The Tempest

A Conversation With Rob Duncan

Compare the special effects used in "Merlin" and in "The Tempest."

The common thing between "Merlin" and "The Tempest" is that we are creating fantastical effects. However, "The Tempest" has an earthly reality, and therefore we have to be true to the backgrounds as we apply the elements. We’re trying to maintain the quality of the original images and earthiness of the original footage and combine it with the flame effects, rain effects or other visual effects. Hopefully we are keeping it very reality-based.

What sort of effects are we going to see in this story?

We have a number of morphing effects. Ariel, one of the main characters, is constantly transforming from a bird to a human, and back again. You will also find him changing into a 100-year-old man. So, that’s one of the main areas of effects that we’re doing. We’ll also be helping the troop replication when we get to the battle scenes. Then, there are a number of shots where Prosper is spying on people, in his magic pool, so we’ll be inserting shots into his "viewfinder" on the island.

For audiences who are looking for eye candy, will this be visually spectacular?

We’re certainly trying to wow the audience to get them hooked. But, I wouldn’t want it to be an overly effects-y movie. I think we have to stay true to the story and the period. So, spectacular affects will only be a part of the story. I hate to separate out the effects from the rest of the story. If they stand out then that’s not what we’re aiming for. They need to be embedded with the story.

Some of the effects were done on the computer. Please explain how these are done.

Well, for instance, we are changing Ariel from a bird into a human. We will shoot a plate of a bird in flight coming into land. And we will try to feed the same action with a replication of Ariel doing the same action. And the computer will hopefully do the in-betweening. But we had to shoot the elements in the right way for it to work. What will make this special is for the actors and the story to both be believable. We are just creating what can’t be seen with the naked eye. It’s just adding and heightening. That’s what gives me the thrill.