Time Trumpet: Framestore Design Works Hard Not To Blow It
Time Trumpet is a new satirical show devised, co-written and directed by Armando Iannucci, and produced by Adam Tandy for BBC Entertainment. The six half-hour episodes are being aired on BBC2, starting on Thursday August 3rd. Framestore Design created the show’s title-sequence, most of its digital VFX, and the essential look of the show’s ‘studio footage’.
‘Nostalgia from the future, only now,” is how Producer Adam Tandy pithily sums up Time Trumpet. The idea is that we are watching a programme that was (or rather, will be) made around 2031 A.D. The show features a look back at aspects of our culture as refracted through TV shows aired between around 2005-2010 A.D., with various talking heads giving their take on the material, as well as ‘interviews’ with aged celebrities (played by actors) such as Jamie Oliver, Tom Cruise and Alastair Campbell. The shows are themed, focussing on facets of our life such as entertainment and terrorism. As you might guess, given its provenance, punches are not pulled.
The show is the latest fruit of a long-standing creative partnership between Tandy and Framestore Design, during which time Tandy and writer / performer / directors such as Chris Morris and Armando Iannucci have entrusted the small design team with a huge variety of comedy projects ?‚àö√ë‚àö¬® TV shows, DVD design, artwork. The upshot, as Inferno Artist Adam Parry puts it, is that, “We trust each other ?‚àö√ë‚àö¬® and get each other. When Adam (Tandy) gives me a reference, he doesn’t have to explain it at length ?‚àö√ë‚àö¬® which makes things a lot easier.”
When Tandy first approached the Framestore Design team he had, says Producer Simon Whalley, “A very loose kind of brief and some ideas.” According to Adam Parry, it was even skimpier than that. “At the earliest stage, all they had was the title,” he deadpans, “And we were pretty excited about the show just on the basis of that.” But as the project evolved it became clear that it was going to be a demanding one for the Framestore CFC team. “They surpassed themselves,” says Tandy, simply, “Realising Armando’s vision of Britain in 2031 A.D. meant they had to come up with both a coherent look for the show ?‚àö√ë‚àö¬® the titles and the set design (as comped onto the green screens) – but also a bewildering array of VFX shots ?‚àö√ë‚àö¬® around 100 per show. That they did this inside incredibly tight schedules is all the more remarkable.”
Parry designed the title sequence ?‚àö√ë‚àö¬® which involves a torus shape (that’s a ring doughnut to you and me) sucking in and spewing forth dates and timelines – using reference material garnered from Googling concepts such as ‘time travel’, along with notes from Iannucci offering Horizon-type graphics as a pointer. “Armando wanted the titles to suggest seriousness, but with the additional implication that comedy might be involved,” he says.
A small team of artists created the VFX that are dotted throughout every show. In addition to Parry, these comprised Dasha Ashley, Kate Auld, Darran Nicholson and Chris Redding. The work was created using Inferno, Shake, Combustion and Fire. Online editing was by Matt Clarke. Grading was done in Spirit by Ben Rogers.
Producer Adam Tandy
Writer / Director Armando Ianucci
For Framestore Design
Title Design Adam Parry
VFX Artists Kate Auld, Dasha Ashley, Darran Nicholson, Chris Redding
Online Editor Matt Clarke
Colourist Ben Rogers
Producer Simon Whalley