A VISUAL effects firm has revealed how they transformed Glasgow into New York for Sky Atlantic's new drama Patrick Melrose.

Vine FX, who are based in Cambridge, created New York's famous skyline in scenes featuring iconic Glasgow locations to add to the authenticity of the new series, which stars Benedict Cumberbatch.

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Key city locations including Cochrane Street, Bothwell Street and the Barras were given a New York makeover by the visual effects firm, and now their managing director Michael Illingworth has explained for the first time how the magic was created.

"We just made sure that the buildings climb right up to the sky," explained Michael.

He added: "I have been working in the visual effects industry for 22 years and at the start there was very few visual effects in feature films to enhance what was there on set.

"Nowadays visual effects can be the main star of the film."

The city serves as New York circa 1982 in the opening episode of the five-part series, which aired last week.

Benedict, known for his roles in Sherlock, The Imitation Game and Avengers: Infinity War, plays troubled but charismatic aristocratic playboy Patrick Melrose who travels to New York to collect his late father's ashes.

He is joined by a star-studded cast that includes Jennifer Jason Leigh, Hugo Weaving, Blythe Danner, Allison Williams and Jessica Raine.

Evening Times: Cochrane Street

Evening Times: Cochrane Street during filming

Evening Times: Cochrane Street after special effects 

Photographs provided to The Evening Times show the transformation of scenes in the series. During filming, Cochrane Street had 20 America-style cars on the road but the editing process by Vine FX created a gridlock traffic scene, and the vehicles were surrounded by high rise towers.

Evening Times: Bothwell Street 

Evening Times: Bothwell Street during filming

Evening Times: Bothwell Street after special effects

A scene featuring Bothwell Street also changed dramatically for the first episode when the city centre stretch instantly had skyscrapers.

Evening Times: The Barras

Evening Times: The Barras during filming

Evening Times: The Barras after special effects

While, Glasgow infamous Barras looked slightly different with some skyscrapers in the distance.

Michael explained: "Our job then is to have an idea of where they are going to film and what they need.

"They managed to locate 20 fantastic 1980s American cars including big yellow taxis.

"We had to work out how many cars we needed and how many takes we would need to fill that street with cars because it is suppose to be gridlocked traffic in the middle of a hot afternoon in New York."

He added: "We had the cars at a prime location right in front of the cameras. We then moved all the cars and swapped them round into a different position.

"Once we got three or four blocks of cars together it goes into the computer and we extend it right off into the horizon."

The firm, who have worked on major BBC productions Merlin and Troy, sent photographer Oliver Milburn to New York city to take photographs of a variety of buildings.

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A process called digital mapping in Photoshop was used to create the visual effects the audience does not realise exists in the aired scenes.

Michael joked: "If people see what we have done then we are not doing job well.

"We were delighted with the final product. Our job was made easy because the buildings on the ground in Glasgow are so good so the less you have to replace, the easier the job.

"I think one of the reasons productions come to Glasgow is that the architecture is fantastic and it is very much in keeping with the styles that you see in New York."

He continued: "If you look at some of the shots outside what they called the Drake Hotel in New York, it is actually an insurance building.

"Our photographer collated lots of photographic reference of new York buildings including distant skylines with the sky scrapers climbing up into the sky.

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"We kept as much of the ground as we could with the fantastic set dressings.

"But our job is to replace the parts of the buildings and extend them upwards because the buildings in the UK only go to a certain height."

The firm admit they are delighted with their contribution to the new series.

Michael said: "When the programme comes out and people are giving it five star reviews, it is absolutely fantastic.

"We are so pleased and privileged that we were part of that process."

Patrick Melrose is available to watch on demand on Sky Atlantic and NOW TV.