May 29th, 2013

'The Fields' is a short film, written and directed by Duncan Guymer and produced by Spencer Friend. The film sits within the Sci-Fi Thriller genre, featuring bold choreographed fight scenes.

Here Luke Colson (Head of Mill+ Studio) and Hugo Guerra (Head of Nuke) talk through how The Mill came to be part of 'The Fields', the tie-up with Campus i12 and the amount of internal & external collaboration involved.

How did you first get involved with 'The Fields'?

Luke: Spencer Friend at Joyrider sent us the script and asked us if we wanted to get involved. We knew it was a lot of work, but were looking for a project just like this to get stuck into. Spencer was producing a number of commercial projects through The Mill so it seemed like the right time.

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I was introduced to the project by Luke. It was a very interesting project and a great opportunity for the Nuke department to work on a long-term project with a lot of creative input. It was a pleasure to work with Spencer Friend again, and of course it was a sci-fi film set in the future, so our inner geeks were very excited.

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Talk us through the premis of The Fields?

Luke & Hugo: Set in 2510, 'The Fields' depicts the aftermath of a war between rich and poor. With the losing faction forced to live underground, the war has since been long forgotten. The subterranean population believe in a divinely ordained balancing act, in which God infects the most intelligent people with a fungal disease. The underground community then outcasts these individuals to 'The Fields', where their disease takes effect and they seemingly become part of the forest.

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How did Campus i12 get involved?

Luke: Hugo teaches at Campus i12 and we always had a vision to get them involved in a real life project. We discussed the possibility of getting them involved with Duncan the director, and he was all for it. It was an extremely collaborative workflow, and we couldn't have done it without Campus i12, certainly within the time frame we had set aside.

Hugo: It was an excellent opportunity to work with a VFX school like Campus i12 on a live project, I have always taught at VFX schools and one of the biggest problems they face is getting proper production quality material, it's very hard to come by. This gave them a chance to improve their skills as artists with real deadlines and real production quality control from The Mill.

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What role did The Mill play in the final result?

Luke: We took care of every part of the VFX and the post-production process. From grading through to all the roto and comping, and of course the CG elements which include the dissolving man and the epic view from the roof at the end of the film. There are a lot of hidden effects too such as enhancements on gun fire and set extensions.

Hugo: We did 52 visual effects in this project, ranging from wire removal, set extensions, particles effects, gun flashes to almost full matte painting and CGI backgrounds. The Nuke department took care of all VFX conforming, compositing and matte painting. Campus i12 students designed the 3D buildings and vehicles with the supervision of myself, Sofia Delis and Oskar Wahlberg. Grading was then done by Luke Morrison.

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What was it like working with Duncan Guymer?

Luke: Duncan is a clever guy, with a very definite idea of what he wanted us to bring to the table. I know he was blown away with the results and we too are happy with how it all looks.

Hugo: Duncan was amazing, we worked very close and developed all the art direction and CGI design with him. He had amazing references and a very exact idea of the overall look of the film, he is a very creative director and understands the VFX process very well. I can't wait to work with him again.

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What were the highs and lows of the process?

Luke: From a post side, it was sheer volume of work, but with good organisation and a big team, we simply had to put in the hours to get the results. I know that the production had its moments; filming in the pouring rain and having to shoot in the world's narrowest corridors!! That said the whole project ran very smoothly and really was great fun.

Hugo: You couldn't have said it any better. I mean logistically it was hard to work and supervise shots both in Sweden and London, I did travel a lot backwards and forwards, but the effort was really worth it. The final film looks amazing and it wouldn't have been possible without our talented team at The Mill and the amazing work of Campus i12.

You can view The Fields in full here