Channel 4, AMC and Kudos’ Humans (8×60-minutes) is set in a parallel present where the latest must-have gadget for any busy family is a ‘Synth’, a highly-developed robotic servant eerily similar to its live counterpart. In the hope of transforming the way they live, one strained suburban family purchases a refurbished synth only to discover that sharing life with a machine has far-reaching and chilling consequences.

What The Flying Colour Company was asked to do:

Following a competitive pitch, TFCC was awarded all of the VFX work including the Synth eyes.

How we did it

Creative director Dominic Thomson designed a specific look and blue print for each different pair of Synth eyes. The TFCC team, including senior vfx artist Jaime Leonard, then managed the application of that design throughout the various different scenes ensuring the Synths appearance was consistent at all times. The same innovative eye design and template was used by C4 Creative for its On Air commercials, its Regent Street shop front campaign, its bus adverts and its digital signage.

Delivered VFX shots included the opening animation sequence – transitioning from camera lens to Synth Eyes – which required various techniques including animation for the camera lens. Multiple Synth duplication shots were also completed for the opening scene in the Synth warehouse. This involved a motion control rig, Synth replication through rotoscoping and the compositing of various layers to produce overhead and tracking shots. Further Synth replication was applied to a scene at a Pepper farm. Background compositing and both landscape as well as urban compositions and cleanup shots were also completed by TFCC. Autodesk Flame was used throughout.

In total, TFCC provided as many as 300 VFX shots for each 60-minute episode.

What the papers said:

The Mirror – Channel 4’s Persona Synthetics ad for Humans could be the best TV promo we’ve ever seen

Washable – Adverts for robot housekeepers are terrifying a lot of people

The Independent – Persona Synthetics: Channel 4 freaks viewers out with fake cyborg housekeeper advert that’s actually for its new series Human

Broadcast – Humans becomes Channel 4’s biggest-ever drama

The Guardian – AI: will the machines ever rise up?

The Independent – It’s a synth for Channel 4 once you know how (click on the image to zoom in)

new doc 9

Synth for Channel 4


The Flying Colour Company pitched to me and they were really in tune creatively with what we were trying to achieve. They gave us no restrictions; they simply said: “Shoot what you need to for the scene and the eyes are our problem”. This was exactly what we needed.

Chris Fry, Series producer