Union VFX - Bridget Jones' Baby

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Union ensure Bridget ‘goes large’ at first festival

Bridget Jones’ Baby saw the - long awaited - return of Helen Fielding’s lovable, London singleton.  Now 43, Bridget has managed to acquire her own flat in Borough Market, finally reach her goal weight and become a successful cable TV news producer, but has not managed to achieve the same success in her romantic endeavours.

While Bridget Jones’ Baby might not instantly seem like a VFX film, Union delivered 167 shots on the film and were involved from pre-production to delivery.

The majority of the work went into ensuring Bridget’s first ever festival experience was epic.  Five years since Bridget’s romance with Mark Darcy ended, friend and TV presenter Miranda decides a music festival is the perfect place for her to turn things around.  

Although the festival is never named, the brief was to give the feel of a spectacularly muddy Glastonbury - the largest greenfield festival in the world attended by around 175,000 people - introduced to the audience by an aerial flyover shot of the huge site complete with enough tents to accommodate the revellers, props, stages, fairground and crowds.

The team had to transition from live action helicopter footage, to full CG environments and then down to live action footage on the ground, which needed to be rebuilt to adjust the camera position over the transition. 

A shoot in West Wycombe park of 200 extras and a small selection of large tents and props to create a perimeter acted as reference for the full, highly detailed, CG festival environments.  

VFX Supervisor Simon Hughes comments: Several other ground based shots required significant set extensions, crowd and compositing work to transport the audience into Bridget and Miranda’s world where navigating the festival site and finding a specific Yurt was significantly challenging in broad daylight - let alone later on.  These shots were accomplished using combination of CG yurts, tents and props created in Maya and Houdini, live action elements, crowd work using Golaem and digital matte paintings composited in Nuke.  The festival sequences also involved a lot of complicated roto as a large area was shot without green/blue screens.

After an encounter at the festival and a temporary reconciliation with Mark Darcy at a Christening, Bridget finds herself pregnant with two possible fathers.  As she lies in bed allowing this to sink in the camera pulls up and out of her skylight to reveal London at night.

To create this poignant shot requires a transition to CG as the camera travels through the skylight window requiring the creation of a CG roof and skylight.  Live action footage was shot from an apartment roof on the Thames and used for 2.5d live action projection combined with 2.5d mid ground buildings, CG and additional digital matte paintings of London beyond.

The architecture seen from Bridget’s apartment window were 2.5d day and night environments created in Nuke from footage shot from rooftops in Borough Market tracked to match all the complex camera angles and anamorphic footage.

Additional work included weather elements, sky replacements, green screen and general clean up.

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