The monthly email update from the UK Screen Alliance,
the trade body representing VFX, Studios, Post Production
in partnership with Animation UK
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May 2017
In this month's edition:
  • Sargent Disc: Creates new software for production companies
  • Framestore Partners with Facebook on Surround 360° Camera 
  • Studio Liddell earn award nomination for Ranger Rob
  • Outpost VFX delivers over 100 shots for Life

Sargent Disc: Creates new software for production companies to reduce admin. 

CrewStart™, new software created in house by UK Screen member Sargent-Disc, is designed to help production teams to automate the processing of contracts, start forms, daily rate vouchers and timesheets. Amongst the benefits is that it enables production companies to reduce administration; to sign contracts securely and submit start paperwork; to calculate timesheets, approve documents and ensure the accuracy of fully auditable reports.


Here’s how CrewStart™ worked for Arrow Media:

Keeping the books is essential for any business but when you are as successful as Arrow Media the sheer amount and complexity of paperwork quickly becomes a logistical minefield.

At any one time Arrow Media will have up to twenty shows in development. Managing payroll and compliance for one production can be taxing enough but juggling multiple projects, each with a different timeline and combinations of hundreds of employees, is an intricate and time consuming business.

It’s vital too – omit one signature or neglect to issue a contract for even the shortest term employee and the legal consequences could be very serious. At the very least a failure to pay on time will disrupt a production’s relationship with its staff.


“Creating, issuing and approving contracts takes time and a backlog builds up quickly when you have 20 to 60 people on a production,” says Iain Pelling, Managing Director of Arrow Media. “Anything that can reduce and simplify the paperwork and keep us running smoothly has to be of benefit.”

To streamline the management process, Pelling turned to Sargent-Disc because of the company’s industry expertise and specialist production payroll services. The initial conversation developed into a partnership as Sargent-Disc worked with Arrow Media to tailor CrewStart™ for Arrow’s needs.



Framestore Partners with Facebook
on Surround 360
° Camera 


In a partnership revealed at Facebook's F8 Development conference, Framestore was unveiled as the official creative and technology developer for the new additions to Facebook's Surround 360 family of 360° cameras.

Framestore Facebook 360

The x24, and its smaller counterpart, x6, are 6DoF (six degrees of freedom) cameras. Framestore contributed its vast experience in spherical video, depth estimation, point cloud workflows, stitching and data management to these latest Surround 360 software and hardware developments.

Early and direct collaboration with Facebook was key for the Framestore team, led by Executive Creative Director Aron Hjartarson, Senior Creative Developer and Sci-Tech Oscar winner Johannes Saam, and Creative Producer Guillaume Raffi. They tackled a variety of challenges, echoing Facebook’s own wider ethos of breaking new ground through constant iteration.




Studio Liddell earn award nomination
for Ranger Rob

Studio Liddell have been shortlisted for an international broadcasting award with their favourite boy scout, Ranger Rob.

Canada’s Youth Media Alliance has revealed it’s nominees for the prestigious 2017 English Language Awards of Excellence for TV programmes and digital productions, which recognise the country’s top producers and broadcasters of screen-based content for young viewers.

Ranger Rob

Studio Liddell have been shortlisted alongside world leading Children’s entertainment production company Nelvana, who selected Studio Liddell to collaborate on this amazing project.

18 months in the making, a team of 40 artists were designated to work on fifty-two 11 minute Ranger Rob episodes. The project required Studio Liddell to create a shot management system to co-ordinate with Nelvana’s existing system, to allow easy management of the process.
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Outpost VFX delivers over
100 shots for Life 

OutpostVFX is delighted to announce that they delivered over 100 visual effects shots for Life, the new sci-fi thriller from Sony Pictures.

Outpost - Life

Working alongside colleagues at London-based studios including Double Negative and ILM, as well as Life’s VFX Supervisor John Moffatt, a team of 30 Outpost artists delivered all the shots in eight weeks.

The award of work was mainly made up of 3D set extensions, complex rig removal as well as particularly interesting fun scene involving the creation of a 3D yoyo in space.

Outpost VFX Supervisor Marcin Kolendo was thrilled to be supervising on a project of this nature, and was particularly pleased with the creation of a photo real CG yoyo performing in zero gravity conditions. He said: “The yoyo needed to be physically accurate but also had to have a beautiful quality and feel to it. We used a lot of reference material from the International Space Station to assess how things move in zero gravity, and we also met with UK yoyo champion Andy Jones so he could show us how a yoyo behaves.”



BAFTA win for Molinare's Asa Shoul

The Crown
Molinare’s Senior Colourist, Asa Shoul, picked up the Special, Visual & Graphic Effects BAFTA Craft Award at Sunday night’s Ceremony for his work on The Crown.

Asa was nominated along with visual effects company, One of Us, for his work on the Netflix series which also won Best Costume Design at the Ceremony.

The Molinare DI team created a new workflow to help VFX sit in to the grade seamlessly over the 10 hour 4K series.  Asa worked with production before shooting began on camera, costume and makeup tests with both series DoPs and the onset DiT to ensure all departments were confident of the approach and look of the series. 


Axis VFX leads the charge as
main visual effects vendor
on Early Man

Something prehistoric is happening over at Aardman, and the axisVFX team is excited to be a part of it.

Early Man - Axis Aardman

Following their work on Shaun the Sheep: The Movie and the subsequent half-hour TV special Shaun the Sheep: The Farmer’s Llamas, axisVFX are once again working with Aardman once again on its upcoming stop-motion feature, Early Man.

Directed by Nick Park and due for release early 2018, Early Man tells the story of courageous cave-man Dug (voiced by Eddie Redmayne) and his best friend Hognob, who unite a tribe against the mighty Lord Nooth (voiced by Tom Hiddleston) to save their home.

axisVFX will be serve as lead VFX vendor on Early Man, delivering a range of enhancements that span compositing and environmental work.



Blue-Zoo unites ambitious CG animation with broad appeal
for kids in Digby Dragon

In an era defined by remakes and adaptations, getting an original series commissioned is no easy feat, even one with a target demographic of ages 4 to 6.

Which is why when British animation studio Blue-Zoo first pitched Nickelodeon’s London office with Digby Dragon, a preschool show about an anthropomorphic Scottish fire-breather and his coterie of fantastical friends, they made sure to emphasize the series’ unique blend of visual innovation coupled with old-school British charm to get the green light.

“It felt like a real heritage project,” Blue-Zoo co-founder Oli Hyatt says of the show, which was conceived by author and illustrator Sally Hunter, best known for children’s book Humphrey’s Corner. Hunter first approached Blue-Zoo in 2012 with a sketchbook full of ideas for Digby, although the timing was less than ideal since the studio had recently decided to focus only on intellectual property developed in-house. But, Hyatt recalls, he soon “fell so in love with the character” he agreed to take on the show anyway.

BlueZoo - Digby Dragon



Elstree Studios Film Festival has started filming in schools

Elstree Film Studios and Elstree University Technical College are supporting local schools in the Hertsmere area with resources, film experts and mentors to help create their films.

Elstree - Monksmead

Before Easter, Elstree Film Studios and the Elstree University Technical College conducted a Script to Screen Workshop with 15 schools as part of the Elstree Studios Film Festival for Schools initiative. Students worked in groups to come up with a ‘Pitch’ which they presented to the class.

Mentors from the Elstree UTC then asked the students which Pitch they remembered and enjoyed the most and the Pitch with the most votes won. From the winning pitch classes have now written their Scripts, drawn their Storyboards and are ready for the Elstree UTC mentors to help with the filming.

The winning pitches will be filmed on iPads and edited in iMovie. Students will get the chance to go to the Elstree UTC to have an edit masterclass. Afterwards they will watch their films in the Puttnam Suite, the state of the art cinema located in the college.

A total of 15 schools are participating in the Elstree Film Festival.



FMX 2017: Brexit Concern Surfaces on European VFX Panel
Making certain that visa policy continues to ensure that EU artists can work in the U.K. is top priority for Neil Hatton, CEO of the U.K. Screen.

FMX 2017: Milk Co-Founder and UK Screen Board Member Urges VFX Community to Hire More Women
"It's up to us," Will Cohen said Thursday at the FMX confab in Stuttgart.

Film giants criticise new EU rules on digital single market
Over 400 audiovisual sector leaders covering all 28 Member States criticise rules on territorial exclusivity.

Film giant Warner Bros tipped for move into new £20m Belfast studio
One of the world's biggest movie makers, Warner Brothers, could become the tenants of a new film studio in Belfast.

Super-indies: C4 should stay put
All3Media, Endemol Shine Group and Twofour strongly support C4’s stance

Analysts: ITV 'vulnerable' to takeover bid
Lack of immediate successor causes concern

Culture minister: BBC board should monitor diversity
Matt Hancock responds to David Lammy’s concerns

Ukraine's film and TV cash rebate finally signed off by president
New Cinema Law offers incentives to foreign producers and will be showcased in Cannes.

A chance to catch up on feature stories about UK Screen Alliance members from past editions of Spotlight.

Lola Post: Sweet Sixteen in Soho

Outpost VFX: a South Coast Success Story

Satusfaction: the Power Behind the Name

Sohonet: Trial by fire

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