Charlie Brooker’s critically acclaimed anthology series returns
We were proud to have delivered over 100 shots for Black Mirror Season Five. Our work for the episode ’Rachel, Jack and Ashley Too’ was a bit different to the usual more bleak, dystopian themes of the series.
Starring Miley Cyrus, the episode follows the music industry, the life of international popstar Ashley O and her relationship with her fans – but not everything is as it seems.
“When a show like Black Mirror comes along, the opportunity to work on a series that's held in such high regard is always one that gets the whole crew enthused from the get-go!” said Outpost VFX Producer Josh Sykes.
“With an award that included CG characters, 3D car replacements, and complex green screen car interiors, collaborating with Charlie Brooker and the team was a real pleasure and one that resulted in some outstanding visuals the Outpost team can be very proud of.”
”It was great because I knew both [overall] VFX Supervisor Neil Riley and VFX producer Melody Woodford, so there was a lot of trust there in place already,” said Outpost Head of VFX Andy Morley. ”[Executive Producer] Annabel Jones and Charlie were the creative powerhouses too. Charlie was a really lovely guy, just an energy source of creative fun. It was a really good enjoyable process creatively.”
Our work on the show mainly focused around the animation of Ashley Too, a pint-sized robot based on Ashley O which had two modes: limited (the robot's normal mode) and enhanced (when it had Ashley's consciousness downloaded into it).
"Matching the look of it was a technical exercise in many ways, as we had sequences unique to us but had to match them to other sequences done in the episode completed by Dneg and ETC," says Andy.
In terms of character performance, we had a unique take on animating Ashley Too, "Tessa [el Migli, Animator] and the team acted everything out on chairs with wheels, pretending they were bolted into something they couldn't move out of - to re-create the feeling of being bolted into a dashboard and what would it feel like. We went through all those processes, and I imagined that it would feel like the first time going on a snowboard if your two legs were locked together!"
Speaking about his favourite parts of working on the project, Andy says he particularly loved our animation work, ”I particularly enjoyed the animation stage where Miley Cyrus and the CG doll were having a more direct back-and-forth conversation while the car was hurtling through the city! They kind of switched off from the reality of the chase to their own independent moment. Certainly from an animation point of view, I loved getting into the mind of this animated character.”
Black Mirror is available to stream on Netflix now.