From Classroom To TV Drama

Viewers of MediaCorp’s popular Channel 8 trilogy series “The Journey”, would have noticed the sophisticated special effects adopted to tell Singapore’s story from 1966 to the present day.

But few would know that many of these effects were painstakingly created by NYP’s School of Interactive & Digital Media (SIDM) students. Since July 2013, students from the Diplomas in Animation and Digital Visual Effects, worked on scenes which required them to create explosions, storms, crowds and time travel. They even had to create an amputated leg on one of the actors and depict a gory scene of a decapitated head. To achieve these effects, the students adopted various techniques such as motion capture, matte painting and background composition.

A group even travelled to Malaysia to help with the filming and production there. The students then created the rough effects of the respective scenes and sent their artwork back to NYP for editing. The discipline of proper tape logging and data recording was key in maintaining effective communications between the two teams in Singapore and Malaysia.

Diploma in Digital Visual Effects graduate, Alvin Chew shared, “It was very exciting to be working on the special effects for the final season, “The Journey Our Homeland”. This was part of my Final Year Project in 2015 and we had to deliver our work within a very tight deadline. We also had to rework many shots, so that the scenes looked more realistic. Despite the challenges faced, it was very satisfying to see the final production complete with our special effects on national TV. It reaffirmed my interest in visual effects and also motivated me to further hone my skills in this area.”

The story of the blockbuster drama series, “The Journey: A Voyage”, “The Journey: Tumultuous Times, “The Journey: Our Homeland” was told in three parts over three years, from 2013 to 2015. For each series, SIDM students had to produce visual effects for more than 300 scenes and this massive undertaking put them on a steep learning curve and further deepened their skills in this field.

Their parents also started watching the programme when they learnt of their children’s involvement in this project. Kabilan Panneerselvam, another Diploma in Digital Visual Effects graduate, was involved in the second series of The Journey: Tumultuous Times in 2014. He was the only Indian student on the project. Kabilan quipped, “Thanks to the subtitles, my parents were able to watch the drama with me. This gave them a better understanding of my course and my interest in visual effects.”

These special effects developed by SIDM students played an important part in creating an authentic-looking, historical period drama, which won them praises from MediaCorp. Barry See, Head Production Resource, MediaCorp commented: “NYP students have a very positive attitude and a deep appreciation for our production values. Nurtured by their lecturers and guided by our directors, the students demonstrated resolve in ensuring that the production standards were met. This resulted in the high visual quality you saw on our Channel 8, SG50 trilogy drama, The Journey.”

SIDM Lecturer, Arina Ong added: “We appreciate this opportunity from our partner MediaCorp. This project exposed our students to different types of filming and post-production techniques in a real-world context. They learnt how the filming crew needs to think fast on its feet to come up with creative solutions to resolve unforeseen situations. More importantly, they understood that true teamwork requires doing whatever it takes, regardless of their roles, to achieve a positive outcome.”

Indeed, NYP equipped its students to prove their prowess in weaving visual magic into MediaCorp’s blockbuster drama trilogy. 

Because We Can


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