The 'dark Satanic mills'

And did the Countenance Divine
Shine forth upon our clouded hills?
And was Jerusalem builded here
Among these dark Satanic mills?

From William Blake's 'Preface to Milton' (1804)

The hellish landscapes of the old industrial north,
celebrated in so much literature and art, rousing
so much passion and fear - what wonderful
inspirations for imagery, even now in a time when
those days have slipped out of living memory.

Despite the possibilities, time and budget constrains
us, as ever, so we had to decide on a shot that
would at least give some glimpse into a part of this


The cgi was also to be mixed with footage of mill
machinery, producing a montage of industry.

We chose to start the shot down on a canal, craning
up to reveal a forest of chimneys and rooftops against
a red and angry sunset.

Much of the approach to the Pendle Gallows shot
also applied here. Establish the idea, determine the
line of sight, build what you need to see, then create
the rest of the atmosphere in compositing with soft
glows and drifting mist.

The screengrab on the left reveals the 3D scene. The
camera in lower-left looking along the canal, bounded
by tall mills, and copies of basic mill buildings and
chimneys spread out beyond. We only see the ground
around the canal, so there was no need for it in the


As with Episode 3, we added mist along the canal, and smoke from the chimneys.

All the textures are grimey and dull, and the redness pervades both these and the lighting.
The 3D models and scene may be relatively straightforward but the lighting and textures
and effects is what brings it to life.

I have no doubt Take 27 will revisit the north of the Industrial Revolution, but for now
click the link on the right to see the final shot.




Click Here to see the Final Mills Shot!



Click to go Back to Episode 5 Page


Click to go to the Pendle Gallows