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House of the Dragon showrunner wanted actors to “be holding on for dear life” to their dragon rigs




In the Game of Thrones prequel House of the Dragon, the Targaryens and their dragons were thriving in Westeros around 200 years before the events of the original series. Though riding these dragons was a lot of fun for the cast of the show, it certainly wasn’t easy. And showrunner Ryan Condal planned on making the ride as hard as possible.

How the dragons were filmed for House of the Dragon

House of the Dragon visual effects supervisor Angus Bickerton recently talked to The Brunswick News about the process involved in the creation of the dragons and dragon-riding sequences. Rather than shooting in front of green screens, they made use of the 270-degree LED screen backing known as “the volume”. With 40 tracking cameras, a 25-foot-high screen, and dimensions of 70 feet by 85 feet, the space allowed for far more creative camera movements and lengthier sequences.

The mechanical bull-like mounts that the performers rode in “Thrones” were another modification; these “motion bases” were more sophisticated than their predecessors, offering more range of motion, “more speed and more dynamism,” and other attributes.


House of the Dragon showrunner wasn’t going to make the dragon-riding easy

Bickerton recalled Condal’s hilarious demand, when the showrunner “kept saying, ‘I want the actors to be holding on for dear life.”

Bickerton further continued, “We animated the whole flight in Unreal, then loaded into Third Floor’s ‘Cyclops’ system. This is their particular version of a virtual camera; now you are in the scene, just looking for the coolest angles. We didn’t storyboard and then pre-vis; we did it entirely through these virtual-camera sessions.

“We got very long takes. It’s not an animator sitting down and doing a five-second shot. Our visual effects editor edited that together, then we exported those files to another vendor who reanimated all the dragon stuff.”

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