Union VFX - The Gentlemen


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The Gentlemen

Director | Guy Ritchie

Union Grow Cannabis for The Gentlemen

From writer/director Guy Ritchie comes The Gentlemen, a star-studded sophisticated action-comedy. The Gentlemen follows American ex-pat Mickey Pearson (Matthew McConaughey) who built a highly profitable marijuana empire in London. When word gets out that he’s looking to cash out of the business forever it triggers plots, schemes, bribery and blackmail in an attempt to steal his domain out from under him (featuring an all-star ensemble cast including Charlie Hunnam, Henry Golding, Michelle Dockery, Jeremy Strong, Eddie Marsan, Colin Farrell, and Hugh Grant).

The most complex effects we were tasked with were the creation of one of Mickey Pearson’s huge subterranean skunk farms and the car crash sequence as he speeds to rescue his wife.

To create a believable, underground skunk farm of this enormous scale we had to take a completely 3D approach due to the parallax of the shots.  The plants would have felt very cut out if we’d gone with a 2.5D approach.

The practical set gave us the first few rows of plant-filled tables, which was really helpful and we worked on extending back from there.  We had to pay particular attention to randomising the placement of the tables and the plants as they would have looked fake if we’d lined them up perfectly.  

We also added a few CG gardeners in the distance tending to the plants and a lot of CG, animated fans to provide some more movement and interest, giving the scene depth and making the whole thing more believable.

The car crash sequence was quite complex to get right and make look real.

To give ourselves the best kit of parts possible, we went to the location several times.  Firstly to do photogrammetry of the T junction where the crash occurs which enabled us to build it in 3D back at Union before adding the CG truck.

On another occasion VFX Supervisor James Etherington-Sparks returned to the location at 6 am on a Saturday morning with 2D Lead Iain Reid.  James reenacted the driving as closely as possible to the principal photography with Iain filming him from the passenger seat with one of Union’s Blackmagic cameras. 

We then tracked the camera shake from that shoot onto the green screens from the main shoot back at Union to great effect - particularly helping with the movement when Matthew McConaughey slams his foot onto the break before the truck makes contact.
The team also filmed plates at the location with Lester Dunton from Dunton Projection FX using a rig of 3 Alexas which were composited. Glass elements, light and reflections were also added to finish the sequence.

Union were also involved in stylising ‘The Toddler’s’ YouTube fight video from the skunk farm adding motion graphics, titles, freeze frame and zoom up effects.  We did further motion graphics work creating the map of the skunk farm sites and titles for Hong Kong racing coverage

The team also placed Hugh Grant into the stand at the Emirates Stadium from where he’s seen spying on the corporate box through a long lens.  We filmed plates and then comped in footage of Hugh shot on green screen adding the twitchy camera move and vignette.

As you’d expect from a Guy Ritchie gangster film we added a fair number of muzzle flashes and blood splats and removed squib lines.  We also comped a character being run over by a train after being thrown off a bridge.