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Blue Spill Enhances Cinematic Storytelling With Flame and Shotgun

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Blue Spill is a boutique design and visual effects company based in London.
Co-founded by Anthony and Allison Brownmoore, the studio specializes in title design, motion graphics, animation and visual effects (VFX) for cinematic storytelling across film, documentary and television projects. Recent credits include the feature documentaries "Life in 12 Bars," and "The Final Year" - a look at President Barack Obama's last months in office.

"We focus a lot on creative challenges," said Anthony, "If a director or filmmaker has a story they want to tell in new and innovative ways, they come to us for suggestions on how to do it. We're very intertwined in the editorial process, as well as design, graphics and effects."

Blue Spill's core team is a tight-knit group of four at their London studio. Depending on the demands of their project workload, the team expands, outsourcing work to freelancers with specialist skills across the globe.

"Some of our paint artists are based in Australia and France," noted Anthony, "We value the team we work with and stick with the same talented individuals on a project-by-project basis."

Blue Spill's predominant workflow tools are Autodesk Flame, Adobe After Effects and Adobe Photoshop on Mac workstations, and Anthony also serves as the studio's lead Flame artist.

A longtime Autodesk Smoke user, Anthony recently transitioned Blue Spill's workflow to Flame, which has enabled the team to work on editorial and VFX concurrently.

"A lot of times when we get started on projects, the work is still going through rough cuts and offline edits. It can change dramatically from start to completion," said Anthony, "Using Flame, we essentially have our own online edit going on here in the graphic suite, so we can work alongside the dailies and conform it all as we go along."

The team begins each project by reviewing offline edits in Flame and breaking down the VFX shots.

"Using Flame's marker tools, we're able to pinpoint each effects shot, then export a list with the time codes, durations and our shot names. It's a really useful feature," said Anthony.

The artists create their effects in After Effects and Photoshop, and then the assets are rendered and sent back to Flame. In Flame, the effects are conformed into the timeline, then graded, polished and finalized.

"Flame's really where the projects come together," noted Anthony.

While the majority of the projects Blue Spill works on are 2D, in a pinch, Anthony is able to create simple 3D effects using Flame.

"The fact that Flame's 3D backend is so good allows me to go in and do simple things that actually look like they've been created in a 3D program," remarked Anthony.

In addition to Blue Spill's core creative tools, the team uses Shotgun's production management platform for review, project tracking and client approvals. After using a free trial of Shotgun while working on "My Scientology Movie," the team decided to fully integrate the platform for tracking shots.

Today, all projects are managed through Shotgun and Anthony relies heavily on Shotgun's integration with Flame throughout productions.

"I've been really happy with their interoperability," he noted.

Stay tuned for more to come from Blue Spill in the future including some Netflix series. To see their work, check out http://bluespill.co.uk/.

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Tags: 
Autodesk, Blue Spill, Flame, Shotgun Software
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