Keeping the horrors on screen, and out of reviews
HBO’s Lovecraft Country is an ambitious and sprawling tale, covering monsters, politics, racism, class wars and more, all set against the backdrop of 1950’s USA. To bring the amazing imagery to life, including the nightmarish Shoggoth from episode 1, Framestore had to reach deep into their bag of tricks – including working out how to pull off the job while disrupted with COVID-19 restrictions! Art of VFX recently talked to Framestore VFX Supervisor Grant Walker about how Framestore approached the job, including how they managed collaboration in lockdown.
From the interview:
How did you and Framestore get involved on this show?
Framestore landed the work through an existing relationship with Executive Producer Bill Carraro who we had previously worked with on (the Oscar-winning) BLADE RUNNER 2049.
How was the collaboration with the various directors and VFX Supervisor Kevin Blank?
We benefited from being around the team which included showrunner Misha Green when we were on-set for Eps 101, 102 and 108. Those chance conversations, and getting direct thoughts and ideas for what the Shoggoth is, and its importance in the show was invaluable. We had direct access to Kevin Blank over the last 14 months, on-set in Atlanta and with regular video calls and cineSync reviews to present and review animation and WIP’s. These relationships, and getting clear notes and direction, really helped us run the show efficiently and deliver our best work.
How did you split the work amongst the Framestore offices?
This project was carried out by the London office, although it has been completed in spare rooms, home offices and garden sheds due to lockdown measures.
How did you organize the work with your VFX Producer?
Stephen Nixon (VFX Producer) and I have worked as a partnership for the last 14 months. To plenty of peoples’ annoyance I don’t like rigid restrictions between peoples roles so we’ve worked to figure things out together. That said, Stephen definitely kept a firm grip on the crew, schedule and budget and I had my eyes on the methodology and the images. The shift to remote working thanks to covid lockdown in March was a big challenge that everyone met admirably. Stephen and the production team kept communication open and helped maintain our focus on priorities and the time we had. Production did solid work to build flexibility into the schedule that maintained pace but supported the crew and the move to working from home during the pandemic.
The rest of the article, including the design process and delivery of the Shoggoth and other elements can be found at Art of VFX