The Senate Completes 215 Visual Effects Shots on “The Chronicles of Narnia: The Voyage of the Dawn Treader“
January 17, 2011

The Senate Completes 215 Visual Effects Shots on “The Chronicles of Narnia: The Voyage of the Dawn Treader“

London, UK – The Senate Visual Effects has completed 215 shots for the Fox 2000 Pictures/Walden Media holiday motion picture “The Chronicles of Narnia: The Voyage of the Dawn Treader.” Richard Higham, The Senate’s visual effects supervisor on the film, working with The Senate’s visual effects executive producer, Paula Pope, and Ed Randolph, visual effects producer, oversaw 12 sequences.
“The Chronicles of Narnia: The Voyage of the Dawn Treader” opened in theaters everywhere December 10th.
“We were awarded some very challenging and complex sequences and the team was thoroughly energized and up for the challenge,” Richard Higham states. “Our main sequences involved Coriakin’s Library, Cambridge and Ramandu Island, in addition to shots in Lucy’s dressing room, Goldwater Grotto, on board the Dawn Treader and the Lone Island bell tower.”

Two major sequences involved shots in Coriakin's Library which included enhancement of the library, falling snow and Coriakin's invisibility effect. A mixture of CG environments, CG particle work for the snow, CG book pages and full CG models of Coriakin were used throughout the sequence, as well as multiple-plate composites. Other shots involved the creation of a CG three-dimensional map complete with an animated border, moving clouds, waterfalls and a blue star. Combining a mixture of both 2D and 3D effects work, an ordinary set of book shelves was turned into a window onto outer space, complete with magical aurora-type effects and books that file themselves away.

The Ramandu Island sequences were also significant and complex. The Senate created effects for Liliandil, to enhance the idea that the character is a fallen star with ethereal glows and solar flares that are part of her. Another series of complicated shots show the transformation of Liliandil into a star. For shots of Ramandu Island, The Senate’s team replaced blue screens with a fully CG model complete with individual trees, waterfalls, clouds and ruins, combined with ocean plates and a matte painting of night skies. They also created a beam of light that shoots from swords, emphasizing a story point. The beam was created using a mixture of CG particle and fluid effects.

In the Cambridge sequence which opens the movie, The Senate replaced massive blue screens with CG models of World War II era Cambridge and added in CG spitfires. For the Goldwater Grotto, they extended the grotto set using matte paintings and modeled a CG shell and branch, which appear to be organically transformed into gold. On board the Dawn Treader, the team replaced the blue screen outside the ship’s portholes and windows with sea and sky plates, and rain and splash elements were also added to enhance the storm. In Lucy’s dressing room, the visual effects work included a full body morph from Lucy to Susan. For the Lone Island Bell Tower sequence, The Senate created set extensions and enhancements of the bell tower set including extensive roto of all characters and foreground elements.

Visual effects supervisor Angus Bickerton oversaw all the work on “The Chronicles of Narnia: The Voyage of the Dawn Treader” and The Senate was one of the leading visual effects vendors.

The Senate is also announcing that it has opened its new facility in Soho. This studio will augment The Senate’s production facility based at Twickenham Studios. The new space, in the historic De Lane Lea building, will provide clients with a convenient location for shot reviews, screenings and other steps in the process of visual effects work. Joining The Senate team is Harriet Donington as visual effects bidding producer. Her visual effects producing credits include “Vantage Point,” “Shanghai Knights” and “Batman Begins.”

“We are very proud of our work on ‘The Chronicles of Narnia: The Voyage of the Dawn Treader’” says Sarah Hemsley, CEO of The Senate. “Our team is very talented and they enthusiastically embraced the work. Having this new facility is a perfect solution for our clients. The Soho location is convenient for them and also puts us in the middle of London’s thriving visual effects community. Plus De Lane Lea is a hub for London’s filmmaking industry, and has wonderful facilities which The Senate clients and staff can take advantage of.”

The Senate Visual Effects is a ten year old boutique visual effects facility specializing in CG environments and invisible effects. The Senate’s work in “The Da Vinci Code” and “Angels & Demons” was included in both films’ nominations for the Visual Effects Society Awards in the Best Supporting Visual Effects category. They are currently in production “Captain America: The First Avenger” and “Priest.” Recently completed feature work includes “The Chronicles of Narnia: The Voyage of the Dawn Treader” and “Kick Ass.” Other film credits include “From Time to Time,” “My One and Only,” “Hellboy II,” “Stardust,” ”Shanghai” and “10,000 BC.” In addition to “Band of Brothers,” The Senate’s digital environments were key to the success of HBO’s highly-lauded series “Rome” and “Rome II.” Other broadcast credits include “The Life and Death of Peter Sellers”, several episodes of “Lost” and “FlashForward.”