“It’s really like forensics in a way, because you are trying to put the right person in the right spot”:
For production designer Mark Geraghty, getting everything right on set of History Channel’s Vikings is all about making sure what is shown visually, matches what is written in the script. He works very closely with writer Michael Hirst to achieve this:
Michael is a very visual writer and so it jumps off the page at you – there are no grey areas. We bounce ideas of each other – different ways of doing things, different places. I might come up with a good idea which he’ll put into the script, but obviously it’s what’s possible to achieve in the time and with the restraints of any show.
However, because Vikings is based on a culture that had very little by way of the written word, most of what is created for the set is an amalgamation between research and logical assumptions:
It will always be up for debate – what was right and what was wrong. But we have the responsibility to take the bull by the horns and say okay this is what we think. We have never done anything ridiculous or pushed the boat out. We were always very conscious – okay if they made this, the art on their walls, their Gods or props – well that goes because if they can make that pot out of metal then they can make this. We know they were able to make a pot and so we know they could make this then. We know they had swords and they had metal works, different materials and textures. We know they had natural colour from berries, and so we introduced colour.
Vikings, so far has not used as much CGI on set as some other popular TV series, but, according to Mark, it is still neccessary:
It’s a necessary tool, and it saves our bacon. I work very closely with them, and even after we stop filming I go all the way through to the end with them. I won’t let anything go past me, and so it’s a very important tool. I don’t think we can achieve these shows without it, but I think you gave to be very careful how and when you use it … Crowd replication is fantastic, and we could never afford the extras for battles. There is always the removal of modern stuff because we are constantly dealing with electrical pylons and poles.
You can read the full interview Mark Geraghty did with HeyUGuys about Season 3 of History Channel’s Vikings by clicking here.
Source: HeyUGuys – On set with the Vikings Part One: “The best design work in the world goes unnoticed.”
(Photo Credit: History Channel, Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Studios Inc.)