Produced by

By Martin Aufinger

BU Graduate, MA Digital Effects

Last year, Daniel Kleinman approached Framestore to collaborate on the opening sequence for James Bond’s twenty-third film. I was part of the core 3D team working on the iconic title sequence.

It was a truly unique experience working on such an iconic franchise. A very exciting and unusual project with a lot of room for creative input and ideas. Daniel Kleinman, director of the title sequence, started the process by drawing storyboards illustrating several ideas and themes that he was interested in exploring. At Framestore, we took those concepts and started to create moving image tests such as simple fx, lighting and mood experiments in order to develop a look for the sequence. At the same time Framestore’s partner company The Third Floor London worked on a pre-viz which helped us to establish the flow and narrative of the piece. Roughly three months before delivery, the live-action shoot took place at Pinewood studios. Daniel Kleinman shot all the scenes involving Daniel Craig and the Bond girls as well as various fx elements such as the burning targets.

I got the chance to create the Chinese Dragon sequence, one of the big 3D sequences, inspired by a shot in the film that showed the dragon shaped entrance to the casino in Macau. It was a great opportunity for me to take a whole sequence from start to finish. I was responsible for the setup, animation, look development, fx, lighting as well as final compositing – these tasks are usually split between several people. Being in charge of the whole sequence allowed me to take full control of the look and gave me the chance to fine-tune the sequence as a whole rather than just working on small elements, a very enjoyable way of working.

The dragons were meant to look like living forms of the traditional Chinese dragon dance often seen in Chinese festive celebrations. They are usually between 25 and 70 meters long which proved to be technically challenging. It meant that I had to add many small dynamic elements such as the beard or its fins in order to give the creatures scale. It was also very important to the director to create a gloomy atmosphere for the dragon shots which was achieved with several layer of smoke surrounding the dragons. Due to its volumetric nature and the scale of the scene, those elements turned the sequence into quite a difficult lighting and rendering challenge.

There were various other memorable moments in the opening sequence. The heart and skull sequence, the kaleidoscope sequence as well as various underwater shots all had its own challenges. The work was split between roughly ten vfx artists, all part of Framestore’s core commercial team. Supported by Adele’s classic Bond song, our work was really well received. The title sequence recently won a Design Week Award for Broadcast Design and was definitely one of my career highlights so far.

Before working at Framestore, I studied at Bournemouth University, attending the MA Digital Effects course in 2006. It was a very intense year but I had a great time learning a huge amount about visual effects which gave me a good foundation for my career. Initially, when I started the course, I was more interested in compositing / 2d image manipulation.

Thanks to Phil Spicer, MA Digital FX course leader, I got hooked on Sidefx Houdini, a 3D software that is being taught as part of the FX course. Houdini was also the main 3D tool used on our Skyfall sequence and helped us immensely in creating this technically and creatively challenging piece.

After graduating in 2007 I got a job at Framestore as Junior Technical Director. Since then I have worked on many commercial projects, films as well as TV series, working on anything ranging from fx (fire, smoke, particles), crowds to creatures – photoreal and stylized. For the last few years my job has also included developing tools for other artists, research and development as well as supervising projects.

Leave a reply

Your details
  • (Your email address will not be published in your comment)