Australia’s Alt.vfx is celebrating another successful collaboration with director Glendyn Ivin, with all episodes of The Lost Flowers of Alice Hart new available to stream on Amazon Prime Video.
Starring Sigourney Weaver, Alycia Debnam-Carey, Asher Keddie and Leah Purcell, the series is based on Holly Ringland’s book, and tells the story of Alice Hart, who finds her life changing dramatically when her parents die in a mysterious fire and she is sent to live with her grandmother on a flower farm.
Working with Made Up Stories and Fifth Season, the team at Alt helped Ivin and cinematographer Sam Chiplin bring the world of Ringland’s best-selling book to life, working on over 400 shots to bring the project to viewers across the globe.
Led by VFX supervisors Jason Hawkins and Dave Edwards, Alt were onboard the project from script stage, working out the unique challenges that the scripts demanded.
Says Hawkins: “The main focus of our early discussions were locations and how we could do justice to Holly’s book. For the Thornfield location, because the house was so specific and the flower farm connected to it, it always felt like there would be a large amount of VFX to bring this to life.”
Exploring different options including building partial sets, shooting on stage with digital window replacements, the production eventually found both a wonderful estate and a flower farm, but with one major problem – a 6 hour drive between both.
Through location recces and discussions with both Ivin and Chiplin, Edwards and Hawkins worked out the ideal layout for how these two locations would stitch together and set some guides for how it would be shown/executed.
Says Hawkins: “We conducted a full LiDAR scan of the flower farm so we could rebuild it with all of its imperfections CG. Using drone photogrammetry we then rebuilt the rolling hills outside the estate location and mapped our flower farm to this topology giving us a beautiful combination of the rolling hills of Bickham and the intricate layout of the flower farm.”
Another challenge in the script was the character of June. While Sigourney Weaver was a perfect fit for modern day June, there were quite a few flashback scenes that required her to be 30 years younger. Working closely with Alt’s inhouse digital HMU team – Fixll – and the production HMU team, Hawkins and Edwards found a beautiful combination of some in camera makeup techniques that combined with digital de-aging to find the perfect balance for screen.
As well as various skies and key fixes, another key piece of environment work from Alt was the crater, with an extensive set extension and CG built augmenting a partially suitable locations the team found in the National Park.
Says Edwards: “The crater was shot at different locations around Alice Springs with each location needing VFX work so they would cut together. We created a full CG crater using parts from each location, but then we also had to fill that crater with Sturt Desert peas, an important flower in the story. We could only have the plants in the foreground for interaction, with the rest of the field populated with our digital flower asset, created using photogrammetry scans for realism and variation.”
Says Hawkins: “In the end the result was a perfect project for us. We were able to collaborate closely with production from script to the final grade, extending the reach of all departments involved in a way that feels emotive and (hopefully) invisible.”
Judge for yourself by watching all seven episodes of The Lost Flowers of Alice Hart now on Amazon Prime Video.
For more information on Alt’s work in film and television, contact EP Mark Millar –firstname.lastname@example.org