BBC, Netflix and ZDF

The Worst Witch Series Four

Flipbook Studio completed 700 shots for The Worst Witch Series Four

Building from the knowledge and experience gained in season three, we were tasked with producing VFX for the latest BBC, Netflix and ZDF series that aired on CBBC. 

With the lead role of Mildred changing hands, season four brings an entirely new storyline and feel that the Flipbook team needed to match with expert visuals – this included the creation of a whole world for the Vanishment.


  • VFX
  • SFX
  • Post


  • VFX
  • SFX
  • Post


The Process

To strategise the production of each episode block, our artists continually planned ahead to finish the VFX needed. We also assigned a different supervisor to each block to ensure the completion of every shot during the busy schedule. 

To finalise 700 shots in the series, we delivered edits for the less complex shots every couple of weeks, matching the number of filmed episodes. For the shots with higher complexity, planning ahead and beginning work early was an integral part of the process. 

Pre-production was vital. We worked closely with the BBC’s in-house staff – the producers, directors and SFX team – to achieve the director’s vision, all while working within the show’s schedule and assigned budget. It worked like magic. 

The Broomstick Ladder

In episode one, Flipbook was tasked with the creation of a broomstick ladder followed by a flying sequence where one of the brooms flies straight into the sky – we needed to provide the viewers with a sense of jeopardy as the student climbs all the way to the top.

Like all great magicians, we worked closely with the BBC’s design department and the Quicksilver SFX team, producing a classic combination of practical and computer effects. A moveable rig for the ladder was made and shot on location with a green screen. Plates were also filmed on location, using drones to give us an accurate sense of height. 

For the wider shots, we created a digital double of Mildred and used covering wires for the digital brooms flying into place. The first shot of Mildred climbing required a take over from location shoot to greenscreen, stitching plates together invisibly and inserting CGI brooms.


The Vanishment 

For the Vanishment, the director envisioned a dark realm that was lit by portals connected to the normal world – it’s a dimensional dumping area with lost objects endlessly dropping into piles. With help from the concept team, we were provided with an outline to build the world from – we also took inspiration from the cinematic Valkyrie battle in Thor Ragnorok

The dark atmosphere of the Vanishment required shooting closeups on a black backdrop, with the wider shots using a green backdrop. This halved our time in post and allowed us to invest more energy into every detail of the Vanishment’s design. 

The challenge came when attempting to create a tower three times taller than the space in the studio. We worked closely with the production designer to create three separate set parts that interlocked when comped together. We brought these elements into our 3D scene of the Vanishment world and modelled them onto planes – this allowed us to create camera moves on each static plate. We shot all of the extras on the green screen to populate the Vanishment filling with junk. 


Across multiple episodes, the character, Enid, shows off her speed running technique, climaxing in a race to the witch games. 

“To start with, we looked at previous examples of speedrunning – Quicksilver in X-men and Avengers served as great inspiration. Shooting-wise, we decided that two framings worked best, side on and straight at the runner. With a green screen running machine, this method meant we could shoot everyone running efficiently for the edit. Plates were then shot with drones to match the speed we needed,” said Ben Haworth. 

Our artists created digital doubles that matched the exact movements of the live-action runners to emit particles and create the effect of slipstreams. We also added optical aberrations to emulate the distortion of time caused by the runners’ speed. For any wide shots, and for every shot in episode eight, we had to create each runner digitally.  

For more insight into our VFX wizardry, check out our other case studies here, and drop us a line to find out how we can provide effects, animations, and technical enhancements to your project. 

You can catch The Worst Witch season four and our spell-bounding effects on BBC iPlayer now. 


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