In the high-stakes world of historical dramas, where authenticity and visual spectacle are paramount, the Apple TV+ miniseries Masters of the Air has soared to new heights.

Behind the scenes, the VFX studio Whiskytree has played a crucial role in transporting viewers back to the harrowing skies of World War II.

Now, you can see all of the work that went into making the show look and feel real, in their video explainer below.

'Masters of the Air' VFX

The recently released Apple TV+ miniseries, Masters of the Air, has captivated audiences with its gripping portrayal of World War II aerial combat.

Behind the scenes, the visual effects studio Whiskytree played a pivotal role in bringing the historical drama to life.

From meticulously recreating Nazi-occupied Paris to depicting the aftermath of D-Day, Whiskytree's innovative techniques and attention to detail have set a new standard for historical accuracy in visual effects.

Here's how they accomplished all of that and more.

Recreating 1943 Paris

One of the most impressive feats achieved by Whiskytree was the recreation of 1943 Paris. To ensure authenticity, the team meticulously researched the actual path the airmen would have taken and used reference materials from the time, including actual maps and new videos from the train route.

Eighteen unique environments were created, with Parisian buildings designed in the Hussmann style using Houdini. Whiskytree even used a smartphone to record their own artists' movements, then uploaded the footage to PlaskAI, an AI-powered animation toolkit, to create realistic crowd scenes.

The B-17 Battle Damage System

For the iconic B-17 bombers, Whiskytree developed a proprietary Boolean-based system that added a randomized layer of damage during the rendering process. This allowed artists to iterate on each model at near-production quality levels and tweak the damage to match specific missions depicted in the series.

D-Day and Beyond

Whiskytree's expertise extended to other key sequences, including the pivotal D-Day scene showing the war-ravaged beaches of Normandy. The team used Maya for the environments, vehicle assets from a library, and Houdini for additional assets like clouds, smoke, wreckage, and troops. Gaffer was employed for lighting, resulting in a visually stunning and emotionally impactful sequence.

The Dutch village and the city of Nuremberg were also brought to life using Maya, Houdini, and Plask AI for crowd scenes.

A New Standard for Historical Accuracy

Whiskytree's work on Masters of the Air demonstrates a commitment to historical accuracy and a willingness to push the boundaries of visual effects technology. By combining meticulous research, innovative tools, and artistic talent, the studio has created a visually stunning and historically authentic portrayal of World War II.

Their efforts have not only elevated the miniseries but have also set a new benchmark for the role of visual effects in historical dramas.Of all the scenes, arguably they were most proud of the D-Day, and I do have an unused quote you can run with:

“The Normandy Beach sequence was such an incredible and powerful moment that we worked with the production team for over six months to ensure that it was exactly right,” said Aidan Fraser, Whiskytree VFX supervisor for the project. “That one shot needed to carry a huge amount of emotional and narrative weight that every detail had to be correct, and it had to be of the highest possible quality.”

Let me know what you think of this and the series in the comments.