/News 23.05.23


Blackbird created the epic CG island centrepiece for the eight-part series Class of 07, which premiered on Prime Video in March.

Check out some incredible behind-the-scenes VFX work by the team at Blackbird for Class of 07

Produced by Matchbox Pictures, part of Universal International Studios, a division of Universal Studio Group, with Amazon Studios. Class of 07 revolves around a group of women whose ten-year high school reunion is disrupted by a massive tidal wave, forcing them to find a way to survive on the island tip of their campus.

Blackbird was responsible for designing the entire geography of the island, including the cascading cliffs, high school grounds, buildings, and sports fields. They meticulously crafted varied vegetation, debris, and sediment from the tidal wave impact. Attention to detail allowed Blackbird to create an impressive digital extension with a scale typically reserved for international projects.

 “Blackbird’s objective for Class of 07 was to create a fully immersive and believable environment for the audience, one that could sustain various storytelling moments throughout the series.”
– Nick Ponzoni, VFX Supervisor, Blackbird VFX

The scope of work for the island was initially much more contained; however, once the early renders were presented, it became clear that there was an exciting opportunity to bring a grander scale to the show, with the island in more shots and episodes throughout the series. As the brief changed, the challenge grew for the team to add additional architecture and infrastructure details, along with lighting variations for the time of day, so that the asset could be seen from different angles.

Blackbird created the island using a combination of location scans and modelled terrain along with infrastructure derived from multiple reference sources to match reality. This was to ensure that every shot contained the necessary details to keep the audience engaged with the narrative.

Extensive research and a cinematic focus were at the forefront of Blackbird’s work on Class of 07. The team approached their CG work as if it were actually being filmed, constantly asking themselves questions like ‘What happens when the light hits the water here?’ and ‘What does major flooding look like in the environment?’ Blackbird’s VFX Supervisor, Nick Ponzoni explains, “It’s not only about building something technically correct; it’s about creating something that’s going to be emotionally resonant with an audience.”

“This obsession with getting the picture right serves us well because if the audience notices the VFX, we aren’t doing our job.” 
– Nick Ponzoni

Blackbird’s collaborative approach and constant push for improvement led to the project’s most rewarding aspect: getting the water’s realism just right. As one team member recalls, “Once we got there, the whole team had this collective experience of seeing that wonderful establishing shot of the island and being like, ‘Yes, this is it!'” 

“Blackbird’s exquisite work elevated the visuals of our series to another level. They were fundamental in helping sell the concept of our show and delivered beautiful and thoughtful work that really made our show sing.”
– Mimi Butler, Producer, Matchbox Pictures

“We’re enormously proud of the final result and it’s so gratifying to know our work contributed so much to the scale and storytelling of the show,” Says Nick Ponzoni.