acclaimed HBO mini-series Rome. "We had also achieved three nominations for other productions prior to that, and been awarded a Royal Television Society award for Band of Brothers in 2001," says a representative. "Cinesite, known primarily for our feature film visual effects, has had notable success for our high-end television work, particularly over recent years. Currently, we are working on the highly anticipated remake of the cult classic series "The Prisoner" (AMC/ITV), which will broadcast later this year.

"Cinesite created all the visual effects for Generation Kill, which broadcast on HBO in Summer 2008, and on the FX channel earlier this year. It has been announced that Channel 4 acquired the UK rights to the series and it is likely to air on terrestrial television before the end of this year. The seven episode series, based upon the successful book by Evan Wright, follows the First Marine Reconnaissance Battalion, at the spearhead of the American invasion of Iraq in 2003. The action covers a one-month period up to and including the fall of Baghdad, with the story being told at ground level, from the gritty and shocking perspective of the Marine unit traveling in a small convoy of Humvees.

"Wright was embedded with the platoon throughout the initial assaults on Iraq. The production went to great efforts to achieve realism in every respect, filming as much action in camera as possible and using authentic military vehicles and equipment wherever possible. Cinesite worked closely with production Military Adviser Eric Kocher to enhance shots where this was not possible and to recreate the epic scale of battle digitally, on a massive scale. Cinesite’s work included the creation of convoys of photorealistic CGI military vehicles, missiles, burning oil fires, CGI attack aircraft, the destruction of Iraqi cities as the Allies advance and realistically portraying the colossal resources of the American army. All of the visual effects are invisible, in no way detracting from the drama of the historic conflict being depicted.

"Fourteen types of CGI vehicle were created in all, each requiring modeling using accurate imagery and technical data, then complex texturing and animation. Procedural systems were written to create automatic vibration and suspension for the vehicles to give a realistic impression of vehicle weight and movement when driving over hills or bumpy ground. To add further realism, tracks from vehicles traversing dusty and impressionable desert ground were added. Even the dust kicked up by the wheels of the numerous vehicles was recreated digitally. Several key visual effects shots show the scale of US military resources.

"A sequence in the first episode shows the American base Camp Matilda. In one wide establishing shot, the environment is a 3D matte painting, CGI tents have been created and replicated into the distance, and CGI vehicles and soldiers have been added. Another sequence, in episode two, shows the Allies advancing their Humvee towards Iraq in a massive convoy of vehicles. The Humvee travels across an overhead road bridge and we see the soldiers’ view of a wide superhighway, with a multitude of CGI Light Armored Vehicles, tanks, Humvees and supply trucks. This sequence of four shots was immensely challenging: even the environment has been digitally created. The order of the vehicles in the convoy was created as authentically as possible, with careful consultation with military adviser Eric Kocher."

Adam McInnes, Visual Effects Supervisor
Antony Bluff, Visual Effects Producer For Cinesite:
Courtney Vanderslice-Law, Visual Effects Producer
Paul Edwards, Visual Effects Producer
Ken Dailey, Visual Effects Producer
Stephane Paris, CGI Supervisor
David Sewell, Lead Visual Effects
Stuart Partridge, Lead Visual Effects Compositor
Jean-Paul Rovela, Lead CGI Artist