Backdrop designs for Scotland Tonight

I’ve been working on virtual set designs for most of the past year, but recently had the opportunity to work on a printed backdrop design for a set design by Toby Kalitowski at BK Design Projects. The new set was for STV’s Scotland Tonight, which broadcasts from their studios in Glasgow.

Pic Courtesy STV Press Office
Pic Courtesy STV Press Office
Pic Courtesy STV Press Office

The backdrops depict an stylised interior, and make extensive use of glass, and reflective surfaces. The scene is composed to provide the multiple opportunities to frame shots, whether they were wides or closely framed singles. To complicate matters, the scene makes extensive use of linear perspective, but is displayed on a curved surface. By a combination of different techniques, the scene artwork was provided pre-curved, so that installation would effectively de-curve the scene as it was applied to the lightboxes.

The new look went live on Monday, so I can now share some photos provided from the set.

Bakcdrops: Lightwell
Set Design: Toby Kalitowski
Set Build: Scott Fleary

Backdrop build: 3DS Max + Vray render

Rogue One Concept Art by ILM

Industrial Light and Magic have posted a treasure trove of concept art from Rogue One and The Force Awakens to their website. Concept art is more commonly associated with the pre-production stages of a film’s development, but ILM, whose focus is visual effects and therefore post-production, provide art direction and design throughout all stages of a film. Their incredible, and quite beautiful Visual Development work during post production is essential to the successful completion of a film.

The examples shown span numerous scenes from Rogue One, and include work by a number of different artists and designers, including the superlative Yanick Dusseault (Dusso)

 See the gallery of work here –

Virtual Set Designs for PWC

A very small preview of some new designs I have been working on at Lightwell, for PWC for use in the Newtek Tricaster equipped greenscreen studio. The new virtual set designs feature four separate presentation spaces, each designed a different presenting style and format. The complete set of new designs are due to launch in Spring 2017.

My earlier designs for PWC are featured on the Lightwell website.

Ghost In The Shell Teaser – Gorgeous Design

Paramount have just released a cluster of teaser shots for their live action remake of Ghost In The Shell (GitS). They are frustratingly brief and play out like a digital glitch, but what they do reveal of the designs, coupled with what the art direction of the original animated versions (if you haven’t seen the original animated version, I thoroughly recommend you to do so), suggest we could be in for some gorgeous production design and cinematography.

Production designer for this version is Jan Roelfs, whose previous work includes Gattaca, whilst cinematography is by Jess Hall who provided the cinematography on Son of Rambow and Hot Fuzz. VFX is to be provided by Weta and MPC, so I am hopeful that we will see some superlative digital sets amongst the set design. The quality and influence of the original animated version of GitS demands that any live action re-telling of the story be accompanied by nothing less than a work of unparalleled visual quality. Please don’t disappoint.

The EU referendum: 10 points on my mind…

I avoid politics like the plague, but the very real prospect of Brexit has stirred me to set down some of my thoughts.

  1. Working with clients within the EU is straightforward and hassle free. More than half of my business is with overseas companies, so you could argue that I am dependent on exports. I don’t encounter any of the buraucratic red tape that we hear so much about. Working with non-EU clients is always more protracted and time consuming.
  2. If it’s easier for me to work with clients in the rest of the EU, then it’s easier for them to commission me if we are still in the EU. That’s good for business.
  3. Immigration cuts both ways. It is guaranteed that there will be recessions in the U.K. that don’t affect other parts of the E.U. and many of us will be glad of the opportunity to travel and work abroad. I’m 46 and studied as an architect. In the early 1990’s there was a recession that decimated the U.K. construction sector almost overnight. The willing, and the able travelled abroad in search of work. One of those major destinations was Germany, where we worked hard, learned new skills, earned money that we could bring back to the U.K. and didn’t take any money out of the benefits system back home. Many of the skills so essential to my business today, had their origins in my time spent working in Germany.  Baby boomers and their seniors won’t be able to tell you about this, because they had “never had it so good” and really haven’t got a clue about how the modern jobs market works.
  4. Being part of the EU in it’s various forms over the past decades has given us the metric system. Metric and digital were meant for each other. It’s a neat, interconnected and thorough units system. Standards and standardisation are good for business, trade and science. The Imperial system…that’s an antiquated and positively medieval system in comparison, and really should be consigned to the scrapheap.
  5. Although I would describe myself as British first, I am also European, and quite proud of that. I am secure enough with my own sense of nationality to understand that I can be both, at the same time.
  6. 59 years without a war, positives don’t come much bigger than that! There has never been a war or coup within a country that has been a member of the EU, or it’s predecessors. We are talking as far back as the Treaty of Rome, 1957. If you have even a fleeting grasp of European history, you will be aware that there was quite a bit of conflict before then. All evidence would appear to suggest that we are safer IN than out.
  7. We get legally protected human rights within the EU. We always hear about those really bad, excruciatingly frustrating cases, but there’s more positive stuff that we don’t hear about. Does anybody seriously believe we are going to get a robust British constition post Brexit?
  8. I hear lots of complaints that the EU is undemocratic, yet we have a power of VETO. And yet here in the U.K. we have monarchy, House of Lords, Quangos, Civil servants…I don’t recall ever voting for these?
  9. If Brexit happens, I think we can pretty much guarantee that Scotland will vote to leave the U.K. I think that would be bad for us collectively, and really don’t want it to happen, but who could blame them?
  10. In life, the more you put in, the more you get out. We should remain part of the EU, but we should be getting more involved. It’s not a perfect institution, but we can only re-shape the EU from the inside, by getting stuck in, getting our hands dirty and moulding it into something better. The EU isn’t going to just go away if we leave. It’ll be right there, on our doorstep, and we won’t be able to do a thing to influence it’s future direction from the outside.