UNIT ‘brought the heat’ on the latest series of ITV’s crime drama smash ‘The Bay’, series 4.

UNIT was approached by ITV and ‘Tall Story Pictures’ to undertake the VFX for Series 4, Ep 1 & 2 of The Bay. The Bay is a ITVx crime drama starring Marsha Thomason as DS Jenn Townsend, DS James Clarke (Andrew Dowbiggin) and DC Eddie Martin (Thomas Law.). 

UNIT provided shoot supervision on location in Morecambe and delivered 45 VFX shots across Ep 1 & 2 of the series. These shots consisted of screen comps, clean up and invisible VFX. The highlight for us was helping to create the dramatic opening scene in Episode 1.

Series 4 ep 1 opens with a tragic house fire destroying a beloved family home. Unfortunately Beth metcalfe was unable to escape and died in front of her husband and 3 children, who watched helplessly. Beth first sees a figure in all black fleeing the garden before the fire breaks out, leaving the question of, was the fire an accident or did someone have a motive for arson. Who doesn’t love a good ‘who’s done it?’ For the actors safety and well being the fire and smoke was not completely real and that’s where UNIT was asked to step in.   

Unit was tasked with enhancing the shots provided to create the illusion of the burning building within the scene in which Beth tragically lost her life. UNIT’s VFX Supervisor Fraser Cleland attended the shoot to advise and supervise on how best to approach the filming of this scene to allow for the VFX to be integrated seamlessly with the live action footage. 

Fraser Cleland, VFX Supervisor, “We really enjoyed working on The Bay, not only for the content of the work, but also for having a good relationship with the clients. The main brief for the work was to enhance the shots we were given with fire and smoke in order to give the first episode an explosive start.

The shoot and pre-production was a really collaborative process between the DOP, Director, producers and ourselves and made for a really enjoyable shoot.

With a mix of SFX fire, smoke and lighting to set the atmosphere on the shoot, we were able to add extra elements in flame and nuke to gradually make this scene turn into a roaring inferno. As we had to shoot some of the shots with the fire in place, we had the chance to speak to members of the fire service to get an idea of the nature of a house fire. This definitely helped us when it came to comping the elements into over 20 shots to create the scene and retain authenticity.

Asking artists to create as much mayhem as possible with fire and smoke wasn’t a difficult task.

From shoot to post it was a really enjoyable project for all involved”