Caer Cadarn, a stronghold hewn out of rock, is where Uther and then Arthur, as his brother’s protector, rule. Shot in two locations, Morlais Quarry in Wales for the wide exteriors and the Bad Wolf studios for the interior scenes, the brief was to create an environment that was awe-inspiring, with a real sense of depth. Using art department concepts of the environment and its silhouette as a jumping off point, the team used a combination of digital matte painting and full CG based on scanned data of the location to achieve the final images.
Alongside Caer Cadarn, REALTIME helped to bring life to Avalon, including Merlin’s Tor, which was built in the studio for the interiors and on location for the exterior shots. As the sets were only built up to a height of 8 metres, the team extended the Tor for the start of the series, before destroying it in later episodes.
REALTIME also crafted a digital double of actor Eddie Marsan for Uther’s funeral sequence. The single developing shot brought about some additional logistical changes for the crew, so the decision was made to film a mannequin and replace the head with full CG in post-production. The close-up on Uther’s face required a meticulous build, texture and groom based on a scan of Marsan in full costume.