Henry Badgett was the visual effects supervisor on BBC1 period drama Taboo, working alongside production designer Sonja Klaus, producer Tim Bricknell and director Kristoffer Nyholm.



VFX supervisor, BlueBolt

“Sonja had designed the world around Taboo’s main Wapping location and these early meetings were to decide what would be seen of it, which bits her team had to build, and which would be green screen,” he says.

“The next biggest period of collaboration was when we got initial turnover of a few key shots. We worked these up, using period references from Sonja to inform our building designs, and had some useful feedback from her on layout and authenticity.”

Taboo was a large-scale project, which posed some unique challenges. “Taboo presented BlueBolt with a relatively high number of environments to build for a single show,” says Badgett.

“The challenge was in choosing which ones could be combined into larger 3D scenes that could be re-used, and then handling the digital matte painting bottleneck this produced on a per-shot basis.

“Some of our compositors turned their hand to digital matte painting to help out, which they enjoyed.”

The challenges were offset by the satisfaction Badgett and the team derived from working on the hefty period drama.


“Taboo was a pretty creative show in the edit – some of BlueBolt’s most enjoyable and satisfying moments came from working closely with the editors to create scenes where they wanted to achieve something different to what was scripted and shot.

“A sequence that springs to mind is when James Delaney’s ship the Felice Adventurero gets destroyed. I like working on scenes that don’t make any sense until the VFX work is in there, because you feel what you are doing is particularly helpful.

“At the other end of the spectrum, I get great satisfaction from watching some of the quieter dialogue moments where BlueBolt has added small details to the background to give the scene added visual flavour and help with the geography, such as several of the ‘foreshore’ environments and the green screen windows on the interior sets. This is something a lot of viewers have picked up on – the show has had a lot of praise for its rich tone and texture, and I think that was a part of it.”

  • Session Production Designers & VFX Showcase
  • When 11:30am, day two, Production Theatre

The Media Production Show takes place 13-14 June at London’s Olympia

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