Framestore used CGI to create a beautifully designed title sequence for Netflix series 1899 that is a disorientating and dark exploration of the show’s themes and key elements.
From the creators of DARK, this thrilling series revolves around mysterious events that change the course of an immigrant ship headed for New York in 1899, where a mind-bending riddle unfolds for bewildered passengers.
With Framestore’s work running across the episodic production from early concept and virtual production through to final VFX, the studio’s Integrated Advertising division in London was proud to be involved in the creation of the opening title sequence.
The striking visuals were conceived and designed by Framestore’s Jules Janaud, and led by VFX Supervisor Johannes Sambs.
“The brief was really open as the creators, Baran Bo Odgar and Jantje Friese, didn’t want to use footage from the film. They were after something unique, dynamic, dark, and mesmerising” explained Jules.
“We quickly came up with visuals around the cruise vessel, surreal representations of the sea playing with a stylised language to evoke reality against a dream simulation”.
Once the team found the right look and feel, character scenes illustrating key moments of the show were developed. These scenes then became the main beats of the title sequence structure, alongside the more abstract design-led elements.
The fully CGI sequence was created using Maya, Houdini and Nuke.
Working on a creative piece of this scale was a long journey, with design and storytelling always at the heart of it. Jules added: “The key thing we had to bear in mind was to tease, without showing too much. To be entertaining, but not too obvious. Be visually different from the show, but still be part of it”.
Framestore’s Executive Producer Luke Youngman said: “This was an exciting and challenging gig, with revisions to the aesthetic and edit happening right up to the last minute. However, the always excellent team lead by Jules and Johannes poured everything into it, pulling it all together with dedication and style”.
1899 is now streaming on Netflix.