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Interlude in Prague

How do you send one of the world’s most well-known cities back in time by over 200 years?

For Interlude in Prague, a Carnaby International film about the debut of Mozart’s opera Don Giovanni, we delivered over 100 shots with the intention of pulling viewers back into the late 18th century.

"Ultimately we needed to make Prague look older – just the basic clean-up of all the different things, satellite antennas, stuff like that," explains Marcin Kolendo, who served as VFX Supervisor on the project. "There were a lot of electric lights all around, so they needed to be changed into candles and that was almost every shot, wherever you have light; especially that massive theatre performance of Mozart’s Don Giovanni.

"There was quite a lot of work to be done that involved crowd replication, so that was fairly hard to do with camera moves and things like that. The capacity of the entire theatre was 300 people and they had 100 extras on set so we had to replicate all that on the balconies and on the stands at the bottom."

The diverse sequences we put together proved to be both challenging and fulfilling for the team members involved. "There were little peculiar sequences where, for example, the main actor who played Mozart couldn’t play the piano, so he pretended to play and there was another actor who could play the piano," continues Marcin. "We had to match the hands, cut them out, warp them, that sort of stuff – that was really challenging because it just didn’t match at all.

"There were a couple of things where, for instance, they had a carriage and the actors in the carriage were the wrong actors, so we had to remove them or draw the curtains on the carriage to cover them; you know, just little things here and there. There was also a scene with CG birds; somebody was feeding them, somebody scared them off and they flew away into the distance."

As VFX Supervisor, Marcin had the opportunity to visit Prague to offer advice on achieving the best possible delivery of visual effects to enable the director and production team to achieve their collective vision. "It was great," Marcin says. "The first time I went to Prague it was for a tech recce, a couple of nights in Prague. We looked around the theatre – the real theatre where the premiere of Mozart’s opera took place, in fact. The crew was great as well; John Stephenson, the director, was very helpful and understood what I needed to bring back into Outpost so it was easier to deal with."

Find out more about Interlude in Prague on imdb.com.

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