Adelaide visual effects studio supplies visual effects for epic saga of
nurses in World War I.
Adelaide, South Australia—ANZAC Girls,
a 6-part mini-series produced by Screentime, a Banijay Group company, for
ABC-TV, was a rare television project for Adelaide visual effects studio Rising
Sun Pictures (RSP), better known for its work on Hollywood blockbusters such as
X-Men: Days of Future Past, Gravity, and The Great Gatsby. The
first episode premiered on Australian TV on Sunday, 10 August with exceptional
ratings around Australia and much critical acclaim.
Based on
Peter Rees’ book The Other ANZACs, ANZAC Girls tells the true story of five
military nurses from Australia and New Zealand who served with Allied forces
during World War I. Witnessing the horrors of war, the women experienced severe
hardships while tending to the wounded and formed bonds of friendship that
would last a lifetime. As Series Producer Lisa Scott (who produced the series
with Felicity Packard) explains, the series “offers unique insight by showing
how the war affected people, other than soldiers on the line.”

Rising Sun
Pictures was sole visual effects provider for the series. Visual Effects
Supervisor Tim Crosbie, Visual Effects Producer Richard Thwaites and their crew
worked hand in hand with Directors Ken Cameron and Ian Watson, Cinematographer
Geoffrey Hall, Production Designer Scott Bird and other members of the
production team in crafting magnificent recreations of wartime environments,
military vehicles, armament and other historical details.
Production of
the series spanned three months at a number of sites in South Australia
meticulously transformed into war locations representing, among other things, Mena
Camp outside Cairo, a field hospital on the Greek island of Lemnos, a casualty
clearing station near the Somme on the Western Front, the Cairo docks at night
and the railway station of Rouen. RSP artists augmented these practical
locations with CG set extensions and matte paintings, and dropped in
CG-animated warships, trucks, aircraft and trains. Additionally, the studio
contributed to recreations of the sinking of the New Zealand troop ship S.S.
Marquette (which happened off the coast of Salonika in 1915) and the Allied
landing at Gallipoli.
The RSP team
went to considerable lengths to achieve historical accuracy in its digital
environments. Reproducing the ports of Cairo and Alexandria proved particularly
challenging.  “With all the troubles
happening in Egypt while we were in production we couldn’t go there to shoot
anything or hire a crew. It was potentially too dangerous,” Crosbie recalls.
“So, instead we spent a lot of time hunting for library footage that we could
then redress or rebuild. Scott Bird and his art department did a fantastic job
in supplying us with historical material.”
Crosbie and his crew shot photographs of buildings in Adelaide that were built
pre-World War I and incorporated them into visual effects environments. They
also populated scenes with soldiers, nurses, moving vehicles and animated
environmental elements to bring them to life.
visual effects for television is quite different from producing effects for a
blockbuster movie. The production schedule is significantly shorter and the
budget more modest. Where it is not unusual for a visual effects studio to
spend months perfecting a single visual effects scene for a studio feature, RSP
had just eight weeks to deliver the dozens of visual effects shots included in
the six parts of ANZAC Girls.

To avoid
compromises in quality, RSP got to work early. Artists began building models of
ships, trucks and aircraft while production was ongoing. Crosbie traveled to
the set to confer with the Directors and other members of the production team
on how to shoot individual shots in order to speed subsequent visual effects
production. “It was a very collaborative effort,” he recalls. “I’d let them
know what we could bring to each shot or how they might shoot something to
limit the amount of difficult work required later.”
Among the
most ambitious scenes in the series is the landing at Gallipoli. The scene is
revealed from the point of view of two nurses standing on the deck of a ship
some distance from shore. Lisa Scott compares it to a scene from the D-Day landings. “We had hundreds of ships, observation
balloons in the air, Turkish guns,” she recalls. “Explosions were occurring all
around. Each of these elements was built on top of the other in order to create
a very believable, shocking and frightening moment for these two nurses,
standing on a ship and not knowing what was coming towards them.”
RSP artists
spent long hours integrating CG elements with the live action and ensuring that
each part conformed as closely as possible to the actual events of 25 April
1915. “Gallipoli is very well known in Australia, so we had to get that right,”
says Lisa Scott.
Indeed the
historical significance of the story lent a certain “gravitas” to the
enterprise. “We all felt an obligation to tell the story with every cent we had
available,” Scott observes. “Rising Sun was certainly on board with that. I
wanted to get maximum value for our dollars and they delivered in spades. As
was everyone involved in this project, Richard, Tim and their team were
inspired by the story of these extraordinary women.”
concurred, noting that ANZAC Girls provided
the perfect opportunity for RSP to test its mettle in television. “We had a
long list of shots and a tough schedule, but our team really enjoyed it,” he
concludes, adding that they were pleased to have a part in drawing attention to
the little-known chapter in history of the contribution of the nurses . “It’s a
poignant story…and it’s about bloody time that it was told.”
Rising Sun Pictures:
Rising Sun Pictures is a passionate team of artists,
producers and technicians, known for providing complex visual effects and CG
character work to feature film and television clients over the past 18 years.
With the infrastructure to deliver a full spectrum of services from Design
through to Digital Intermediate, RSP boasts a filmography of 100 films, with
such titles as Prometheus, The Hunger Games, Journey 2: The Mysterious Island,
the Harry Potter series, Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides, Gravity,
The Great Gatsby, The Seventh Son and The Wolverine. More Info at

More Info at
WP2Social Auto Publish Powered By :