7. July 2023

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The second season of Foundation, which aims to set a new standard in the science fiction genre, posed a significant challenge to its creators. The Czech production company, Milk & Honey Pictures, worked on the project for twelve months, employing over 4,000 people. Czech filmmakers in key positions in the Art Department built sets flooded with water and used the new LED Volume technology. Filming took place in Prague Studios as well as on locations across the country.

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Photo courtesy of Apple

An incredible crew base in Prague

The production incentive was an important draw," reveals executive producer David S. Goyer of the essential criteria why the production company Skydance Television decided to shoot the series in the Czech Republic. On the Czech production incentive program, Goyer goes on to say, "we’re really hoping it continues to improve and make the Czech Republic a key location for productions."  

"There are are some wonderful locations — both urban and natural. There is also an incredible crew base in Prague — probably the best group of artisans I have ever worked with," Goyer lists the advantages of shooting in the country.

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Photo courtesy of Apple

Long prep preceded the actual filming of this big series project

“It’s great working with professionals who know what they want,” said Czech service producer Tomáš Krejčí, welcoming the challenge of the project on behalf of Milk & Honey Pictures, which produced the series in the Czech Republic. 

Prep work got underway in March 2021, a full twelve months before the actual filming of the Foundation series started. The pre-production phase itself lasted six months. Filming took place over 74 days between April 7 and July 8, 2022.

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Employment for more than 4,000 Czechs

Several film crews worked on Foundation, totaling an impressive 1,800 people. In total, the project employed more than 4,000 Czechs, including filmmakers and companies providing services such as accommodation, catering, security, and suppliers of various materials and goods.

In addition, thirty trainees worked on the series. They used the opportunity to expand their work experience and acquire new skills. Involving trainees effectively expands the base of local film professionals from which Czech and foreign productions can select crew members for their next project.

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Sets flooded with water

The project made full use of the entire Prague Studios facilities in Letňany, from stages to offices to workshops and warehouses, a total of over 10,000 m2 of studios and another 12,000 m2 of additional space. “It’s great to be able to accommodate such a large-scale sci-fi series based on a beloved book in the Czech Republic,” Krejčí commented enthusiastically.

Construction for all the sets was particularly challenging. The deadlines for their completion were tight, and the construction techniques were complex. Some sets had to be designed and built to be flooded with water.

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Czechs dominated the set and special effects departments

Top professionals are one of the main reasons why foreign productions come to the Czech Republic to film. “Czech filmmakers held key positions in the art department,” Krejčí confirms. They did a great job with the LED Volume technology used in the series and have reliably provided the technical and creative support to implement this new technology.

The set construction, props, action props, and special effects teams were made up exclusively of Czech filmmakers. “As always, the Czech art department scored a big hit and earned the respect of the series production designer Rory Cheyne and art director Nigel Churcher,” says Krejčí.

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LED Volume technology and 3D-printed props

Participation in large-scale projects is always a unique opportunity for local filmmakers to try new techniques and processes, improving their qualifications and expanding their professional skills. And thanks to these skilled professionals, Czech film producers have more opportunities to win exciting contracts from abroad. 

LED Volume technology uses a large-format rear LED projector to shoot scenes in the studio against almost any background in real time. It provides an even more lifelike illusion of reality than green screen and elevates the possibilities of film effects to the next level.

In addition to the LED Volume technology, the filmmakers also tried their hand at producing props on 3D printers, a more efficient and faster process.

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Photo courtesy of Apple

Fantastic locations bring the world of Foundation to life

Foundation was made not only in the studios. Numerous well-chosen locations scouted by location manager Jakub Mertl from the location agency Finders bring the story to life in an extraordinary way. One of his main tasks was to look for examples of Brutalist architecture.

Foundation was filmed all over the Czech Republic - primarily in North Bohemia and North Moravia - Ostrava. The crews filmed in Sedlec, Pardubice, Střemy, Kladno, Nevřen, Homolák Quarry, the Prachov Rocks, Tisá, Dobříš, Kačina Chateau, and Prague.

A huge production and creative challenge

The production’s total spending in the Czech Republic was CZK 1 618 256 197, with the production incentives of CZK 304 681 041.  

The Season 2 of Foundation was a huge production and creative challenge that we successfully handled to the satisfaction of everyone involved,” says Tomáš Krejčí, who believes the result will reflect in the viewer response.

The series directed by Alex Graves, Roxann Dawson, Mark Tonderal, and David S. Goyer, premieres July 14, 2023.