The fourth series of The Crown has been wowing fans for all sorts of reasons since it arrived on Netflix last weekend – with the writing and the performances of The Crown cast both garnering particular acclaim.
And another aspect of the series which is equally impressive, but perhaps hasn’t been singled out for as much praise, is the extensive visual effects work done for the show.
Framestore, an acclaimed VFX company that has previously worked on big-budget films such as Gravity and Blade Runner 2049, provided 230 shots for the new series.
According to Animation XPress, these included creating Buckingham Palace, visualising Ayers Rock, turning Manchester into New York, The British Museum into St Paul’s Cathedral and bringing to life a fully-CG stag.
The creation of the stag, which appears in the third episode of the series, was reportedly one of the most complex challenges for the studio and was crafted by a team of artists led by Andrew Scrase.
Framestore VFX producer Standish Millennas, who had already worked on two previous seasons of the hit royal drama, explained why this presented such a unique challenge.
“Without a doubt, this stag was some of the more ambitious VFX work that Framestore has ever done for The Crown,” she said.
“But the only way it would work was if it was so realistic you didn’t even think about it being digital. Our team did a great job in making this happen by adding tiny details like grass on its antlers or its hair clumping in the rain.”
Speaking more generally about the VFX work for the show, she added, “The role of the extensive environmental VFX work that’s gone into The Crown is exactly that; environmental. It has to establish a scene and make way for the drama and the performances; the things that really make the series what it is.
“This isn’t a fantasy or sci-fi series where the VFX is there to be admired. As soon as it’s noticeable, we’ve not done our job. And I’m pleased to say I don’t think there’s any point in the series where the real and the digital are distinguishable.”