Created by the duo behind The Inbetweeners, The First Team is a BBC Two Comedy series about life inside an Premier League Football Club. Framestore was brought on board to provide a host of VFX for the show including realistic crowd shots inside a football stadium.
The six-part BBC series produced by Fudge Park, the production company set up by award-winning creative duo Iain Morris and Damon Beesley, featured a number of shots inside football stadiums which Framestore was tasked with filling with cheering crowds and the right on-field action.
Deciding to utilise predominantly 2D solutions for the series’ stadium shots, the team led by VFX Supervisor Andrew Scrase saw the work split between crowds pitch-side and wide, establishing shots. For shots featuring specific action on the field - like a ceremony - the team took rushes of kitted-out fans against greenscreens and composited them into the stands to fill out the stadium’s seats.
A number of establishing shots also needed to be created for use throughout the series for which Framestore shot its own live action rushes at a game. Different on-field action was then added to the shots and the crowds augmented so the stadium looked full.
‘Sports are all about atmosphere; even if it’s in a fictional comedy series,’ comments Andrew Scrase. ‘Our job on The First Team was to curate some of that into the series’ stadium shots. It’s projects like this where our work has to be completely invisible and that’s always quite fun to do; providing VFX that no one will ever know about.’
The series also features a sight gag in which a character removes a hat to reveal an unimaginably large dent in his head. It was Framestore’s job to make the joke work in the sequence’s shots which meant adding the dent in a few different live action plates and then adding a digital matte painting behind the actor’s now much smaller head.