Lost In Space VFX Breakdown Done By Cinesite Studios
Cinesite worked closely with production VFX supervisor Jabbar Raisani and reunited with VFX producer Terron Pratt (Black Sails) to deliver over 160 VFX shots split over 4 episodes for the updated Lost in Space series.
In the year 2046, stranded light years from their destination and having encountered a rip in spacetime, the Robinson family find themselves on an unknown planet, where they must come together to survive.
Cinesite’s in-house VFX Supervisor Aymeric Perceval: “Although many of the team were too young to remember the original 1960s series, many had seen the 1998 film with Gary Oldman and Matt Leblanc. Space ships, robots and alien worlds are some of the reasons many of them got excited about VFX in the first place, so the opportunity to work on this 4k Netflix series was a real privilege. Even with the division of our shots into episodes, it never felt like we were working on a TV show. The visual expectations were as high as for a movie and we were given the breathing room by the client to make that happen.”
One of the main aspects of the team’s work was the creation of a crashed alien ship, which we see in several episodes, revisited over different seasons. Initial shots show the ship newly crashed on the surface of the alien planet, with the vegetation still smouldering around it.
The production team’s artwork and conceptualisation for the ship was fairly well advanced, but we wrapped up the design, enhancing the idea of metallic slatted scales, adding gold trims and hieroglyphs, guns and ridges. Crashed vehicles were referenced for the ripping apart, bending and denting of the structure and metallic scale surface; the damage to the ship reveals internal alien machinery.
Live action photography was filmed near Vancouver, British Columbia, with the environment enhanced at Cinesite with various 2D elements to create floating embers, fires and smoke and 3D elements for debris and burning vegetation. Subtle indications of the other-worldly nature of the planet were created by adding alien trees and iridizations to the surface of the lake.
In an exciting sequence from the second episode, the Robinson family seeks to outrun an approaching storm. The “Black Diamond Hailstorm” is a sinister onslaught of lethal shiny, dark shards falling from the sky.
Aymeric: “On one hand, we had complex shots inside the storm requiring the readability of hundreds of falling sharp black diamonds hitting the ground in a dark environment filled with flying grit, as well as backgrounds enhanced by DMP skies and CG moving vegetation. Ultimately, these shots represented a lot of dark elements in a dark environment, but the compositing team managed to balance everything together beautifully, keeping the focus on the cast and the action.”
The team also completed work on several other sequences.