Vine FX transport viewers to the Hungarian underworld in BBC’s gripping drama Baptiste

BBC One’s long-anticipated spin-off series from The Missing, Baptiste season 2 was one of the productions halted by the coronavirus and lockdown measures. Working alongside Two Brother Pictures, Vine FX delivered over 270 shots as the sole vendor. After filming stopped in Budapest due COVID restrictions, the team were brought in to help transform UK sets into Hungarian locations. The six-parter resumed filming in September 2020 and follows retired detective Julien Baptiste (Tchéky Karyo) as he delves into Budapest’s corrupt underworld. 

VFX Supervisor Michael Illingworth, collaborated with series producer John Griffin, establishing solutions to issues caused not only by travel restrictions – but also talent availability constraints. Scenes that were shot in the UK were altered to visually represent locations including Central Budapest, a Hungarian ski resort and mountainous winter terrain. 

John Giffin commented on his experience working with Vine FX, 

“I found working with Vine on the second series of Baptiste a really collaborative and rewarding experience. They guided us creatively through some quite difficult challenges and helped us deliver a high quality show, making the process rewarding and fun. And from a budget perspective, again they helped and guided us through best value solutions and often at short notice. I’m very proud to have worked with them.” John Griffin. 

As the sole vendor, Vine FX delivered 270 shots for the show, some of which required detailed snow enhancements. The task was larger than initially anticipated due to the travel restrictions prohibiting the ability to re-shoot snowy elements in the Börzsöny mountains of Northern Hungary. The Vine FX team assisted in rebuilding the required snowy scenery shot on the London plates – snowfall, icy frost patches and dense forest were integrated to counter the autumnal colours originally shot. 

With the ongoing travel restriction implications, 3D set extensions were created to transform the Watford set into Budapest. The production team hired a local photographer to source photogrammetry for buildings that would be built in 3D. The images were then used to build a series of streets which were blended into the Watford set and transported to the busy Hungarian location.

During a scene within the season finale, alterations were made to drone plates that were shot in Dagenham in order to represent a hospital rooftop located in central Budapest. The client brief required the location to be transformed with views that overlooked the busy cityscape. Production worked with local location managers to source suitable VFX elements with the correct angles and required lighting conditions. These moving elements allowed Vine FX to embed the hospital into an authentic central city location.

The Vine FX team delivered the show whilst working entirely remotely, with the project overseen by VFX Line Producer Kaitlyn Beattie. Now confirmed as the final in the Baptiste series, the first episode saw 4.4m viewers tune in – The Guardian described the show as ‘A heartstopping whodunnit with The Missing sleuth’. 

Vine FX are currently working on The Tower (ITV), Extinction (Sky), The Tourist (HBO) & War of the Worlds S3 (Disney+)