Exclusive: watch Proof’s previs reel for ‘The Sandman’

And find out how the occultist summoning Dream sequence was visualized.

For the Netflix series, The Sandman, based on the Neil Gaiman comic books, Proof worked on visualizing more than 50 sequences. One of them was the summoning scene, where the occultist summons Dream. Here’s Proof previs supervisor Adam Coglan on how that was achieved, plus an exclusive look at Proof’s entire previs reel for the show.

Adam Coglan: The summoning sequence was one of the first sequences of the fifty plus sequences that Proof worked on for Sandman and it’s actually one of my favorites. Once I’d read the script for the sequence I could see that they were keeping pretty close to the source material, so having the books in front of us while we worked was extremely useful and it terms of reference, I could open a page, show a character or a shot framing to an artist and say, “Like this.”

The summoning sequence had really good storyboards and as well as these I was able to go to Shepperton and do a walkthrough of the scene with Mike, the director on episode 1. Mike Gilbert, our lead modeler, had built our model of the set from the construction plans, so everything in our world matched up with the real set.

Production VFX supervisor Ian Markiewicz and the VFX team gave us so much freedom and creative control on this show and there was a great atmosphere of collaboration. After a few discussions with Ian we started looking at the actual summoning effect itself. He wanted to steer clear of anything too “magicy” looking and had an idea of it feeling like a tv signal fading in and out through white noise. Our effect involved particle systems and fluids for the white noise interference and then we had Dream appearing and disappearing, distorted as if on an old, untuned tv.

When we did the classic, top down shot of Dream, captured in the magic circle, that was the real goosebumps moment. But throughout the ten months that we were on the show, we had the opportunity to visualise many classic scenes from the books, from Lucienne’s library to the Gates of Horn and Ivory and Lucifer’s palace to Rose Walker’s dream worlds.

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