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Framestore Channels the Art of Alchemy in Sci-Fi Film for Semi Permanent Festival

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Design Studio duo Akira Thompson and Dan Solomon transform the 2017 theme into a visual voyage

Framestore Channels the Art of Alchemy in Sci-Fi Film for Semi Permanent Festival

Framestore’s Design Studio has created the title sequence for Semi Permanent Festival in Sydney for 2017. The three-day event organised by Murray Bell sees creative types from around the world gather in Australia, this year under the overarching theme of ‘Designing for Change’, with speakers including esteemed director and screenwriter Oliver Stone; Glenn Cole, founder of 72andSunny; Katherine Keating of VICE Impact; and Nike’s Kevin Coatman and Ron Dumas.

Following in the footsteps of previous renowned sequence directors, including Raoul Marks, MK12 and Danny Yount, Design Studio duo Akira Thompson and Dan Solomon turned the 2017 theme into a visual voyage, channelling the mythical art of alchemy, building on Framestore’s own impressive portfolio of title design.

The treatment for the titles used the seven steps of alchemical transformation as its base, likening the ancient art to the design process itself: a language known and used by those in attendance at 2017’s Semi Permanent. Directors Akira and Dan chose to set their concept in a futuristic, sci-fi-esque environment, to allow themselves the scope to take the visuals to new places.

"These festival sequences are renowned for the incredible creative freedom they allow, giving us the chance to explore new techniques and ideas," says Sharon Lock, Head of Design. 

The titles draw on medical imagery, robotics, and hyper-accurate motion-controlled surgical technology, all informed by contemporary science. Fractals and wave patterns found in organic repetition across the natural world interplay in micro and macro cuts, showcasing the universal principles of nature that exist on multiple scales. With additional firepower from Framestore’s CG department, Akira and Dan were able to combine their own technical know-how with that of Houdini artists to create the procedural effects, using a GPU renderer (Redshift) to work quickly and adaptively throughout.

The team integrated the festival’s existing colour palette into the work, using a stylised scheme of iridescent hot neon pinks and cyan blues, whilst the prize gold medallion of the alchemical process lands the Semi Permanent name. Festival speakers and organisers appear in a rolling list of cinematic credits, given a mix of serif and sans serif typefaces, to create a suitably grand opening for Semi Permanent’s 2017 unveiling, all enhanced further by a haunting accompanying track composed by NYLON Studios.

Framestore’s ability to craft content for the Festival is testament to the impressive portfolio built by the global team, including the award-winning title sequence created for National Geographic’s MARS. With artists based in London, New York, Los Angeles and Framestore’s newest outpost Chicago, and the backing of sophisticated global pipelines, the Design Studio is able to seamlessly collaborate with creative partners around the world.

Says Head of Design Sharon Lock of the work, "We were thrilled to work with the team at Semi Permanent on such a high profile design event. These festival sequences are renowned for the incredible creative freedom they allow, giving us the chance to explore new techniques and ideas. Title design is such a beautiful art form; we look forward to making more sequences in the future."

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Advertiser: Semi Permanent

Post Production / VFX

Creative Director: Maryanne Butler

Executive Producer: Sarah Hiddlestone

Post Production Company: Framestore

Producer: Molly McLaren, Jessica Penfold

Senior Producer: Niamh O'Donohoe

Production Company

Director: Akira Thompson, Dan Solomon


Composer: Zac Colwell

Producer: Halle Petro

Sound Design: NYLON Studios

Sound Engineer: Stuart St. Vincent Welch

Genres: Visual VFX

Framestore, Wed, 07 Jun 2017 12:02:47 GMT