Abysses on France 2: how were the animal attack scenes produced?

The “Abyss” series begins when sea creatures attack humans overnight! But how were the scenes with these aggressive animals shot?

Monday June 12, 2023, France 2 continues to broadcast its Abysses event series from 9:10 p.m. In this rather successful fiction, scientists around the world (or almost!) are worried when the seabed and the creatures it contains rebel against men by attacking them!

Viewers find in the credits the actors Leonie Benesch, Cécile de France (who confided in AlloCiné), Alexander Karim, Joshua Odjick, Barbara Sukowa, Krista Kosonen, Rosabell Laurenti Sellers, Takuya Kimura, Eidin Jalali, Takehiro Hira, Dutch Johnson and Duncan-Brewster.

On the screen, many artifices and special effects have been used to give the illusion that scenes take place in the open sea. The attacks by the animals are also quite impressive. Jan Stoltz, the VFX supervisor throughout the eight episodes of Abyss, has also taken the time to reveal to AlloCiné the manufacturing secrets of these sequences…

AlloCiné: Where were the actors filmed for the scenes in or on the water: at sea, in a tank, on a green screen?

Jan Stoltz: For the whale and killer whale attack, we mainly shot the scenes in a giant water tank with the sky as a backdrop. The moment the whale crashes into the tourists’ boat was shot on a real boat. The crash of the whale (underwater) was shot in computer graphics.

Were real animals used or were they created using computer graphics?

All whales are computer generated. Only some shots of orcas swimming are stock footage combined with real animals. The killer whale that died on the beach at the start of the series is also in CGI.

Were the attacks also created or were real images reused in “Abyss”?

All of the attacks in the series are created with CG animated creatures such as crabs, schools of fish or whales. Sometimes we used stock images to improve the plans or to establish the plans of the different places.

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