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Behind Her Eyes

Based on the book by Sarah Pinborough, Behind Her Eyes tells the dramatic story of a single mother whose world is thrown upside down when she begins an affair with her new boss. The show was directed by Erik Richter-Strand and shot in Scotland and London. Goodbye Kansas Studios contributed a total of 268 VFX shots and 13 assets, working on all six episodes and acting as the primary vendor for the shoot and client.

The VFX included CG set extensions, digital environments, shimmer FX, screen inserts, smoke, fire, and invisible effects. The most challenging piece of work involved the creation of astral projection scenes showing the characters’ souls leaving their bodies. Artists depicted the souls as patterns of glowing light, employing a pioneering “2.5D” approach using Nuke Point Render, a Blink-powered engine for Nuke that’s designed to “create, modulate and render dense energy effects”. The point render function was introduced in a recent version of Nuke and makes 2D particles look like they are moving in 3D.

To complete this effect, puppeteers were brought onto the set, equipped with poles emitting light from large spheres which meant casting real light. Halverson’s team at Goodbye Kansas then removed the puppeteers but left the light they produced to create the impression that the souls were “there, but not there”.

Goodbye Kansas also carried out other CG work for the production including a set extension for a house which plays a central role in the story. Rather than build a physical set, one side of Ardkinglas House near Loch Lomond was covered in blue screens and then filmed. so it could be replaced with a computer-generated wing which was made to look badly fire-damaged. The other pivotal scenery VFX work involved the creation of a set extension depicting a long well which connected two locations.

This VFX shot used real footage of a well in Scotland as well as a fibreglass well built in the studio, constructed with one side open so the camera could move up and down along it. Part of the challenge involved creating rock texture that looks believable, complete with dust, ageing effects, calcium build-up, trickling water and moss build-up. We’re proud of the work we did on Behind Her Eyes, which shows off our ability to iterate at speed and innovate by introducing new techniques and software.

Credits

Production company: Left Bank Pictures, Sony Pictures Television
Distributor: Netflix
VFX Supervisor: Jason Halverson
Release Date: February 17th, 2021

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