The London-Based VFX Facility Leaps into Fact-Based TV Programming with a New Production Arm

Cinesite, a visual effects facility in London that has worked on Skyfall, Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides and Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2, has sold its very first television series to Discovery Networks. Against expectation, the new show is a travel and adventure series featuring extreme fisherman Guy Elson called Rod & Rucksack. With a newly established production arm dedicated to creating "quality factual content," Cinesite's departure into reality adventure programming is "the first of a series of exciting productions in development," according to the show's web site. Cinesite's managing director Antony Hunt served as executive producer on the project, which grew out of Elson's 2008 travelogue Rod and a Rucksack — Costa Rica, a personal account of the sportsman's pursuit of wild fish.

Said Hunt about the deal in a prepared statement, "Our experience as a leader in the visual effects industry gives us the creative knowhow and technical ability to produce and co-produce an array of programming. People may be surprised to learn that there are no visual effects in it; it’s simply a stunning travel and adventure series." He also said the move into reality programming was a way to increase "the services and content we offer in addition to visual effects."

The six-part series of 60-minute installments was filmed in HD in late 2011 in collaboration with gassProductions and will be distributed by Discovery into the European, Middle Eastern and African markets. The production crew followed Elson to remote locations across Australia, Bolivia, Canada, Mongolia and Panama.