The Wildfowl & Wetlands Trust (WWT)

Wetland Wonders: Compilation Reel

Wetland Wonders 

The Wildfowl & Wetlands Trust (WWT) is the UK’s leading wetland conservation charity. Their aim is to conserve; restore and create wetlands; save wetland wildlife and inspire everyone to value the amazing things healthy wetlands achieve for people and nature. 

WWT, in partnership with Skylark, requested a series of short videos under the title Wetland Wonders. The task was to create 6 sequences (plus outro and intro) showcasing 6 different wetland bird species. The series is for on screen projections as visitors enter the conservation site for educational presentations. 

Our brief was to use high resolution photographs for the chosen species and create parallax effects to imitate a more 3-dimensional space. Puppet pins were used to add subtle movement to features of the birds in the still images, this effect created is one of frozen moments with an eerie but mesmerising depth to them. Each video includes a title over a looped, rotating aerial view of stunning wetland scenery and accompanying music.

2 African Grey Crowned Cranes - VFX project for WWT
2 African Grey Crowned Cranes – VFX project for WWT

The Process

The process for creating these vivid shots began with taking our chosen images of each species and separating them into 2-3 layers: foreground, midground and background. Working with Ultra-HD images right the way through the pipeline allowed for a clean and detailed finish. The layers were then set-up in 3D space; by slowly pivoting the camera around the focus point, an immersive parallax effect was created.

As many of these unique species of bird can be found in and around water, we felt the finished shots could be enhanced by adding ripples and reflections.

For an efficient workflow, we set-up a template that we could use when needed, which allowed us to automatically distort that portion of the image, using a procedural noise animation.