Posted on August 4, 2017 by staff

How did Theo Walcott’s face end up on Buckingham Palace?


Viewers tuning in to watch Arsenal win last season’s FA Cup final were treated to footage of the Queen waving outside Buckingham Palace as the face of Gunners striker Theo Walcott was unveiled on huge banners dangling from the roof.

The hyper-realistic footage showed the Royal Family waving to thousands of cheering Arsenal fans.

Nearly eight million people tuned in to the BBC’s coverage and were presented with a ‘tongue-in-cheek’ look at what might happen if Chelsea or Arsenal won the 2016/17 competition.

Other sequences included Michy Batshuayi on the cover of a magazine, a statue of Eden Hazard, a spoof aftershave advert, a movie poster and renaming Arsenal’s stadium after Alexis Sanchez.

It was the work of Manchester-based leading television facility dock10, which used a combination of cutting-edge compositing software and 3D modelling.

Chris Baker, head of VFX, explained: “The process involved our 3D team creating what are called ‘cloths’, an often-used term referring to computer generated (CG) material.

“The design was then created and applied to the cloths, which were then composited into a Buckingham Palace scene. The confetti was then added.

“The team use similar techniques on a regular basis so as a task it was not hugely complicated, but it requires a talented artist to ensure the work appears seamless.

“We generally try to be as realistic as possible, especially when budgets are tight. There’s nothing worse than promising the earth and we never under-deliver.

“Though for many of the visual effects (VFX) artists this really is their passion, so we’re always open to a challenge… especially if it’s not been done before!”

Composited 3D sequences were supplied to the BBC Sport – who dock10 have worked with on a number of occasions – and then edited into the final film.

The studio, which is based in MediaCityUK, was given just seven days to complete the task.

Baker added: “The facilities at dock10 allow the team to call upon a huge amount of talent and experience. The kit is also key.

“The ability to rely on kit that other companies often don’t have access to means our clients are generally a lot happier.

“We’re currently working on a promotional CG project for CBeebies; this has required the use of a variety of skills including CG and high-end VFX compositing.

“It will be on TV for the start of the summer holidays, while we also worked with BBC Sport in creating the titles for their UEFA Euro 2016 coverage last year.”