Framestore’s Television department proudly rejoins cult Netflix show Black Mirror to deliver a host of VFX for ‘Smithereens’ – an episode from the eagerly anticipated fifth season of Charlie Brooker’s dystopian sci-fi TV series.
The narrative for the episode, directed by James Hawes, revolves around the titular Smithereens, a Facebook-like social media platform designed to be highly addictive. Brooker and Executive Producer Annabel Jones approached Framestore Television to build the interface design for Smithereens and handle all the screen comp and replacement work that would bring the fictitious social media app to life on various screens in the episode.?
See how the screen comp went together in our breakdown video here:
Led by Shoot Supervisor William Bartlett, Framestore’s Smithereens team worked on 150 shots in the episode, many of which were implementing the UI and visual aesthetic of the Smithereens app across various surfaces from handheld screens to the digital signage and the interiors of Smithereens’ head office. The team also provided set extensions, digital matte paintings and array manipulation for the episode's dramatic car crash scene.?
Our biggest challenge was working on a car crash scene that happens at a key moment in the episode,’ Braekke-Carroll continues. ‘We had to recreate the look and feel of the impressive practical stunt photography but as a view from the interior of the car, all in slow motion. This was achieved by combining array photography of the stunt with moving plates, then combining with the greenscreen interior to create a dreamlike but still shocking moment.’
‘We worked through a large variety of concepts for the interior walls and screens of the Smithereens headquarters,’ says Framestore’s VFX Supervisor, Owen Braekke-Carroll, ‘marrying the aesthetic of the company’s other branded elements that appear throughout the episode. This concept work informed our design for the Smithereens HQ which had to walk a fine line between being plausible and futuristic.’?