From Ridley Scott and Frank Spotnitz, and based on Philip K. Dick’s Hugo Award-winning 1962 alternative history novel, the one-hour drama series The Man In The High Castle explores what would have happened if the Allied Powers had lost World War II. Some 17 years after that loss, the United States is split between Imperial Japan and Nazi Germany, with a lawless “neutral zone” running down the Rocky Mountains. People are defeated, living in fear and oppression, and a fledgling Resistance movement struggles to fight back.
Image Engine joined the project to help breathe life into two of the series’ sequences. One of these involved taking old footage of a destroyed Hiroshima landscape and imposing a nuclear-bombed San Fransisco over the top of the devastation.
“In order to create this shot, we took iconic landmarks like the Golden Gate Bridge and the Palace of Fine Arts, and then matte painted them over the top, making them look as if they had been bombed and were falling apart,” says Mat Krentz, visual effects supervisor. “We ensured that the footage had an old, grainy, black-and-white look to it, and then used it for a projector burn-in during one of the films watched in the story.”
Another shot saw Image Engine replace blue screens outside of a character’s window, augmenting the atmosphere of the scene. “We needed to add in a busy San Francisco street,” explains Krentz. “That means adding details outside the window like the Bay Bridge and old cars driving around on the road, really giving the shots a sense of life.”