Sometimes in the world of TV, filmmakers can’t quite manage to make it to the exotic locales where their stories are set. It’s a matter of budget, schedules, filming restrictions and the like – but in this modern age it’s hardly a problem, with talented teams of set designers, location scouts and visual effects designers able to recreate anywhere in the world at a cinch.
However, even when series do manage to arrange a trip abroad, there can be issues, as this tale from the set of ITV's Cold Feet makes clear...
In the most recent series, James Nesbitt's character Adam is living in Singapore, and the cast and crew spent some time filming in the island city-state.
However, after the production returned from filming, what they had in the can didn't look quite enough like authentic Singapore – because they had shot the scenes in what looked like 'Englishtown'. English signs, British tourists and more featured in the footage, according to the visual effects maestros of post-production house Molinare.
“They actually did shoot this in Singapore, but for some reason they shot it in 'Englishtown',” Molinare’s Daniel Mark Millar told the crowd at London’s Visual Effects Festival yesterday of a key scene from the smash-hit drama. “You know, we have a Chinatown in London, they have an Englishtown in Singapore."
He added, "When we saw the rushes we thought they actually had filmed this in Manchester, but we only belatedly discovered they really did shoot it in Singapore.”
Mark Millar was tasked with making the scenes actually look like they really were abroad. This meant changing English signs (in actuality how they would normally appear in English-speaking Singapore) to Chinese, adding specific buildings into the background and removing both telltale road markings and British tourists, all to create the illusion that the production had filmed, er, where it had actually filmed.
“We had to make it look a bit more like Singapore – given it was Singapore,” Mark Millar explained.
Daniel Mark Millar was speaking at The VFX Festival run by Escape Studios. The company teaches students the art of film-making and specifically VFX/animation.