On Monday night, Academy Award winning independent VFX studio Milk won its third consecutive British Academy Television Craft Award at last night’s ceremony, held at The Brewery, London. Milk won this year’s award for its work on the BBC’s drama series Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell in the Special, Visual & Graphic Effects category.

Milk has won a BAFTA Television Craft Award each year since the studio’s 2013 launch -receiving the award in 2014 and 2015 for Doctor Who.

The show’s requirements for strange and magical occurrences necessitated a strong visual effects component - more than 1000 shots. See our original story on the series here. Visual effects were handled by Milk VFX, which delivered all manner of effects, from sand horses to the Battle of Waterloo, all with a magical bent. Working closely with director Toby Haynes, Milk designed bespoke, standalone VFX sequences for each of the seven, hour-long episodes, creating a ‘magical realism’ to fit the tone of a fantastical world set in a real historical period.

The leaves battle.
The leaves battle (ep 6: done with particles and instanced geometry in Maya).

Milk’s work on Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell also received nominations for both the 2016 Visual Effects Society Awards and the 2015 Royal Television Society Craft & Design Awards.

Milk co-founder Sara Bennett’s work was also recognised with an Oscar for Best Visual Effects at this year’s 88th Academy Awards and a 2016 British Academy Film Award nomination for Ex-Machina.

Milk’s CEO Will Cohen said: “We are honoured to have our work recognised by the British Academy for the third year in a row! It’s a fairytale ending to our third year in business and testament to the hard work and dedication of our talented team.”

The Black Tower.
The Black Tower (as seen in eps 6 and 7) done using Houdini.

Milk opened for business almost three years ago and has in that time has created an impressive range of visual effects for TV and films including Sherlock, Doctor Who, Thunderbirds Are Go, Beowulf, 24: Live Another Day, David Attenborough’s Natural History Museum Alive 3D; and High Rise, Ex-Machina, The Martian, Everest, The Divergent Series: Insurgent, Brett Ratner’s Hercules, Dracula Untold, and 47 Ronin.

 

Swarms of ravens.
Swarms of ravens (Ep7 - used crowd tools in Golaem for flocking).

Milk is currently in production on Ben Wheatley’s feature film Free Fire, Warner’s Fantastic Beasts And Where To Find Them and Hartswood’s Sherlock series 4, BBC 3’s Class and ITV’s Victoria and a second series of Thunderbirds (ITV) for television.

The Gentleman is subsumed by the tree.
The Gentleman is subsumed by the tree.

 


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