London, 2nd July 2012 – Prime Focus has provided full post-production, DI, over 205 visual effects shots and the title sequence for the hotly anticipated British science fiction movie 'Storage 24'. Written by and starring Noel Clarke of 'Kidulthood', 'Adulthood' and 'Fast Girls' fame, the film was directed by Johannes Roberts and hit cinemas in the UK on 29th June 2012.
'Storage 24' sees London in chaos as a military cargo plane crashes leaving its highly classified contents strewn across the area. Completely unaware that London is in lock-down, Charlie (Noel Clarke) and Shelley (Antonia Campbell-Hughes), accompanied by best friends Mark (Colin O’Donoghue) and Nikki (Laura Haddock) are at a storage warehouse dividing up their possessions after a recent break up. When the power suddenly goes off they become trapped and a mystery predator starts to hunt them one by one.
"The work-rate, professionalism and level of quality that Prime Focus provided was integral to us completing this film," said Steve Cook, Co-Producer and Post Production Supervisor. "Without the talent and expertise on offer it just simply would not have been possible to complete the film on schedule or within budget."
Prime Focus has delivered more than 205 shots, including 50 creature animations for 'Storage 24'. Director Johannes Roberts and Co-Producer and Post Production Supervisor Steve Cook worked closely with Prime Focus from the earliest stages of post-production. Prime Focus delivered the creature work, including a complex face replacement on the physical creature, set enhancement and clean-up work.
VFX Supervisor for Prime Focus in India, Keith Devlin, who has the distinction of having worked on several prestigious international projects including the James Bond movies, the Harry Potter series, 'Lara Croft - Tomb Raider' and many more, supervised the Indian VFX team, while Prime Focus VFX Supervisor in London, Piers Hampton, worked with the director and supervised the team in the UK.
Commenting on the entire experience, Prime Focus Co-Founder and Chief Creative Director Merzin Tavaria said,"'Storage 24' was an incredibly challenging project, both artistically and technically. I am extremely proud of the way our teams in Mumbai and London have been able to achieve the Director’s vision. One of the most challenging parts of the movie was creating the creature and we are very satisfied to see these visuals come to life. This surely has been a step forward for Prime Focus and we are very excited to have raised the bar in using visual effects as a key tool in the story-telling process."
More than 60 artists were brought together for this project, which was managed by Head of VFX Production in India, Shome Dasgupta.
The movie includes many exciting action sequences and the team contributed considerable VFX shots to enhance the dramatic impact of these scenes. One of the most important and challenging contributions by Prime Focus was the creation the sinister creature in the movie. Using the original footage shot, the creature was designed and conceptualised in post. The work done on the creature was extremely tricky and the Indian VFX team did a commendable job in making the creature believable and terrifying.
After much research and with the input of Director Johannes Roberts, the team developed a computer generated creature which suited the storyline of the film. One of the most onerous tasks for the team was to create the face of the creature – which was entirely computer generated. In order to further enhance the creature’s look, the team added elements like the slimy fluids in the inner mouth of the creature. This involved detailed design work and animation. The detailing work done on the creature made it look authentic and added to its impact in each frame.
Additionally the movie involved a lot of CG set extension - especially for the storage facility which was digitally extended. In fact, the entire background of the storage facility used in the movie was computer generated.
"Having overseen the creation and execution of all the VFX work, including redesigning the colour and rendering pipelines for the creature, I was very pleased with the level of realism the Mumbai team were able to bring to the creature," said Keith Devlin, VFX Supervisor in India. "We took great efforts to truly match all the visual properties of the original cinematography and I don't believe the audience will realise that the entire head, complete with slime, is completely CG."
"We worked hard to build on what we’d shot to get some character into the performance of the mystery predator," said Piers Hampton, VFX Supervisor, UK. "From the beginning I thought it was important that it didn't just roar, but was credible and had a personality. I also worked closely with Tim, the DoP and Johannes, the Director, to develop the style of shooting the creature - following camera tests, we opted to shoot it at 18 fps, which resulted in something that people were genuinely unsure of - was it a physical model, stop motion or CG."
The feedback is already extremely positive with Empire describing the film as featuring "some excellent creature design work" and Variety saying that part of the limited production budget was "well spent on the slimy, CGI-augmented alien."
Johannes Roberts, the film's Director said, "I can't speak highly enough of Prime Focus' work on Storage24. VFX Supervisor Piers Hampton worked with me from the very beginning all the way through to the end and his unwavering demand for the highest quality of every single shot took the movie to a whole new level. I really hope this is the first of many collaborations."
Post-production work for the film was completed by Prime Focus' Independent Film division in London. The Digital Intermediate process was overseen by Charlotte Collings and Reuben Goodyear, who worked closely over a six-month period with Steve Cook and VFX editor Lawrence Huck. Colourist Duncan Russell provided the grade, which harked back to the look of late 80's American B movies.
"The film itself is very 'self aware' and we wanted to reflect that in the look," said Duncan. "The buzz word for the grade was 'wrongification', so whenever the grade was looking too 'correct' we would have to 'wrongify' it. Nothing ever looks completely cold or warm; there was always tension, or even clashing, between the colours in each scene."
He added, "Despite having shot everything so well, the DoP Tim Sidell was very precise in the way he wanted the image twisted out of shape, you won't see a single straight-up shot in the whole film."
Kai Van Beers, Technical Application Designer, handled the Colour Management within the DI and said "The look of the film was very precise, yet the colours were pushed in some unconventional directions within the same frame. As a result of this we had to do a batch of tests for the various deliverables to maintain the desired look on all the different displays. Using Truelight, we managed to translate the 'wrongified' look to Film, DCP and HD. Then it was just a case of translating a large screen image into a relatively small domestic display, adjusting certain 'accents' made by the Colourist, so that they would have the same impact on the significantly scaled down size of the image as it did on the big screen."
Prime Focus Motion Graphics Designer Jason Guest, who created the film's title sequence, said "The animation was inspired by tumbling combination locks, with the characters spinning and changing rapidly before resolving into the names of the cast and crew. I also had the characters individually flicker as though the power supply was fluctuating, which was inspired by a scene in the film where the neon lighting fails leaving the characters in the dark. For the actual title of the film I added a video interference effect that was suggested by the static in the news reports seen in the trailer."
Project: Storage 24
Film Company: Big Yellow Films Ltd
Producers: Manu Kumaran and Noel Clarke
Director: Johannes Roberts
DoP: Tim Sidell
Screenplay: Noel Clarke, Davie Fairbanks, Marc Small and Johannes Roberts
Executive Producers: Johnny Fewings, PankajKapoor, Josh Varney and PankajRajani
Co-producers: Steve Cook, Roslyn Hill, Kamal V. Patel, Marcus Campbell Sinclair
Post Production Supervisor: Steve Cook
Editor: Martin Brinkler
1st Assistant Editor: Josh Levinsky
2nd Assistant Editors: Rory Gordon, Ellen Taylor
Visual Effects Editor: Lawrence Huck
Cast: Noel Clarke, Antonia Campbell-Hughes, Laura Haddock, Jamie Thomas King, Geoff Bell, Ned Dennehy and Colin O'Donoghue as Mark
Post Production: Prime Focus
Digital Intermediate Manager: Charlotte Collings
Digital Intermediate Producer: Reuben Goodyear
Chief Creative Director: Merzin Tavaria
VFX Supervisor (India): Keith Devlin
VFX Supervisor (London): Piers Hampton
Head of Production (India): Shome Dasgupta
VFX Line Producer: Vikas Gandhi
Sound Post Producer: Louisa Sutherland Smith
Deliverables Producer: Marie Valentino
Colourist: Duncan Russell
Colour Management: Kai Van Beers
Front Title Designer: Jason Guest
Online Editors: Shane Woods, Andrew Merlino