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Following Framestore’s acquisition of post business Company 3, VFX studio Method and their sister companies last November, the VFX company behind the recently Oscar-nominated The Midnight Sky and Academy Award-winning Gravity confirmed that it will take a next step in the integration of the companies by merging Method’s feature and TV VFX business into its Framestore VFX business and brand.
It’s a logical (and not unexpected) move as the acquisition “was about scale” and in the case of tentpole movies with massive VFX needs such as Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2, Framestore and Method have already worked together among the VFX providers.
“I would imagine [VFX] projects in 2022 will be under [the single name] Framestore and have a fully integrated Method,” Fiona Walkinshaw, Framestore’s global managing director of film, told The Hollywood Reporter. “For this year we are assuming it will be Framestore and Method [brands], which isn’t to say we may, as projects start wrapping in say the Method pipeline, we might incorporate some artists into the Framestore pipeline ahead of everything else. We are working that out.”
“Method already had some work booked in and they will deliver that under the Method brand,” she added, meaning that for at least the rest of 2021 movie goers will continue to see the Method name in film and TV credits such as those for upcoming Top Gun: Maverick and Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings.
The integration will involve connecting the multi-country Framestore and Method bases via a single VFX pipeline and network. When combined, Framestore — which is headquartered in London and also maintains feature and TV VFX bases in Montreal, New York and Mumbai — gains Method footprints and artists in Vancouver, Montreal and Melbourne. Walkinshaw adds that the Method brand would continue to be used for Method Advertising and Special Projects (Framestore also maintains a commercials business under the Framestore brand). Method sister company Encore VFX additionally retains its brand.
Walkinshaw also notes that Framestore may add an L.A. office for its Framestore Preproduction Services, which the company launched earlier this year after a previsualization joint venture with The Third Floor ended.
Framestore recently restructured its film and TV divisions with the latter led by James Whitlam, who was promoted to the new role of managing director, episodic (he recently produced the BAFTA-winning VFX on His Dark Materials), reporting to Walkinshaw.
Episodic work currently under the Framestore banner includes 1899, an eight-part series helmed by Dark creators Jantje Friese and Baran bo Odar and produced by Dark Ways. Framestore’s Christian Kaestner (Captain Marvel, The Aeronauts) is serving as VFX supervisor.
This series will involve virtual production using an LED volume launched by Dark Bay (a Dark Ways company) and Germany’s Studio Babelsberg, where the LED stage is based. 1899 is the first project to make use of the stage, designed in collaboration with Framestore, ARRI Solutions Group and Faber AV. The LED wall is roughly 180 feet in circumference and 23-foot high, comprising 1470 ROE LED panels, in addition to a revolving stage.
Recent and upcoming feature VFX work from Framestore including The Tomorrow War, The Suicide Squad and No Time To Die.
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