Wanted: visual effects talent that's – well, a bit special

 

Arts Correspondent

From folding up the streets of Paris in Inception to making a magical world fit for a boy wizard in the Harry Potter series, British special effects designers know how to bewitch cinemagoers.

But one of the leading lights in the industry, which has grown to rival Hollywood's own, says UK-based firms are struggling to hire talent to create the next generation of outlandish visuals. Many potential recruits do not even know a British special effects scene exists, assuming all the most dramatic digital stunts are produced in the US, according to Paul Franklin, visual effects supervisor for films including The Dark Knight Rises and Inception.

"The key thing is about finding enough of the right people to work for us; it's a constant battle to find talented people with the correct skills, who are interested in making films," he said.

He continued: "Lots of people out there have the right skills, but they don't really know that we exist. It's a real problem. There's an assumption that the work we do is really all done in Hollywood. Films like Inception were done in Fitzrovia, with British talent."

Mr Franklin oversaw the effects used in Inception, which included the stunning shot of Paris folding in on itself, an idea he suggested to director Christopher Nolan. The film used 220 special effects people working in post-production for six months to achieve the required look for the film.

Mr Franklin also worked on the spectacular plane heist opening for The Dark Knight Rises, which included wing-walking stuntmen, models and computer effects all knitted together in their London offices.

A thriving visual effects industry has grown up in London over the past decade and the computer wizardry has won Oscars for work on Inception, The Golden Compass and Gladiator, as well as a string of nominations. Alongside Double Negative, Mr Franklin's employer, London boasts international effects houses such as Framestore, MPC, Cinesite and The Mill, while annual revenues from the industry are predicted to hit £600m in two years.

Mr Franklin said: "The work we do in London is the equal of any effects community in the world. This industry is a big success story, in the past five years there's always been at least one British company represented in the nominations for special effects Oscars."

The industry is hoping for more recognition after the first Visual Effects Festival, set up by Escape Studios, which is to be held in London next month. It will include talks from leading figures in the industry, tricks of the trade and workshops.

SPECIAL FX: BRIT OSCARS

Gladiator – Mill Film

The film arm of post-production house The Mill won the Oscar for best visual effects in 2000. It not only rebuilt the Colosseum for director Ridley Scott, but the rest of ancient Rome.

Inception – Double Negative

The landscape of Christopher Nolan's ambitious science-fiction thriller, including the folded Paris, was drawn up by Double Negative, which landed the Oscar in 2010.

The Golden Compass – Framestore

Framestore picked up its visual effects Oscar in 2007 for the work on the Philip Pullman adaptation. The rendering of the polar bears was widely praised.

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment

ebooksNow available in paperback
Arts and Entertainment

ebooks
Arts and Entertainment
theatre
Arts and Entertainment
Place Blanche, Paris, 1961, shot by Christer Strömholm
photographyHow the famous camera transformed photography for ever
Arts and Entertainment
The ‘Westmacott Athlete’
art
Arts and Entertainment
‘The Royals’ – a ‘twisted, soapy take on England’s first family’
tv Some of the characters appear to have clear real-life counterparts
News
Brooks is among a dozen show-business professionals ever to have achieved Egot status
people
Arts and Entertainment
A cut above: Sean Penn is outclassed by Mark Rylance in The Gunman
film review
Arts and Entertainment
arts + ents
Arts and Entertainment
James Franco and Zachary Quinto in I Am Michael

Film review Michael Glatze biopic isn't about a self-hating gay man gone straight

Arts and Entertainment
A scene from the movie 'Get Hard'
tvWill Ferrell’s new film Get Hard receives its first reviews
Arts and Entertainment
Left to right: David Cameron (Mark Dexter), Nick Clegg (Bertie Carvel) and Gordon Brown (Ian Grieve)
tvReview: Ian Grieve gets another chance to play Gordon Brown... this is the kinder version
Arts and Entertainment
Benedict Cumberbatch and Martin Freeman in the first look picture from next year's Sherlock special

TV
Arts and Entertainment
Because it wouldn’t be Glastonbury without people kicking off about the headline acts, a petition has already been launched to stop Kanye West performing on the Saturday night

music
Arts and Entertainment
Molly Risker, Helen Monks, Caden-Ellis Wall, Rebekah Staton, Erin Freeman, Philip Jackson and Alexa Davies in ‘Raised by Wolves’

TV review
Arts and Entertainment

TV
Arts and Entertainment
James May, Jeremy Clarkson and Richard Hammond in the Top Gear Patagonia Special

TV
Arts and Entertainment
Game of Thrones will run for ten years if HBO gets its way but showrunners have mentioned ending it after seven

Game of Thrones
Arts and Entertainment
Mans Zelmerlow will perform 'Heroes' for Sweden at the Eurovision Song Contest 2015

music
Arts and Entertainment
Elizabeth (Heida Reed) and Ross Poldark (Aiden Turner) in the BBC's remake of their 1975 original Poldark

Poldark review
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

ES Rentals

    Independent Dating
    and  

    By clicking 'Search' you
    are agreeing to our
    Terms of Use.

    No postcode? No vote

    Floating voters

    How living on a houseboat meant I didn't officially 'exist'
    Louis Theroux's affable Englishman routine begins to wear thin

    By Reason of Insanity

    Louis Theroux's affable Englishman routine begins to wear thin
    Power dressing is back – but no shoulderpads!

    Power dressing is back

    But banish all thoughts of Eighties shoulderpads
    Spanish stone-age cave paintings 'under threat' after being re-opened to the public

    Spanish stone-age cave paintings in Altamira 'under threat'

    Caves were re-opened to the public
    'I was the bookies’ favourite to be first to leave the Cabinet'

    Vince Cable interview

    'I was the bookies’ favourite to be first to leave the Cabinet'
    Election 2015: How many of the Government's coalition agreement promises have been kept?

    Promises, promises

    But how many coalition agreement pledges have been kept?
    The Gaza fisherman who built his own reef - and was shot dead there by an Israeli gunboat

    The death of a Gaza fisherman

    He built his own reef, and was fatally shot there by an Israeli gunboat
    Saudi Arabia's airstrikes in Yemen are fuelling the Gulf's fire

    Saudi airstrikes are fuelling the Gulf's fire

    Arab intervention in Yemen risks entrenching Sunni-Shia divide and handing a victory to Isis, says Patrick Cockburn
    Zayn Malik's departure from One Direction shows the perils of fame in the age of social media

    The only direction Zayn could go

    We wince at the anguish of One Direction's fans, but Malik's departure shows the perils of fame in the age of social media
    Young Magician of the Year 2015: Meet the schoolgirl from Newcastle who has her heart set on being the competition's first female winner

    Spells like teen spirit

    A 16-year-old from Newcastle has set her heart on being the first female to win Young Magician of the Year. Jonathan Owen meets her
    Jonathan Anderson: If fashion is a cycle, this young man knows just how to ride it

    If fashion is a cycle, this young man knows just how to ride it

    British designer Jonathan Anderson is putting his stamp on venerable house Loewe
    Number plates scheme could provide a licence to offend in the land of the free

    Licence to offend in the land of the free

    Cash-strapped states have hit on a way of making money out of drivers that may be in collision with the First Amendment, says Rupert Cornwell
    From farm to fork: Meet the Cornish fishermen, vegetable-growers and butchers causing a stir in London's top restaurants

    From farm to fork in Cornwall

    One man is bringing together Cornwall's most accomplished growers, fishermen and butchers with London's best chefs to put the finest, freshest produce on the plates of some of the country’s best restaurants
    Robert Parker interview: The world's top wine critic on tasting 10,000 bottles a year, absurd drinking notes and New World wannabes

    Robert Parker interview

    The world's top wine critic on tasting 10,000 bottles a year, absurd drinking notes and New World wannabes
    Don't believe the stereotype - or should you?

    Don't believe the stereotype - or should you?

    We exaggerate regional traits and turn them into jokes - and those on the receiving end are in on it too, says DJ Taylor