No Time To Die marks the seventh title sequence Framestore has created for a James Bond movie, continuing a 25 year tradition for the creative studio.
The opening title sequence for No Time To Die required a decidedly different approach for Framestore, whose relationship with EON Productions and the James Bond franchise dates back to 1995’s GoldenEye.
Returning to work alongside renowned director Daniel Kleinman, the creative direction for the title sequence included an homage to visual motifs featured in Maurice Binder’s Bond titles. “Maurice set the template for Bond title sequences, so for this era-defining film I wanted to work with a mixture of the old and the new – an analogue look with modern digital possibilities,” said Kleinman.
“The way we developed ideas for this title sequence was one of the most collaborative experiences I’ve had,” said Stephen Goalby, Head of Design, London. “We worked on the brief to conjure some really beautiful imagery. I’m thrilled that the end result conveys the themes that are needed in a 007 title. It feels like Bond, but in a very different way.”
From a statue of Britannia in several states of decay to recognisable James Bond imagery including weapons and vehicles, the team drew on the creative and artistic talents of 59 artists to create and deliver a mixture of CG elements, 2D assets, DMPs, effects and live action plates.
“When you look at the final product, the storytelling and technical expertise shown by our team who have created a nearly four-minute film in full CG at 4K resolution is really impressive,” said Jules Janaud, VFX Supervisor, London.
The visuals, and most-noticeably the colour palette, change dramatically over the course of the titles to signify the passage of time and allude to what’s to come in the film. The creation of each segment presented unique challenges, whether creating realistic effects in sand, water and smoke, or animating a silhouette to move with Daniel Craig’s signature manner and cadence.
The finished title sequence features a total of 5373 frames, the content of which consists of nearly 50 separate CG and 2D assets and took over two and a half million hours of CPU rendering time.
“Even after 25 years of working on 007 title sequences, we’re still aware of the privilege that it is to be asked to be a part of the creative process,” commented Helen Hughes, Head of Advertising, London.
An iconic part of the titles of any Bond film is the gun barrel sequence, which Framestore and Kleinman have also delivered for No Time To Die. Together they created a new, completely CG barrel for Daniel Craig to open his final film as the secret agent.
Commenting on the sequence and his work with Framestore, Daniel Kleinman said, “I’m proud of the sequence for No Time To Die. It has a unique flavour and style, yet it’s inimitably Bond. Framestore is my long-standing partner in creating these sequences and I rely on them not only for creative input and support in what isn’t an easy process but the highest-quality work. I put a lot of trust in them and they don’t let me down.”
Framestore and Daniel Kleinman also partnered on the Billie Eilish music video for the title track. Additionally, around 170 people worked on the film’s VFX at Framestore for the movie itself. The work included weather effects, environment extensions and even a digital recreation of London.
Framestore delivered nearly 400 shots for the latest action-packed James Bond instalment No Time to Die.
From car chases to dramatic snow-covered environments, there was nowhere for the team to hide when adding CG elements into a shot. They received detailed references and scans to help them conjure everything from forests, icy lakes and mountainous landscapes. Says Jonathan Fawkner, VFX Supervisor: “It’s hugely satisfying to be able to put something into a shot that is so invisible that you know when you’ve done a good job because no one can see it.”
Directed by Cary Joji Fukunaga (Maniac, True Detective), No Time to Die continues Bond’s longstanding tradition of jaw-dropping setpieces, dazzling cinematography and practical filmmaking. “I really enjoyed working with Cary”, says Fawkner. “With his background as a Director of Photography he has a very strong aesthetic sense.”
The opening sequence required bespoke environmental R&D work. Shot on location in Norway in spring against a dramatic sunset, the team needed to replicate the look and feel of the shoot plates whilst changing the season to snow-covered winter. Says Benjamin Loch, VFX Supervisor, “The decision to base the look of the sequence on one of the sunset plates really paid off and the results provided the artists with a balanced image-based reference of all elements with the lighting composition of every shot baked in..”
beautiful view of the city and they wanted it to be sunset.” adds Fawkner. To get the position of the sun where they wanted it, the crew shot the scene at sunrise although additional details created a believable sunset, including animating traffic and adding trains, car headlights and the surrounding architectural lights.
Despite the major stunts being shot practically, ensuring continuity was a huge part of Framestore’s supporting role, with one of the adrenaline-filled car chases requiring the choreographing of a Land Rover, three Toyota Landcruisers, motorbikes and a helicopter. Fawkner says “other than dressing in higher mountains, the majority of the work was adding continuity, moving CG vehicles and stunt ramps from the shots and then replacing terrain.”
Working on No Time To Die was a dream project for Framestore. Says Loch, “the franchise was always a firm favourite growing up, and my pick of choice was always one from the Bond ‘VHS’ collection.”
Around 170 people worked on the film’s VFX at Framestore, as well as our friends at Company 3, who provided colour. A separate team of 40 Framestore artists worked solely on the opening titles, Daniel Craig’s last gunbarrel sequence and the Billie Eilish music video for the title track. Starting with GoldenEye in 1995, No Time To Die marks the seventh time the creative studio has worked closely with Daniel Kleinman to create a Bond title sequence, having fostered a partnership with the director that’s brought in multiple industry awards.
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