Planet X FX

the eighties called...

Please hold the line while we transfer you back to late 80s Amsterdam... For this 6 episode First Dutch Netflix Original Series, we had the pleasure to work on a wide variety of VFX shots.

To sell the late 1980s we adjusted, replaced or removed a lot of modern elements in the street scenes, like cars, street signs, telephone boxes and added street waste, unfortunately a typical sign of late 80s Amsterdam.

Enjoy the VFX breakdown below for an overview of work done for Dirty Lines.

Dirty Lines vfx breakdown

In the opening the first episode we see a guy nearly - very nearly - driving his brand-new Ferrari into the harbour. To pull this stunt off, we shot reverse footage: a pullback starting at the edge of the water and ending some hundred meters away. Into the match-moved reverse of that, we added our CG Ferrari. Then lots of elements to make the CG a believable part of the scene: rain on the car, splashes on the tarmac, smoke underneath the tires, sparks scraping off the cement.

Ferrari short clip showing the passes and elements involved
virtual production in dirty lines

The Ferrari scene was created with multiple techniques of shooting to arrive at a convincing end result. Due to the high value of the precious vintage car, we had to be creative in how we could translate the scene -in which Frank drives the Ferrari in the drink- from script to screen.

Learn more on the use of ICVFX for this purpose by clicking the Virtual Production/ICVFX tab.

the hand that rocks the crowd

A few scenes are set in the internationally famous Amsterdam nightclub the RoXY (1987-1999). Shot during the coronavirus, we duplicated and added the dancing crowds by combining multiple passes of the same group of extras into wide establishing overviews of the club.

The giant hands looming over the crowd and seemingly controlling their movement, were a typical decor element of the RoXY after the design of Matthew Whitehead. They were recreated in 3D, lit matching the scene and added to the shots.

The RoXY club with crowd duplication and added 3D CG 'hands' that were present in the original club around that time as well.

Especially challenging was shooting several passes of the dancing crowd in the dynamic, fast moving and flashing lights of the club. Each pass had to seamlessly connect to the one next to it in the final result, and would the lights not be in sync and thus behave differently in all passes, that goal would be unachievable.

In order to prevent this, plans were made to link the designed light plan to the music that was played back during the recording of the shots, so the lights would repeat their program exactly the same, every time. The timecode source that controlled this synced playback was also stored in the metadata of the recorded camera clips to make it easier to sync them later during post-production.

We made use of Planet X Technologies' in-house DeepSpace VR system to previs the scene and make sure we would be able to make the passes work with the right lenses and conditions.

To calculate the different angles, lenses and fields of view and make sure the later-to-be-added CG hands would fit in the scene, diagrams were created to share with the creative heads of departments.
Using VR, we could also see beforehand how many extras would be needed to make the club appear crowded. Useful information in times of the coronavirus, where a limited number of extras on set needed to be duplicated by shooting multiple passes.
busy lines

To show the mayhem of loads and loads of telephone lines all connecting to the Teledutch company when it suddenly becomes immensely popular, we created this crazy-fast camera move following one line, then two, then three, ending in too many lines to count.

Along the way we fly through cracks in walls, seams between wooden floor-planks, holes in switchboards, dust puffs and spiderwebs.

Wireframe render of the countless phone lines we fly through