November 2022 – Emmy nominated boutique visual effects studio Rocket Science (RSVFX) delivered over 400 CG-heavy visual effects shots for the hit Paramount+ sci-fi series HALO.

This first season of HALO was an epic journey of creative and technical discovery. One that we are extremely proud to have been a part of.  We are thankful to Tom Turnbull, Dominic Remane, and Bill Haliday for partnering with our team to deliver ground-breaking visual effects on this top tier production. We appreciate Take 5, Paramount+, and Microsoft for putting their faith in us. Having unparalleled support from our partners was key to our success.” Anthony Paterson, CEO / Executive VFX Supervisor.

HALO Production VFX team, originally led by RSVFX’s own Tom Turnbull, VFX Supervisor, and later Emmy Award winners Dominic Remane, VFX Supervisor and VFX Producer Bill Halliday, leaned on Rocket Science to carry the bulk of the CG space fleet, heavy fx work and environments for the show. Tom Plaskett, VFX Supervisor, JP Giamos, VFX Producer and John Markle, VFX Production Manager led the RSVFX team of 200+ artists over the run of the show.

Halo was a blast! We were presented with some unique creative challenges – how to build a space city with connecting pieces all with unique animation – The Rubble – and how the Forerunner Artifact would react to Master Chiefs touch. We set out to explore different techniques to see where we could push the work with Houdini and Arnold. The whole team rose to the occasion.” Tom Plaskett, RSVFX Supervisor.

Along with the hero ship, the Super Condor, RSVFX created the majority of spacecraft featured, including the Covenant Fleet – Banshee, Battle Cruiser, Assault Carrier, Heavy Cruiser, Phantom, Heavy Corvette, Seraph, Spirit; UNSC Fleet – Super Condor, Pelican, Frigate, Corvette, Bumblebee, Pioneer Longsword, Scorpion; Dr. Halsey’s ship and Soren’s Tug. The RSVFX asset team created all of the assets in Maya, and rendered in Arnold, to be compatible for multiple vendors worldwide.

The RSVFX team delivered impressive environment work. The Rubble (E2), a sci-fi asteroid colony strung together by mechanical tubes, was an exciting challenge for the team who had to balance the visual chaos of a city built from the refuse of other structures with the functionality of a commercial space-port. In addition to the Kora (the central asteroid of the Rubble system) and the asteroids connected to it, RSVFX also generated an array of asteroids for the asteroid field that Kwan and Master Chief perilously navigate to arrive at the Rubble. 

Rocket Science produced multiple establishing shots of the desert metropolis, Madrigal (E4) as well as a full CG shot of Soren’s Tug navigating the rocky terrain. Work on Madrigal City continued with many environment extensions within the city walls as Kwan and Soren navigate the busy streets.

The RSVFX team took on the Artifact; the mysterious Forerunner object discovered on planet Madrigal. RSVFX worked closely with Art Directors at 343 Studios to ensure that the look development of the Artifact fit within the canon of the HALO universe and that the symbols and glyphs that the Artifact produced correlated to the originals. On a technical level, the illumination effect of the Artifact was somewhat unique: animated maps generated by the compositing team provided the rhythm and pacing for the flickering lights within the object, which, once activated, revealed a crystal sub-structure beneath the benign metallic exterior. 

“HALO has a huge following. It was crucial we deliver stellar creative. Our long history with the sci-fi genre and direct approach was key to the team successfully delivering beyond expectations.” says VFX Producer JP Giamos. 

Rocket Science is currently in production on HALO S2.

Halo is a military science fiction television series developed by Kyle Killen and Steven Kane for Paramount+. Based on the video game franchise of the same name, the series follows a 26th-century war between the United Nations Space Command and the Covenant, a theocratic-military alliance of several advanced alien races determined to eradicate the human race.

Rocket Science is an Emmy nominated boutique visual effects studio collaborating with filmmakers to create stunning visual imagery utilizing artistry, science and technology. Located in Toronto, Canada, notable credits include Eric Kripke’s Emmy nominated superhero series THE BOYS (Amazon), the epic video game adaptation HALO (Paramount +), Steve Blackman’s THE UMBRELLA ACADEMY (Netflix), and features such David Cronenberg’s CRIMES OF THE FUTURE and Noah Baumbach’s soon to be released WHITE NOISE (Netflix).