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Framestore Unboxes Masterful VFX Work for Jingle Jangle: A Christmas Journey



Framestore provides intricately crafted CG characters along with touching emotional resonance for the Netflix film

Framestore Unboxes Masterful VFX Work for Jingle Jangle: A Christmas Journey

Oscar, Emmy and BAFTA-winning creative studio Framestore was proud to deliver spellbinding VFX for Netflix’s Jingle Jangle: A Christmas Journey. Written and directed by David E. Talbert, produced (and featuring music by) John Legend and featuring a star-studded cast which includes Forest Whitaker, Madalen Mills, Keegan-Michael Key, Phylicia Rashad, Anika Noni Rose, Ricky Martin and Hugh Bonneville, the film called for a deft mix of storybook wonder, intricately-crafted CG characters and touching emotional resonance - needs that made Framestore the perfect creative partner.

The magical tale follows the escapades of toymaker Jeronicus Jangle (Whitaker), and saw Framestore collaborating closely with director David E. Talbert from early concept art through to final VFX and the film’s distinctive credits and segue sequences. The team was also tasked with orchestrating whimsical choreography and creating a fully digital 18th century and CG-snow filled town, complete with a factory, and toy store. "Framestore came on board early on. They helped me develop the two fully CG characters and flesh out the ideas so I could see them on screen - the movement, the mechanics and the theory behind how they would come to life." says director David E. Talbert.

Buddy 3000 and Don Juan Diego

Led by overall VFX supervisor Brad Parker, VFX supervisor Carlos Monzon (Paddington) led Framestore’s 350+ VFX shots, key to which were two magical toys: charismatic yet nefarious matador Don Juan Diego and the ultra-cute Buddy 3000. “Getting the chance to work on these characters from initial drawings to their walking, talking final iterations really spoke to the toymaking theme of the film,” says Carlos. “Because we wanted Buddy and Don Juan to be living, breathing toys the design work was painstaking and incredibly intricate, with the team labouring over the characters’ inner workings and how the materials with which they were engineered would interact and operate if they magically came to life.’

Based on concepts given by the client, Framestore’s highly-skilled art department was in the unique position of helping visualize the characters. Animation supervisor Eric Guaglione explains: “David gave a good deal of latitude when it came to developing Don Juan Diego, especially when it came to working with him to make the character a more ‘likeable’ villain - I had the chance to fly out to LA and be with David while he worked on the script, teasing out a more comedic and vulnerable side to Don Juan.”

Read more about Don Juan Diego and Buddy 3000 as well as the world-building visuals here

The CG storybook

The story lives within two worlds; reality and a stunning miniature storybook, imagined and designed by Framestore’s team in London. This manifested itself in several animated sequences that would act as narrative bridges throughout the film, told as if a storybook about Jeronicus had come to life. Led by the animations’ director Ian Spendloff and VFX supervisors Tim Jenkinson and Johannes Sambs, every character, prop and effect in these sequences was digitally-built as if they were hand-made by Jeronicus and animated to look as if they were mechanically automated. 

‘I came up with the idea of [...] tiny hand crafted wooden versions of the film's characters, playing out scenes in tiny little mechanised sets that self-assembled,’ said Ian Spendloff. ‘We needed to make sure we got the right performance out of our wooden cast so we had to find the right balance between the mechanical nature of our world, and the need to empathise and feel for the characters.’ 

David explains: ‘For Jingle Jangle, I wanted a spectacle. Something innovative that no one had seen before. What Ian and Framestore came up with blew me away — full CG characters that look like the wooden toys that Jeronicus would have carved himself. Big win for Framestore, bigger win for my film!’

Read about how Framestore created these animated sequences here

Because of the high level of detail that went into the CG sequences, the team called on Framestore Pre-production Services who previsualised the sequences in their entirety for sign off by the production team before the highly-detailed asset builds started. 

Read more about how FPS created a faster and more efficient process for the sequences’ creation here

With such creative input on a wide variety of VFX needed for the show, the result is a distinct world that helps drive this magical tale, “Working with the mechanical aesthetic of the film, our artists created a distinct vocabulary and movement of our craftsmanship; from the enchanting toys to the fairytale background in which the story takes place,” concludes Carlos.

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Genres: Visual VFX

Categories: Streaming Services, Media and Entertainment

Framestore, Thu, 19 Nov 2020 16:32:08 GMT