For 50 years James Bond has been known for may things; martinis, dames, gadgets, cars, and fantastic action sequences. The James Bond franchise is also famously known for the stunning title sequences they've had throughout the years. Many studios have clamored to get the chance to work on these amazing intros, and for the 23rd James Bond movie Skyfall, the UK's own Framestore got their 5th go around on the James Bond title sequence which coincidentally also marked the 50th anniversary of the british spy saga.
At the helm of Skyfall's intro was Director, Daniel Klienman who has worked on the title sequences for previous Bond movies, GoldenEye, The World is Not Enough, Die Another Day & Casino Royale. True to the Bond aesthetic Klienman, together with Framestore, developed a sexy and mysterious title sequence that uses vast amounts of atmospheric textures from water to smoke to volumetric blood-like material to create a dark and sinister tone. From one sequence to another, Framstore seamlessly meshes together such famous bond icons as his trusty Walther PPK handgun, to bullets and babes with Skyfall themed visuals like Chinese dragons, skulls and daggers all while the dramatic score sung by Adele, deepens the mood.
As you can imagine a project like this, all be it seeded deep in the Bond ethos, has room to really grow. Framestore was able to tap on the shoulders of their amazing 2D and 3D teams to really take their own ideas to the next level. One of the more challenging aspects of a job like this is to give the artists room to develop ideas, with the understanding that some might be dropped or changed as the job evolves, said Russell Dodgson (Head of Nuke, Framestore Commercials). The aim is for a cohesive sequence, that feels like it comes from one person’s mind. No one can be too precious about their own pixels!
From that direction the ideas were molded, re-imagined and evolved over a four-month production schedule into what we can see in the final version. Framestore’s Head of 3D Commercials and Escape graduate, Diarmid Harrison-Murray, said: This flexible way of working requires a different mindset but provides a great opportunity for creative ownership. By assigning all the VFX work – from setup, animation, through to lighting – across an entire scene to just one artist, that person is able to develop their scene as a whole, rather than just contributing one smaller element to it. One great example of complete creative ownership is Martin Aufinger’s beautiful and technically accomplished CG dragons. It’s an incredibly satisfying way to work.
Framestore really out did themselves on this one. The flow of the sequence is ominous and brooding as the volumes of blood and debris rain down on Bond and he sinks deeper and deeper into the world of Skyfall. A Bond moment worthy of 50 years of excellence to be sure.