We were approached by Greg Barker to collaborate on his film, Legion of Brothers, about America’s first response into Afghanistan after 9/11. It is an incredibly powerful personal story which questions the nature of war, and the effect on those who served.
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We’d previously worked with Greg on five of his previous films (Sergio, Koran by Heart, Manhunt, The Thread, Homegrown) and without the availability of archive on these events, he was looking for a means of telling these incredible stories. He was interested in developing a look for the film which wasn’t a traditional ‘war’ aesthetic, but was rooted in the memories of the returned soldiers.
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This is one of the key sequences of film, where Greg was seeking a solution to assist in telling stories such as the infamous Tarin Kowt bombing. The sequence required three treatments. Initially there was ‘look’ applied to a series of images which were conceptual in their approach. This look was developed and executed in Flame, and involved a memory echo effect which was applied to other sequences in the film to provide co-hesion.
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Secondly was the creation of overhead landscapes, which we then created overhead pickup trucks for, and consequent explosions during the bombing. These landscapes required accuracy for the unique nature of the story, and were composited heavily as such, drawing reference from archive and satellite imagery. Composites were again executed in Flame, where we created 3D extrusions and added atmosphere, to provide depth and drawing us closer to the intensity of the narrative.
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And our final treatment was for the end of the sequence, where the team carried out a “battle damage assessment.” As there was no archive available for this sequence, we engaged in a thorough exploration of how to tell this story, and carried out several iterations. We decided on an aesthetic which was suggestive in nature, with echos of the memory effect. This sequence also required substantial research, to provide a measure of accuracy in relaying such an important story.
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We worked with the L.A. based edit for several months, and delivered around 25 minutes of vfx and graphic sequences for the completed film.