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Black Mirror

Creator: Charlie Brooker

Production: Zeppotron

Postproduction: Technicolor

Series Designer: Joel Collins

VFX Supervisors/Art Directors: Justin Hutchinson-Chatburn and Dan May 

Series Graphic Designer: Erica McEwan

Series Supervising Art Director: Robyn Paiba

Concept Artist/Matte Painter Supervisor: Rafael Martin

Concept Artist/Matte Painter: Sammy Khalid

3D Artist: Nandor Moldovan

 

As Series Production Designer, Joel Collins created the look and design of all thirteen episodes of Charlie Brooker’s Black Mirror. Dan May and Justin Hutchinson-Chatburn joined in as VFX Art Directors/Supervisors, and Rafael Martin as concept artist and matte painter. Painting Practice provided nearly all the designs and effects of the show.

 

Each episode had its own set of challenges, from budget to location and VFX. Painting Practice were also commissioned to design the title sequence for the entire show, which calls up both the dark side of Black Mirror and the technology it references.

 

Last year, Season 3 was released - with an increase in budget and number of episodes, our artists were given an even bigger creative scope. We created 6 uniques worlds, varying from dark-military colours in Men Against Fire to a pastel palette in Nosedive.

 

After its huge success last year Charlie Brooker's ‘Black Mirror’ will return soon to crack our screens. Prepare for more unsettling futures that are little but a tweet away from our reality.

 

Check out Season 3 Reviews: http://www.telegraph.co.uk/on-demand/2016/09/16/eighties-nostalgia-and-uber-for-humans-netflixs-black-mirror-ser/

And Joel Collins' interviews on the series' production design: 

http://www.pushing-pixels.org/2017/02/22/production-design-of-black-mirror-interview-with-joel-collins.html

https://www.creativereview.co.uk/behind-the-scenes-of-black-mirror/

 

To get more information, click on the image, then click on the icon on the right corner!
All
Black Mirror Title Sequence
Black Mirror Title Sequence
Black Mirror Title Sequence
S1EP1 - 'National Anthem'
S1EP1 - 'National Anthem'
For this episode Painting Practice developed the identity of the main news channel ‘UK News including all the onscreen interfaces, motion graphics and web feeds. Co designer Robyn Paiba also used our team extensively to generate all of the graphic design on the show from crisp boxes to company Logos.
S1EP1 - 'National Anthem'
S1EP2 - '15 Million Merits'
S1EP2 - '15 Million Merits'
“The first unusual challenge was not to start work in episode one but two. With a visual effects shot in almost every frame, Fifteen Million Merits was every designer and producer’s nightmare. Our decision early on was not to ‘leave it to post’ but grab a hold of the problem. So with the first film bubbling away, we set to work on the next’s concept designs and motion graphics. The graphics needed to be created, animated and graded prior to the shoot. We also had to pre-shoot shows to appear on screens and were charged with the task of designing and creating an avatar for every actor, plus thousands of CG individuals for the audience of the show-within-the-show, Hot Shot.” Joel Collins, Broadcast, November 2011
S1EP2 - '15 Million Merits'
S1EP3 - 'The Entire History of You'
S1EP3 - 'The Entire History of You'
For this episode, Painting Practice designed the on-screen interfaces and visual effects throughout the show, for more than 150 shots. Although full of drama and tension, this particular episode was visually much quieter than episode two, from sleek and sophisticated computer interfaces to a discreet yet alarming futuristic eye effects.
S1EP3 - 'The Entire History of You'
S2EP1 - 'Be Right Back'
S2EP1 - 'Be Right Back'
The emotional heart of Be Right Back is quite powerful and although the technology plays a large part in Ash’s resurrection, it was important that it didn’t get in the way of the story. The VFX were deliberately subtle and had to complement the look of the film. It was decided early on that the technology should have a tactile nature to it, in particular Martha’s easel. Series designer Joel Collins came up with the initial design for this well used piece of technology whilst Painting Practice worked on the interface and it’s overall feel. Other smaller details included the pregnacny test and Martha’s laptop.
S2EP1 - 'Be Right Back'
S2EP2 - 'White Bear'
S2EP2 - 'White Bear'
S2EP2 - 'White Bear'
S2EP3 - 'The Waldo Moment'
S2EP3 - 'The Waldo Moment'
Waldo is a computer generated TV personality that is driven by human performance, much like a puppeteer. Having an ‘onscreen’ character meant that we had to make a decision regarding his performance - would it be applied in post or would it be done live on set? We opted for live so that any alteration to Waldo’s performance would be carried out on the day of the shoot, to avoid extensive post-animation work later on. We worked very closely with Passion Pictures in both the design and execution of Waldo on set. Our Waldo was driven by three puppeteers including award winning director Darren Walsh. In the end Waldo became very much a part of the cast!
S2EP3 - 'The Waldo Moment'
White Christmas
White Christmas
In this episode, each three tales had their own unique demands in terms of VFX and production design. Production designer Joel Collins and supervising art director Robyn Paiba faced unique challenges involving key set constructions, multiple locations, and prop builds. The main set build had to transform from an arctic outpost into a country kitchen before the audience’s eyes. With a particularly tight schedule, we road test designs and approaches with both the director Carl Tibbets (White Bear) and the art department before shooting. The bulk of the VFX compositing was handled by Technicolor with VFX art direction and animation being carried out by the Painting Practice team, working up the show’s opening shot and the mind boggling ‘snow globe’ finale. Along with Charlie and VFX supervisor Justin, both teams worked across the ‘look’ of many of the standalone effects such as ‘Blocking’ and the Zedeyes.
White Christmas
S3EP1 - 'Nosedive'
S3EP1 - 'Nosedive'
S3EP1 - 'Nosedive'
S3EP2 - 'Playtest'
S3EP2 - 'Playtest'
S3EP2 - 'Playtest'
S3EP3 - 'Shut Up and Dance'
S3EP3 - 'Shut Up and Dance'
S3EP3 - 'Shut Up and Dance'
S3EP4 - 'San Junipero'
S3EP4 - 'San Junipero'
S3EP4 - 'San Junipero'
S3EP5 - 'Men Against Fire'
S3EP5 - 'Men Against Fire'
S3EP5 - 'Men Against Fire'
S3EP6 - 'Hated in the Nation'
S3EP6 - 'Hated in the Nation'
S3EP6 - 'Hated in the Nation'

Every day is a new set of challenges on this show. I’ve loved the variety, problem solving, and collaboration with the core BM Art and Painting Practice teams who help to make the magic happen.

Erica
Series Graphic Art Director

Most recently I’ve enjoyed watching forums and blogs popping up everywhere to discuss the hidden ‘easter eggs’ we build into the graphics from other episodes. People love it!

Erica
Series Graphic Arts Director
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