BlueBolt delivers VFX for feature-length finale of The Last Kingdom

Jun 22, 2023

BlueBolt recently completed work on “Seven Kings Must Die”, the feature-length, final chapter of Carnival Films/Netflix’ popular historical drama The Last Kingdom, having created visual effects for all five previous seasons, as the sole VFX studio.

BlueBolt have delivered more than 3,500 VFX shots over the past eight years, working in close collaboration with producers Carnival Films and Director Edward Bazalgette to help create the world of Dark Ages 10th century Britain in which The Last Kingdom is set – and tell the dramatic story of its protagonist Uhtred of Bebbanburg, based on the novels of Bernard Cornwell The Saxon Stories.

Led by VFX Supervisor Richard Frazer, who also supervised the three preceding The Last Kingdom series, BlueBolt created and choreographed large, complex CG battle scenes and army formations; CG horses; historically accurate CG ships, in addition to elaborate environments including turning Budapest into ancient Britain; recreating Northumberland’s Bebbanburg Castle and bringing to life scenes from Valhalla at the climax of the film. It was essential to achieve the tone required to recreate a realistic 10th century Britain and tell the dramatic, blood-filled Saxon saga of Uhtred of Bebbanburg.

Nigel Marchant, Carnival Films said: “BlueBolt have been fundamental to The Last Kingdom since the beginning, and with Seven Kings Must Die have once again excelled with the quality of the work they have produced, creating a realistic fully-formed 10th Century world and truly outstanding visual effects, allowing us to bring Uhtred’s story and that of the creation of England to a fitting and epic conclusion. Always a pleasure to work with, we could not have hoped for better collaborators and partners.”

Richard Frazer, VFX Supervisor, BlueBolt said: As part of the climax for Seven King Must Die, BlueBolt undertook one of the biggest battle scenes we’ve ever done for the series. This involved many different armies with distinct uniforms that needed to register when seen in wide aerial shots. The opposing sides were crushed together in various shieldwall formations, so we used our in-house motion capture suits to do bespoke body tracking for their actions, but it still stretched the capabilities of our crowd simulation software. The CG characters would also be very close to camera, but our library of assets is now so lifelike and our libraries of motion capture data so extensive that we used them right alongside our real actors.

I’m proud to have overseen the VFX for three series and this feature-length special, it’s been an exhilarating journey for us at BlueBolt through complex battles scenes and environments to bring the dramatic story of Uhtred of Bebbanburg to life for Netflix audiences over the past eight years.

Because we’ve been involved with The Last Kingdom since the very beginning, a lot of our artists have developed along with the show over the seasons, so there is a genuine love for the show. Even after all these years, working on TLK is fun and exciting, and everyone produced some of their best work to help give Uhtred the perfect send off.

It’s been a joy to work with Carnival Films to help bring their vision to life. We will miss cries of “more blood” in client screenings!”

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