Assassin’s Creed IV Black Flag, Defy

  • Agency Sid Lee Paris ;
  • Production Company Stink;
  • Director Adam Berg;

Adam Berg and MPC create a monumental film for Assassin's Creed ‘Black Flag’ with Sid Lee Paris

Ships burn and men are mercilessly slain in this brutal film for the launch of Assassin's Creed IV, Black Flag. The 90” film, conceived by Sid Lee, will be released in cinemas and on television throughout multiple markets, promoting the hugely popular game to a global audience.

Stink director Adam Berg teamed up with MPC for the trailer, which seamlessly blends epic live action with complex VFX techniques across the full range of disciplines within MPC.

The ambitious project harnessed impressive set builds, including a to-scale ship and a 3,000 cubic metre water tank, as well as a cast of around 100 stunt men. 

MPC’s team, led by VFX wizard Franck Lambertz, collaborated on planning for the three day shoot and then completed the subsequent VFX over a four week schedule.  Led by Adam, the ambition was to capture as much of the action in camera and then integrate bespoke VFX. This is the second collaboration between Franck and Adam in 2013, following the VFX fuelled Samsung ‘King Of TV City.’

Franck said, “Adam was fantastic to work with - he really understands VFX.  Adam chose us to help him create a gritty, yet realistic spot that keeps the authenticity of the game intact. The interaction of the live action footage between the CG and 2D environments is paramount in this film - and we have a high level of detail taking place in both the foreground, mid-ground and in the distance as we pan-up through the ship. The gamers really know their stuff, and they’ll have their eyes peeled for any mistakes or incorrect details.” Franck explained.

During pre-production MPC created a full 3D pre-vis of the ship and the concurrent camera move.  This then allowed Adam more freedom to direct his mammoth cast on set.

The opening scene of an eerie underwater environment was filmed in a tank, purpose built on set.  The floating men were captured on five different plates, which were then composited together before the scene was enhanced with light effects, debris and bubbles. The hull of the boat was created in CG and can be seen as the camera transitions upwards. 

The remaining high-action scenes above water were achieved with a clever mix of in-camera action, along with integrated shot and 2D elements. The intensity of the action required separate plates, utilising green screen and the set, which were then composited together. Matte painting was used throughout for set extensions and boat environments, while the addition of CG fog and smoke elements give the impression that the camera is in the thick of the action.

MPC’s 3D team, led by Fabian Frank, utilised specialty software Houdini to create the realistic particle and water effects from scratch. This was a brand new tool set for the London team, who employed the software for the huge amount of 3D simulated effects in the film.

The final, wide shot was created by MPC’s in-house concept artists who used matte painting to create the stunning scene; complete with burning ships, palm trees and a cloud filled sky.

For the music Stink approached Creaminal, an innovative, Paris based agency who represent an exceptional roster of labels/artists (including major artists: Adele, The XX and The Arctic Monkeys). They came forward with New York based musician Son Lux who had recently scored music for the 2012 film Looper. He had also just finished up on a project with Suftjan Stevens, releasing their efforts under the label Anticon. Clearly inspired by the project he brought an emotive and building piece to the film. 

Credits

  • Agency Sid Lee Paris
  • Production Company Stink
  • Director Adam Berg
  • Executive Creative Director Sylvain Thirache
  • Art Directors Daniel Abensour & Martin Westberg
  • Copywriter Johan Jeansson
  • Agency Production Director Thomas Laget
  • Agency Managing Director Johan Delpuech
  • Account Director Bruno Lee
  • Agency Project Manager Yaël Guetta
  • Production Company Producer (UK) Ben Crocker
  • Production Company Producer (FR) Sylvaine Mella
  • Production Coordinator Clémentine Tatin
  • DoP Mattias Montero
  • Production Designer David Mark Lee
  • Editor Paul Hardcastle @ Trim
  • VFX MPC
  • VFX Producer Chris Allen
  • VFX Line Producer Stephanie Karim
  • VFX Supervisors Franck Lambertz & Fabian Frank
  • VFX Team Ryan Hadfield, Yousuke Matsuno, Andrew Roberts, Giles Hicks, Adam Leary, Levi Peterffy, David Picarda, Eduardo Castells, Mark Robinson, Thomas Carrick, Tim Civil, Tito Fernendes, Tom Rowell, Ajai Verghese John, Bipin Palan P, Ganesh Kimar S, Raju Ganesh S, Vishal Kaushal, Stalin Balin, Rajinikanth R, Ragesh Ramchandran, Deelip Kumar Neerla, Akhil K.P, Venkatesh R
  • Grade MPC
  • Colourist Mark Gethin

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