POSTMODERN on the special effects in the film "Inseparable"

• 30.04.2013

It was a year long work and soon movie will be on screens. «Inseparable» - it is deep reevaluation of the tragedy, that had happened in Ukraine, but had influenced most of the world. Main story line unfolds against the background of the disaster. As director Vitaliy Vorobiev says: “It is a love story”. But we shall add that it is a love story, which unfolds against the background of the most powerful disaster – explosion at the Chernobyl Power Plant.

Explosion at the Chernobyl Power Plant

To bring audience back to the ill fated 1986th year, we needed to restore with maximum possible accuracy everything that surrounded people at that time. After the explosion in Power Plant, Chernobyl and Pripyat had appeared in exclusion zone and nowadays look like shots from the post-apocalyptic films. That’s why twin-city Slavutych was chosen as a shooting location. While Power Plant, surrounding environment and explosion were created with maximum accuracy with help of CG/VFX solutions.

Power Plant territory

Power Plant in several seconds before the explosion

Set goals and tasks against the team had become a real challenge and professional test to everyone who was working on this project. As a result project had become unique for Ukraine as well in script and direction, as in quality of visual effects and workflow organization.

At the stage of project development Postmodern team in close cooperation with director and production designers had created digital pre-visualization of all scenes with computer graphic and visual effects.

Flight above the station after the explosion: left side – CG model, right side – final shot

Digital pre-visualization (previz) – instrument that is widely used in realization of large-scale projects abroad, while, unfortunately, is in very rare usage in Ukraine and CIS countries. Previz allows plan thoroughly and, as a result, optimize shooting process, define correct shooting foreshortening for shots enriched with computer graphic, or fully implemented with VFX. 

Liquidating works: left side – photo from shooting, right side – final shot from the movie

Inseparable movie includes more than 300 CG/VFX shots, and more than a half – CG only. In such case previz allows to reduce quantity of shooting days to 30-40%.

Having done previz, team had started development of key scenes before the shooting was started. There are a lot of shots without recorded material, only graphic. For example scenes of the helicopter flight over the station to measure radiation or for liquidation works were implemented with VFX exclusively. Live material in those shots – interior of the helicopter cabin and heroes of the movie.

View from the helicopter

Shooting of the station damage from the helicopter

Using archive materials and own developments, we could recreate not only the total view, but to show it very detailed.

Chernobyl Power Plant after the explosion – shot from the movie

To restore cities and territory of the power plant was used model structure of landscape building, developed inside of the company. As a result we have multi level tool for landscape, cities and any architecture forms implementation at the height from 100meters up to 5kilometers. This tool can be utilized for any project.

Power Plant territory: left side – shot from the movie, right side – computer model of the territory

Power Plant – shot from the movie

Separately we can stop on the creation of the station and environment. Till today photo and video materials of the Chernobyl Power Plant are partly secret. That is why most of the materials we needed to find out in private libraries; discuss everything with live witnesses of the tragedy. Working through all materials thoroughly we tried to restore architecture, placement of buildings, and follow the landscape with maximum accuracy. Now event witnesses would not find the difference between graphic and reality.

Flight over the Chernobyl Plant – shot from the movie

We recreated, using archive data, station after the explosion. We had shown all damages in accordance with reality.

Look of the destroyed reactor – shot from the movie 

To show the scene of the liquidation works was built up the model of the destroyed roof on the reactor at the height of 0,5 meters. With help of the computer graphic we see the action at the height of 120 meters. 

Liquidation works at the roof – shot from the film

Liquidation works at the roof: right side – photo from the shooting, left side – shot from the movie 

Explosion was shoot against the background of Heat Power Station at Troyeschina. Wit help of graphic we see the Chernobyl Power Plant, which had exploded.

Chernobyl Power Plant: left side – model of the station, right side – shot from the movie

Generally from the side of our team had been working 16 artists during 7 months. And now thanks to common forces of  creative and production team viewers can immerse into the atmosphere of Pripyat and Chernobyl of 1986th year.