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Wonders of the Monsoon

Visual Effects

The BBC NHU team in Bristol chose Moonraker to provide the visual effects for their 5-part primetime BBC2 series that reveals how life flourishes under the tumultuous monsoon weather system which annually transforms a large part of our planet, from the Himalayas to northern Australia.. Using a specially developed proprietary Earth asset, we were tasked with creating epic photorealistic views of the Earth to help explain the process of how the Monsoon forms.

We wanted the view of the Earth to feel as cinematic as possible and to do this we needed to be able to light the earth with a low sun, but that meant we needed to have volume on the clouds, cloud shadows and specular highlights on water surfaces.

This was achieved by combining real cloud imagery with a mesh model of the cloud structure to give it 3-dimensionality and by referencing hundreds of Astronaut photographs of the Earth taken from the International Space station.

Series Producer, Paul Bradshaw, was keen to make the shots as scientifically accurate as possible, so using specialist time re-mapping software we integrated real time-lapse cloud data supplied in collaboration with NOAA (National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration).

Other shots included deep time-lapse views of the Earth showing the effect of the Monsoon on specific regions and a new technique for creating helicopter style aerial shots using multiple image based projection, turning real stills photography into moving imagery.

Key Credits

Broadcaster: BBC2
Production Company: BBC NHU
Series Producer: Paul Bradshaw
Executive Producer: James Honeybourne
VFX Creative Director: Simon Clarke