‘The Buccaneers’ galloped onto our screens in November 2023, bringing with it flutes full of upheaval, castle loads of debauchery, and a whole lotta visual effects from Absolute’s film & TV department. Set in the 1870s and centered around a group of young American woman sent to London to secure statuses and husbands, Absolute VFX team completed 162 shots across four episodes of the eight-part drama.

Set in a gorgeous nineteenth century baronial castle in the Scottish Highlands, episode six was set at Christmas but shot in the milder month of October. A close collaboration between 3D and 2D disciplines was deployed to transform 87 autumnal shots into extensive CG snowy forests, matte-painted landscapes and snowy rooftops. Various factors, including the time of day, drone shots and multiple camera angles added complexity to the task.

Our strategy involved establishing a ‘hero’ look for each scene and replicating it throughout the entire sequence”, says Carl Godwin-Alvarez, VFX Supervisor. “Achieving this required careful consideration of the approach for each scene and the development of bespoke solutions that could be applied across the entire sequence to maintain consistency.”

Another location, The Duke of Tintagel’s residence, was concepted early in the project and relied on the amalgamation of period specific features found at Culzean and Drumlanrig castles. Working with DMP Artist, Neil Miller, Absolute created a variety of concepts and supplied drone shots with DMP elements to get layout approval for this fictional setting. Set extensions, particle simulations, window replacements, period cleanup, beauty work and simulated travel were other elements tackled by the VFX studio.

The team collaborated with VFX production supervisor, Jimmy Knowles on the project, with whom they had previously worked on Prime Video UK’s ‘The Rig’. “Jimmy got in touch way back in August 2022, saying that he had no doubt our team could ‘knock it out the park’ following our previous collab, which is always brilliant to hear”, says Danny Duke, Absolute’s Head of Film & TV. “‘The Buccaneers’ was an incredible feat for our team, with some of the most complex and seamless work we’ve done to date. We’re excited to see that it’s being renewed for season 2. Bring it on, or should I say: lock up your lords!”

The full season 1 of ‘The Buccaneers’ is available to stream now.

Absolute Credits:
Digital Matte Painting Artists:
Neil Miller
Claire Simond
David Gibbons
Jack Long
Paul Campion
CG Artists:
Rebekah King-Britton
Tony Atherton
Patrick Keogh
Camila Valencia
Darja Sidorova
Domantas Lukosius
Fernando Benitez
Heidi Prescott
Keith Rogers
Lucia Quesada
Megan Mclean
Ollie Grant
Rasel Hussain
2D VFX Artists:
Carl Godwin-Alvarez
Phil Oldham
Mark Pinheiro
Alice Mitchell
Becanti Wijnbergh
Cameron Shanks
Dean Yaw Adjeikum
Gabriel Sitjas I Carvacho
Gok Gursoy
Harvey David
Jonas Mcquiggin
Nick D’Aguiar
Paul Greenwood
Rahul Karavadra
Tommy Coulter-Liston
Danny Duke
Zelda Tinska
Howard Truong
Zijing Huo
Kevin Carolan
Lia Jacobs
VFX Editor:
Ana Nunes
Ben Hawkyard

Allan Torp Jensen
Author: Allan Torp Jensen

Allan has worked on visual effects for feature films and television for 20 years. He has experience of the full VFX pipeline but has focused on compositing for the past 15 years and has been a Lead Compositor and Compositing Supervisor on various shows. He has worked with the talented people at Cinesite, Bluebolt VFX, Automatik VFX in London, and Weta Digital in New Zealand. For the past five years, he has worked remotely at his own Torper Studio on various high-end TV and feature film projects.