aerial shot of a concert crowd

Guitar Hero Live

Framestore was extremely proud to announce their collaboration with Activision and Freestyle Games on the re-birth of the pop culture phenomenon Guitar Hero. The brand new controller delivered an entirely new immersive experience, with live-action crowds dynamically reacting to the player's every move, as well as a raft of other new features.

a concert crowd with fireworks and the moon in the night sky

Dynamic Crowds

Framestore was given the huge task of set-extending the varied CG environments and creating the dynamic midground and background CG crowds for the game, with collaboration from the Capture Lab, lighting, animation, crowd technical directors, texture artists, modellers, riggers, trackers and yet more from the Film, Commercials and Digital divisions, totalling 129 crew.

The team needed to create the emotions in the crowd as they change, depending on the abilities of the player, so the amount of data captured was staggering. Normal VFX film shots are around 200 frames long; with the average song coming out at over 6,000 frames, the scale of the project was unprecedented.

We were collaborating with all the different departments, from the lighting team to the motion capture crew, and during shoots we had to make sure all of the camera moves, stage lighting, and music were in sync.
Pedro Sabrosa
VFX Supervisor, Framestore

From the Top

Framestore was consulted at a conceptual stage, with proof of concept tests and pilots conducted by the digital, commercials and live action production departments.  Once these had been approved the work really got going, with various shoots and mo-cap sessions held to capture a range of audience reactions to the diverse genres of music present in the game. 

three musicians smiling at the camera in front of a massive crowd

We designed a bespoke system that captured all of the data from the lighting of the shoot, including light intensity, colour, position and motion. This allowed us to replicate the exact conditions in the 3D world we then created.
Alan Woods
CG Supervisor, Framestore

Bringing It Together

The team then had to figure out how to arrange the live action band, crowd and lighting material with all the CG elements, blending everything together seamlessly to create the massive crowd simulations and photoreal environments.

Creating realistic environments for the bands to play in was also a challenge for the CG team, with texture artists and compositors working on seven separate venues. All this work was topped off with a grade from Edwin Metternich.

We completed over six hours' worth of VFX footage, the equivalent of more than three big-scale VFX movies.
Liz Oliver
VFX Producer, Framestore
a musician smiling at the camera in front of a large crowd


FreeStyle Games
Production Company
Pulse Films UK
Art Director
Gareth Morrison
Senior Audio Designer
Jon Newman
Lead Character Artist
Pete Nicholson
John Bannister, Isabel Davis
Director and Editor Assistant
Giorgia Polizzi
Motion Control
The VFX Co.
CG Supervisor
Alan Woods
Lead Crowd Director
Reza Ghobadinic
Line Producer
Helen Kok
Grading Data Ops
Adam Stannard
Co-Director, Creative Director
Jamie Jackson
Projects Director
Jonathan Napier
Audio Designer/Licensed Equipment Liaison
Mike McLafferty
Lead Technical Artist
David Moulder
Giorgio Testi
Director of Photography
Dave Miller
Shoot Lighting Director
Steven Douglas
Motion Capture
Audio Motion (camera), Framestore (crowd)
Compositing Supervisor
Russell Horth, Kate Windibank
Head of Tracking
Chris Davis
VFX Co-ordinator
Olivia Turner, Dan Moody
Art Manager
Mike Rutter
Lead Audio Designer
Andy Grier
Lead Animator
Neil Watts
Lead UI Artist
Neil Dodd
Director of Production
Claire Wingate
Pablo D'Amrosi
Production Designer
Laia Ateca
VFX Supervisor (Framestore)
Pedro Sabrosa
Lead Technical Director
Robin Reyer
Senior Producer
Liz Oliver
Edwin Metternich
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