This is the incredible technology behind the Netflix series “1899”

What seemed like the sea turns into a nightmarish horizon, and the characters’ memories become surreal scenes. Gradually, the plot transforms its point of view, suggesting that the tangible and the truthful can have many faces in Kerberos.

To produce such a visual marvel, the company’s behind-the-scenes team 1899 used several state-of-the-art visual techniques. As well as some of the more recent developments to create a quasi-cinematic section that could convey the bizarre plot.

Among them are several who link it to productions such as The Mandalorian a pioneer in the use of new methods to construct visual languages. However, in case of 1899 it was also about exploring the idea that reality could be turned upside down and become something completely new. Something that required all possible technical powers to achieve.

A journey through the visual technology of 1899

At the start of its production, 1899 was to be shot in real locations including Spain, Poland and Scotland. However, due to the COVID health emergency, much of the series had to be shot on one set. This required the technical team to work on the possibility of building multiple versions of reality through technology. It is also necessary to imitate the notion of movement of a sea voyage. 1899 had to be realistic enough to create an immersive reality.

One of the most frequently used advances in the Netflix series was a giant stage that rested on a record player. This allows you to constantly feel that the characters point of view can change. And that Kerberos’ floating point – or Prometheus – slipped from side to side. As if that wasn’t enough, virtual sound produced by echo layers was used on stage to mimic the feeling of open space.

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Called Dark Bay, this effect creates a sense of realistic physical volume, which allowed the actors to perform on the premise of the physical consistency of the environment. The new framework, the result of Studio Babelsberg’s technical efforts, reached an epic level as it almost completely mimics a maritime experience. For showrunners Jantje Frieser and Baran bo Odar was a big challenge based on their vision of 1899. Producer Philipp Klausing tried to replicate that with Dark Ways.

What makes Dark Bay and this production special is that it was born from the point of view of the creators… Klausing explained in an interview. ” Our entire approach was driven by and influenced by a showrunner capturing the image. This created a lot of news in the industry. »

Bigger, more ambitious, more realistic

Friese and bo Odar envisioned a set capable of reproducing the maritime experience of point-to-point Kerberos. To do this, they called on Barry Idoine, the photographer’s director. The Mandalorian. They have also tapped Oscar-winning special effects company Framestore for the virtual production of Gravity, by Alfonso Cuarón. The idea was to create a new form of filming, where the actual movement and volume of objects and landscapes were paramount. In addition, it could be reproduced down to millimeters.

The biggest challenge was that the volume technology didn’t exist before filming began”, explains James Whitlam from the Framestore team. ” This represented a huge amount of testing. We had some prototypes in London. But they were nowhere near the same size, so we weren’t sure if it would work on the screen. When we wanted to test the actual range, they were still pouring the concrete floor for the stage. It was a real challenge, but our team was up to the task. »


For the team off 1899 focused on the possibility of representing life at sea in a convincing and technically realistic way. To achieve this goal, two large physical Kerberos scenarios were constructed. The sea floor and sky were then rendered to create a digital version of both. It was all then projected onto a circular stage with atmospheres of rain and water designed not to damage the equipment.

Ultimately, the effort between the various production teams made it possible to build a sufficiently believable environment for the actors’ performances. It also allowed for a visual journey that was realistic enough to faithfully replicate film conditions at sea. One of the great visual triumphs in 1899 as production.

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