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Clever Short Film Digitally Removes All Signs of Life In London | With Tutorial

By Hanssie on November 20th 2014

The last major epidemic of the bubonic plague in England is known as The Great Plague of 1665. It happened at the tail-end of a 400 year long pandemic where pockets of plagues threatened to wipe out Europe with illness and disease. The Great Plague succeeded in killing an estimated 100,000 people, nearly 20% of London’s population at the time.

This is the inspiration behind, Miasmatic, a short film created by Claire and Maxime of Menilmonde. Miasma was a theory that these diseases, such as Black Death and the bubonic plagues, were caused by “bad air.” Plague doctors during that time period would wear bird-like masks with beaks and cover themselves head-to-toe to protect them from these airborne diseases. The beaks would be filled with herbs, such as lavender, to counter the “evil” smells of miasma and protect them from getting infected.



In this 5 minute film, the streets of London were digitally emptied of people, cars, and signs of life (except glimpses of a mysterious plague doctor figure that will surely appear in my nightmares tonight). Filming took place this past October and it took 72 to capture all the footage. To edit all the activity out of each scene, the pair used Photoshop Creative Cloud and Sony Vegas Pro 12, exercised much patience (with each shot taking up to 8 hours to “empty the streets,”) and according to the pair, emotional and psychological support from their two pet bunnies.

The film is cleverly edited with images of a plague doctor spliced in, screen static and eerie music to complete the effect, making this very clever video one you shouldn’t watch in the dark before bedtime.

Watch ‘Miasmatic’

Claire and Max share a detailed explanation of how they made this film on their website, including “Anti-Miasmatic,” which shows the actual footage before the people were extracted set to happy Disney music, giving the entire film a very different feel. It will also make you appreciate the amount of work  that actually went into digitally altering the streets of London into a barren wasteland straight from the set of the Walking Dead…minus the moaning zombies (add scary bird doctor).


If you want to delve deeper into the making of Miasmatic, they also provide a tutorial showing the step-by-step post process involved. It’s all in French, so you can enjoy listening to the tutorial in the language of love, while reading the subtitles.

Watch ‘Anti-Miasmatic’


Watch the Post-Processing Tutorial of ‘Miasmatic’

[Via Laughing SquidClaire&Max on Vimeo.]

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Hanssie is a Southern California-based writer and sometimes portrait and wedding photographer. In her free time, she homeschools, works out, rescues dogs and works in marketing for SLR Lounge. She also blogs about her adventures and about fitness when she’s not sick of writing so much. Check out her work and her blog at Follow her on Instagram

Q&A Discussions

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  2. Basit Zargar

    Great article !

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  3. Tosh Cuellar

    WOW! wonderful stuff. saw something similar before, but not nearly as in depth, really fantastic.

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  4. AJ Luna

    I wish I’m fluent in French.

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  5. Aaron Cheney

    This is just nuts! Bravo to their patience

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  6. Duc Hong

    really cool effect, it’s not the photos that creep me out, it’s the background music, really impressive

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  7. Rui Pinto

    And the award for more patience goes toooooo…this guy! Very cool!

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  8. Peter Nord

    Is this a case of just when you think everything has been done, then it hasn’t.

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