Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Interview with Framestore about Gravity and VFX

The big winner at this year's Academy Awards was undoubtably Alfonso Cuarón's Gravity. It won all of the major technical awards including Best Cinemtography and Best Visual Effects, so I got in touch with the post-production company that was involved with the film to ask them a few questions...

How does Framestore stand out from the other post-production companies in the UK? 

FS: It’s a very competitive sector – every year a number of the VFX nominees for the big film awards come from the UK. This year we stand out because of how well Gravity has been received and we’re truly very grateful for all the attention our work has been given.

Are there any services that are unique to the London offices of the company?

FS: Really we’re just one Framestore – anything we can do in London we can do in Montreal, New York or LA too and we collaborate on a lot of projects and people move between the offices. For the Super Bowl for example our three advertising offices all worked together on five different campaigns, while RoboCop had work by both our London and Montreal offices.

Does the debate about whether Gravity is a ‘British’ film infuriate you?! What would you say to audiences / commentators that have doubts?

FS: It’s a hard definition to make, it was a Warner Brothers film after all, with a Mexican director and American stars. But it was pre-vised in Britain, filmed here and Alfonso Cuaron,  David Heyman and their teams had offices at Framestore during pre and post production, where about 80% of what you see on screen was made. The music, which adds so much to our final images, was also created in Britain. The debate doesn’t really have a right or wrong answer though – we’re just pleased it’s made more people aware of our contribution.

Gravity still

The film has just been released on Blu-Ray / 3D.  Did Framestore have a large role in these releases?  Extra features etc.

FS: We’ve contributed to the extra features yes, you’ll find quite a few behind-the-scenes interviews with our team on there.

What software do you expect new recruits / graduates to be skilled in to work on VFX for films?

FS: For people who want to work in 3D we’d want you to be familiar with Maya, while on the 2D side you need to be at home with Nuke. We use other software too obviously, but knowledge of one or both of those two is a good start.

Do you recruit exclusively from people with degrees in Digital Production?

FS: No, we recruit people from lots of different backgrounds. We have engineers, computer scientists, physicists, mathematicians and artists as well as people with VFX or animation qualifications.

Could you say a few words about the Bournemouth University outpost and what the students were involved in on Gravity and other projects?

FS: We set up a space in the University’s Enterprise Pavilion where graduates (not just from Bournemouth) can get into tracking, paint and roto. They’ve worked on some big films, including Gravity, and several people have since moved to one of our other global offices.

Are there any new exciting developments that you are allowed to talk about?

FS: We’re working on quite a few films due out this year – Guardians of the Galaxy, Jupiter Ascending and Dracula Untold. We’re also bringing Paddington Bear to the big screen, which we’re really excited about. Away from film, people will be able to play with the Games of Thrones virtual reality installation we’ve made at SXSW from Friday.

I'd like to thank Framestore for answering my questions.
Gravity is available now  

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