Adobe Case Study: A bird’s-eye view of World War II

PVC by Michelle Galina

Visually stunning documentary created for HISTORY includes 300 animations and 79 VFX shots created with Adobe video tools

When a television program is nominated for an Emmy award for Outstanding Graphic Design and Art Direction, it must be something special. World War II from Space, a program commissioned by HISTORY, is a stunning 90-minute documentary visualizing key events from World War II from the vantage point of space. This was a huge creative endeavor with 300 animations and 79 VFX shots—all completed over the course of one and a half years by U.K. production company October Films and visual effects studio Prime Focus. Simon George wrote and directed the film, while Prime Focus created the VFX, led by Design and Animation Director Hazel Baird, and Creative Director Simon Clarke. We had a chance to sit down with George, Baird, and Clarke to discuss how the video tools in Adobe Creative Cloud, allowed them to create their own bird's eye view.

Adobe: How was World War II from Space different from other projects for Prime Focus?
Clarke: It was the first time that a show like this was created only using visual effects. The only live action is the interviews. Prime Focus engaged with October Films to co-direct, in a way. We wanted to make learning about World War II much more appealing to younger audiences, more exciting than black and white film images. We asked ourselves how we could get a new generation interested, while still layering in the amazing information we had from our faithful historians. Ultimately, we created 78 minutes of pure CG content for a 90 minute program.

Adobe: Can you tell us a little more about what makes World War II from Space special?
George: We were recounting the battles and shifting tides of the war from a bird’s eye view, so there was enormous reliance on animations and VFX to tell the story. We had to rely on globe-spanning maps and highly detailed computer animations to recreate events from Pearl Harbor to the atomic bomb. We wanted to create a new style that would be relevant for all ages and that would be visceral, informative and visually stunning. read more...

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