The Pacific

  10 part mini series
Client: HBO
Locations: Melbourne & Far North Queensland
Felicetti provided Construction, Special Effects and Stunts Engineering


The Pacific is a 2010 American television series produced by HBO, Playtone and DreamWorks that premiered in the United States on March 14, 2010.

The series is a companion piece to the 2001 miniseries Band of Brothers and focuses on the United States Marine Corps’ actions in the Pacific Theater of Operations within the wider Pacific War. The Pacific centers on the experiences of three Marines (Eugene Sledge, Robert Leckie and John Basilone) who were all in different regiments of the 1st Marine Division.

The miniseries features the 1st Marine Division’s battles in the Pacific, such as Guadalcanal, Cape Gloucester, Peleliu, and Okinawa, as well as Basilone’s involvement in the Battle of Iwo Jima. It is based primarily on the memoirs of two U.S. Marines: With the Old Breed: At Peleliu and Okinawa by Eugene Sledge; and Helmet for My Pillow by Robert Leckie. It also draws on Sledge’s China Marine and Red Blood, Black Sand, the memoir of Chuck Tatum, a Marine who fought alongside Basilone on Iwo Jima.

With regards to production budget The Pacific was a $270 million project , of which $24 million was allocated to construction. From a constructional point of view the project was split into 3 sub divisions , One in far north Queensland , another at a quarry site in the You Yangs and the other at the Melbourne Docklands studios. The project consisted of over 100 set elements , costing between $4m and  $20k. The Pacific has the distinction of having the highest construction budget of any film / tv project undertaken in Australia to date.
Peter Felicetti was the Construction and Special Effects Engineer for the production, over a period of 14 months. The role involved engineering design and supervising the construction of all sets in the production,  testing of military  vehicles and direction of vehicle impact scenes, designing scaffolding and rigging systems, engineering stunt sequences, engineering explosion and SFX, model making, calculations and computer analysis, preparing reports and engineering certification.
The Pacific received 8 Emmys® awards, including Outstanding Miniseries; Outstanding Makeup for a Series, Miniseries, Movie or a Special (Non-Prosthetic); Outstanding Prosthetic Makeup for a Series, Miniseries, Movie or a Special; Outstanding Casting for a Miniseries, Movie or a Special; Outstanding Art Direction for a Miniseries or Movie; Outstanding Sound Editing for a Miniseries, Movie or a Special; Outstanding Sound Mixing for a Miniseries or a Movie; and Outstanding Special Visual Effects for a Miniseries,
Refer to this link, for the making of The Pacific

Umurbrogul Hills

The Umurbrogol Hills set of 45,000m2 area (300m x 150m) required major excavation and site levelling works. Over 50 shipping containers were used with attached steel and timber frame to create the landform. The base structure was covered in a geotextile fabric and sprayed with concrete to achieve a coral and rock appearance. Considerable planning and engineering was required to ensure that the set was built in accordance with the Production Designers requirements. The set was constructed over a period of 9 months.

Pelelui Airfield

Thee airfield of 150,000m2 (300m x 500m) area required civil engineering works to cut and fill the site to recreate a second world war airfield. Imported crushed rock was used as a base over a geotextile layer. A number of damaged airfield buildings were created from steel and or timber framing, including; An Administration Building, Various barracks, air raid shelters and communication building.

Iwo Jima

The Iwo Jima set 10,000m2 (100m x 100m) was another major civil engineering exercise. Extensive geotechnical investigations were undertaken of the site to determine ground bearing capacity, soil profile suitability for excavation, and slope stability checks. An existing dam was resculpted to create a beachhead. Prefabricated timber trench frames were placed in excavated pits, and the site covered with geotextile and imported black sand.

Ship Sets

In the carpark of the Melbourne Docklands studios a 6m high Bluescreen was erected around a set that consisted of a portion of a recreated ship. The ship set was altered during the production to recreate a number of ships to suite various scenes. Being an external set, the Bluescreens were subjected to strong winds, hence the scaffold framing required a continuous series of concrete ballast blocks around the perimeter.


To recreate the Okinawan landscape, the 45,000m2 Umurbrogol Hills set was recycled. Portions of the site were re sculpted. New topsoil, buildings and greens were added to the set. Explosive pans were located around the site, which required strengthening of the base structure.

Building Crush

An infill scene was filmed, that did not end up being used in the production of a tank crashing through a building that was being used as a machine gun nest. This required extensive planning, and modifications to the building to ensure that it would collapse at the correct moment and in the right direction for the sequence. Before shooting the scene a test was undertaken with an LVT through a redundant building.

Camp Pembleton

Construction of a US Marine Corps training camp incoroprating Quonset huts and various structures in an obstacle course. The set area was approximately 5000m2 in area.

Studio shoots

In addition to the external sets at the You Yangs, many scenes were shot in the Docklands studios. One such set was a reconstructed landing craft mounted on a gimble, adjacent to a portion of a ship with a rope ladder. The production had high quality OH&S supervision and procedures. Given that actors and stuntmen were working at heights, the various elements of the set had to be properly engineered to ensure stability and strength, and a safe working environment.

Other locations

Film sequences were also shot at the Collingwood Football ground, Flinders Street and the Victoria Docks in addition to locations in Far North Queensland.

Project Credits

Construction Manager: Dominic Ackland-Snow

Consulting Engineer: Peter Felicetti

HOD Set Builder: Ben Corless and Ross Murdoch

HOD Rigger: Tripoint Rigging, Dave Hird

Australian SFX Supervisor: Peter Stubbs

Refer to for a full list of cast and crew