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      Fleur WintersFounder and Producer, Big Blue Productions

      For Rampvlucht, the large-scale TV series conspiracy thriller about a flight crash and investigations by the Dutch Parliament between 1992−1998, ReadySet Studios used virtual production techniques to facilitate real-time digital environments of the Parliament spaces and Amsterdam’s Airport traffic tower. Working with award-winning producer Fleur Winters of Amsterdam’s Big Blue productions, the five-part pollical thriller and first Big Blue original production was released at the end of 2022 and won the Golden Calf (Dutch Oscar) for best drama series in the Netherlands. The production is notable as the first Dutch television series to make extensive use of in-camera visual effects (ICVFX).

      Winters has broad industry experience in both film and television, initially working as an international film sales agent and a senior (format) buyer. In 2015 she began producing feature films at Amsterdam-based Lemming Film and, shortly after as Co-CEO, started to focus on expanding the international drama series output of the studio. In 2020 Winters founded Big Blue, a production company fully focused on high-end drama series.

      Among Winters’ producer’s credits are the acclaimed Dutch-Belgian crime series Fenix (KPN), two seasons of the international co-production Heirs of the Night (producer and executive producer, NPO (NL), NDR (GE) and NRK (NO) and international distributor ZDF) and co-productions Soil (Vier, Netflix, produced by Lumiere) and Arcadia (VRT (BE)/KRONCRV (NL)/WDR, SWR (GE), produced by jonnydepony).

      ReadySet spoke to Winters about her experience incorporating virtual production in the creative workflow on Rampvlucht.

      On the set of Rampvlucht: using Virtual Production to shoot in 'impossible' locations.

      Q: Tell us about Big Blue?

      FW: Big Blue is a production company fully focused on high-end drama series. Based in Amsterdam, Big Blue aims to work with talented writers and directors to create urgent, ambitious, original, and entertaining series in various genres for a broad national and international audience.

      Q. What were the key benefits of using virtual production on Rampvlucht?

      FW: Virtual production offered the Rampvlucht production team numerous benefits. The first was the ability to shoot on locations otherwise unavailable or to create sets that would be impractical to build. Another key benefit was the ability to shoot scenes in a controlled studio setting, which enabled us to shoot in a highly effective manner.

      Big Blue is a professional partner with ReadySet’s sister studio, Planet X, which provides VFX know-how and skills on our national and international productions. Having the ability to directly connect to a virtual production studio provided maximum value to the series allowing us to easily collaborate and combine the virtual production elements with additional VFX needs.

      Q: Did you know at the outset of production on Rampvlucht that the series would make use of virtual production/ICVFX techniques?

      FW: A considerable number of scenes in the series important to the narrative take place in the Amsterdam Schiphol Airport, and the Dutch Parliament as investigations about the cause of the crash and the mysterious cargo inside the plane are underway. Two of the main spaces where the Dutch government resides, the First Chamber (Eerste Kamer, or ‘senate’) and Second Chamber (Tweede Kamer, or ‘house of representatives’), are not accessible to film crews, and we needed to recreate the 1992–1998 time period when the story is set.

      “We had initially discussed using virtual production as an option for one of the locations but never thought it would actually be the answer to filming three crucial locations.”

      Q: What was the most surprising aspect of making use of virtual production on Rampvlucht?

      FW: The aspect that most surprised me is how virtual production sets are as visually authentic as the real locations we were looking for or were unable to shoot at. The advice from ReadySet Studios’ team of skilled professionals, including production designer Florian Legters was very valuable.

      In addition, making use of virtual production techniques for the first time offered insight into potential future usage of this type of workflow and an understanding that it can be implemented at the script phase while creating new story worlds – the opportunities are truly exciting.

      Q: What’s next for Big Blue? Are there any upcoming productions that might leverage the use of ReadySet Studios’ virtual production services?

      FW: Big Blue has a slate of several national and international projects, including our high-level project Until I Find You, based on and in collaboration with Academy Award-winning author John Irving, and a European comedy set in Berlin but shot mostly in The Netherlands.

      Although it is too soon to say, we hope to work again soon with ReadySet Studios!