Planet X Belgium (together with Amsterdam based Planet X) finished up around 150+ vfx shots for this 2 hour war film. Work ranging from removing modern elements from locations to match 1940's era, to set-extensions and large scale matte-painting work. We've spiced up a lot of action scenes with additional gun effects, made sure actors didn't have to bleed on set and blew up a matte-painted building.
Also lot of effort went into creating believable 'cold-breath' shots of which you can find a making-of under the Case Study tab.
Some seemingly small details are not always easy to create while shooting a film. A good example of this are so-called 'breathing clouds' or visible condensation; a beautiful, visual phenomenon to emphasize cold. For several scenes in Banker van het Verzet it is important that we 'feel' the cold on top of the acting performances of the actors, but during the recordings (which did not necessarily take place in winter) this phenomenon could not be forced, while the story takes place partly in winter of wartime.
Breath clouds only arise when there is a large enough difference between the temperature of your breath and the ambient temperature. That's why we looked for a room where frozen products are normally stored to make recordings of only the breath clouds. The temperature in this environment is around -20 degrees and therefore produces very visible condensation. These 'elements' are then incorporated into the shots with the actors to make the cold even more tangible.
To make this possible, it is important to be able to isolate the breath clouds from the recordings in the freezer. By filming the haze with backlight against a completely black background, only the light pixels can be filtered out of the image. Even the person who makes the breath clouds must wear black clothing, a black mask, etc., so that only the breath clouds can be seen as a lighting element.
Because the shots to which the breath clouds will be added are already known, each unique situation has been analyzed in advance for lighting, camera angle and timing of the breath of the actors. By playing these shots as separate clips (in a loop) during filming in the freezer, the rhythm of the breathing of the actors, with or without movements, dialogue, etc., could be reproduced in order to achieve the most realistic result possible.
Walraven van Hall (1906-1945), a scion of the famous Van Hall family, was a banker in Zaandam. At the beginning of the war, he was one of the founders of a national aid organisation aimed at providing financial support to resistance activities. Together with his brother, Gijs (later Mayor of Amsterdam), he came up with a unique, worldwide plan to defraud the Bank of the Netherlands of 50 million guilders. Through this fraud, and large private loans, Van Hall was able to raise a total in excess of 106 million guilders (more than half a billion Euros today). This money was used to finance the lion’s share of the illegal activities carried out by the Dutch resistance. Walraven was betrayed to the Germans in January 1945 by a newcomer in his private circle, arrested and a month later murdered.
Superb looking plate photography by Marc van Aller and an overall solid team made this a great project for us.