Cannes Lions


MPC, London / UBISOFT / 2014


1 Gold Cannes Lions
Case Film
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In this epic live-action and VFX fueled game cinematic, we follow the assault of a Galleon by pirates from the depths of the sea to the very top of the mast. Every level of the ship shows us the torments of this era and the intricate detail shows why a man might take the life of piracy - to free himself from the absurd rules dictated by almighty empires.

The film comprises of a vertical long camera sweep, starting underwater, crossing the decks of the boat and appearing on the upper deck, climbing the mast to end on Edward and the Black Flag, the strongest symbol of the Golden Age of Piracy.

In the end, Edward stands on top of it all, the king of the hill, free - almost a peaceful image. The last scene unleashes the brutality of Edward, a glimpse of his wildness.


Ships burn and men are mercilessly slain in this brutal cinematic which seamlessly blends epic live action with complex VFX techniques. The ambition was to capture much of the action in-camera and then integrate bespoke and highly complex VFX to create a gritty, yet realistic spot that keeps the authenticity of the game intact.

The interaction of the live action footage between the CG and 2D environments is paramount - with a high level of detail taking place in the foreground, mid-ground and distance as we pan-up through the ship.

During pre-production a full 3D pre-vis was created of the ship and the concurrent camera move.

The opening eerie underwater environment was filmed in a tank. The floating men were captured on five different plates, which were composited together and enhanced with light effects, debris and bubbles. The boat hull, as the camera transitions upwards, is CG.

The high-action scenes above water are a clever mix of in-camera action and integrated shot and 2D elements. The intensity of the action required separate plates, utilising green screen and the set, which were composited together. Matte painting was used for extensive set extensions and boat environments. Realistic particle and water effects were created from scratch. The addition of CG fog and smoke elements give the impression that the camera is in the thick of the action.

The final stunning wide shot was created by concept artists using matte painting; complete with burning ships, palm trees and a cloud filled sky.

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