A group photo of the winners of the Sci Tech Academy Awards 2023
24th February 2023

Academy Scientific and Technical Award

Framestore's pioneering FQ system has been recognised at the Academy’s Scientific and Technical Awards for advancing the art of filmmaking.  Developed by Framestore 15 years ago, FQ has underpinned the delivery of increasingly complex, photo-realistic visual effects that have made whole worlds, creatures and environments a reality for the World’s greatest storytellers.

The 2007, Best Visual Effects Oscar win for The Golden Compass, where 240 Framestore artists worked on 450 shots, sparked the development of FQ.  Anticipating increasingly bigger projects and more intricate work, a bespoke solution to drive the capabilities of the craft forward was needed.

“We use technology at Framestore to unlock creative potential and one of our biggest obstacles to achieving a photo-realistic finish is the sheer volume and scale of compute tasks required for rendering images” explains Mel Sullivan, CEO at Framestore.  “FQ launched in 2009, the same year we began conversations on Gravity, a project that would have been inconceivable to render at a cost that was practical without FQ.  It’s the perfect example of how technology has allowed us to deliver groundbreaking, creative work.  Technologists working side by side with artists to make the impossible possible; a powerful combination recognised with another Oscar.” 

Framestore is an award-winning creative studio that blends creative excellence with ground-breaking technical innovation to consistently deliver exceptional visual storytelling.  Receiving the Technical Achievement Award are Jim Vanns and Mark Hills who developed FQ at Framestore having seen the opportunity in building a custom render farm scheduling solution.  Since the launch of FQ, over 120 films including Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness, Fantastic Beasts: Secrets of Dumbledore and Guardians of the Galaxy have all benefited from the innovation. 

FQ is based on a hierarchical model that allows the producers of each show to efficiently control a set of shared compute resources in realtime.  This facilitates the efficient delegation of capacity, licences and priorities so each producer can plan their film’s renders with confidence, safely brokering several million render jobs each week across Framestore’s eight offices in five countries.

“Today a cinematic blockbuster can see 700 of our artists working on a 1000 shots across 3 or 4 different locations”, explains Michael Stein, Chief Technology Officer at Framestore.  “The predictability and scale that FQ affords us is invaluable.  FQ has been a foundational technology at the heart of Framestore’s quality of work and global scale; it will continue to power us into the future.”  

If you want to read more about the awards, check out this Variety piece.


Mark Hills and Jim Vanns accept their award
Mark Hills and Jim Vanns on the red carpet at the Sci Tech Awards 2023