|Industry||Motion picture special visual effects|
|Headquarters||United Kingdom, United States, Canada|
|Parent||Cultural Investment Holdings|
Framestore is a British visual effects company based near Oxford Street in London. Formed in 1986, it acquired (and subsequently merged) the Computer Film Company in 1997. The company works across several different areas of the media: feature films, commercials, music videos, feature animation and digital.
The company's registered office is at 9 Noel Street, London. In 2004, the company set up an office in New York City's SoHo district to serve the American advertising market, and has since set up offices in Los Angeles, Chicago and Montreal.
Framestore was founded in 1986 by Sharon Reed, William Sargent, Jonathan Hills, Mike McGee and Alison Turner. Tim Webber joined Framestore in 1988 and led the company's push into digital film and television, developing Framestore’s virtual camera and motion rig systems. In 1992, Mike Milne started the CGI department, adding computer-generated animation to the company’s range of facilities. The company's work covered award-winning images in commercials, music videos, television graphics and television drama. In 1994 its film visual effects division was set up.
Framestore acquired the Computer Film Company (CFC) in 1997 which was one of the first digital film special effects companies, developing technology for digital film scanning, compositing, and output. It was founded in London in 1984 by Mike Boudry, Wolfgang Lempp (now CTO at Filmlight) and Neil Harris (Lightworks). CFC's first film was The Fruit Machine, in 1988, which utilised early morphing techniques.
In 2004 Framestore opened their first satellite office in New York City, to focus on advertising. This was followed by another office in Iceland in 2008, which has since been closed and has reopened as a local VFX company, RVX. In 2008, Framestore dropped the CFC from its name, becoming simply Framestore. In 2013 Framestore opened an office in Montreal, followed by another in Los Angeles the same year. In 2014, it launched a production arm.
Early projects for the company include the delivery of its first feature animation project The Tale of Despereaux with Universal; the completion of Europe's first digital intermediate for the film Chicken Run in 2000; contribution of scenes for the 2009 film Avatar, and the completion as a production project of four British feature films which opened in theatres between during 2009 and 2010.
In November 2016, Framestore agreed to let the Shanghai-based Cultural Investment Holdings Co acquire 75% of it for £112.50 million. At the time, Framestore had its main base in London Soho, and additional offices in New York, Montreal, and Los Angeles, employing around 1,400 staff. It was also working on projects such as Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them, Beauty and the Beast, and Paddington 2. In April 2017, Framestore opened a third US location, in Chicago, Illinois.
The company also worked on the 2017 film Darkest Hour directed by Joe Wright, working out of the Montreal facility of Framestore to create historically accurate backdrops for 85 shots in the film, including battle scenes.
In its current incarnation, Framestore delivers images for feature films, television drama, advertising, console and online games, internet and mobile phone applications, and at one point has been Europe's largest post-production house.
CFC has been awarded two Scientific and Technical Academy Awards, and 14 Primetime Emmys. In 2008, Framestore won their first Oscar for Best Visual Effects for the film The Golden Compass; they also won the BAFTA Award for that film the same year. Framestore was also nominated for Oscars in 2007 (Superman Returns), in 2009 (The Dark Knight) and again in 2010 (Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows – Part 1).
Tim Webber was the VFX supervisor on Gravity (2013), and the techniques involved in the film realised by Webber and the Framestore team took three years to complete. The team won the best visual effects awards BAFTA Award for Best Special Visual Effects at the 67th British Academy Film Awards, and the Academy Award for Best Visual Effects award at the 86th Academy Awards.
Framestore has often collaborates with companies and advertising agencies to create trade characters - Animals that are used to advertise a good or service and become associated with the brand. In 2014, Framestore worked with CARFAX to further develop their trade character CAR FOX. The newly imagined character now represents the company and appears in their national television advertising and all their marketing materials.
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