Borealis (February 2020)
Borealis is a 90-minute documentary about the global boreal forest, also known as the taiga in Russia and Snow Forest in Europe.
The film tells the story of how the forest rebuilds itself after a fire. It is a process that biologists call “succession”, in which progressive waves of plants and animals take over the landscape, constantly changing it until the forest reaches a climax and must burn again. Parallel to that story, Borealis will explore what the forest means to people in different nations who depend on it; including indigenous people, scientists, cottagers, hunters, loggers and miners. (primitive.net)
Our brief for the work on this film was to visualize the natural phenomenon that were impossible to film, to add subtly magical quality to the film’s story. This included the microscopic workings of transpiration, stoma and photosynthesis, the forest battleground between swarms of attacking pine beetles against trees and the exchange of nutrients between roots along the subterranean fungal network. It was a diverse set of vfx challenges that employed varying tools from our box; full CG animation, particle simulation and compositing.
In addition to the 25 complex visual effect shots we created for the film, we were also responsible for the creation of the film’s title sequence, which used vintage Christmas card artwork to create an nostalgic but oddly unsettling intro to the film.