Framestore’s television department worked on all ten episodes of Why Women Kill, an original series produced for the CBS All Access OTT streaming service. Its work includes a whole host of environments and a key sequence in which the creative studio digitally aged the show’s main star, Lucy Liu.
The series which has been produced specifically for online consumption by CBS Television Studios centres around three women all living in the same house in three different decades; Ginnifer Goodwin in 1963, Lucy Liu in 1984 and Kirby Howell-Baptiste in 2019. It was Framestore’s role to deliver invisible VFX to alter the exterior of the show’s main location to ensure its aesthetics were accurate to the multiple time periods.
Working with the show’s co-producer Stephen Bowman and post-production supervisor Trey McMenamin, the Framestore team based out of its Los Angeles Studio delivered invisible VFX to the main exterior of the house depending on the show’s changing time periods. It also digitally extended the street on which it stood and replaced green screens to create exterior views from the windows and doors of the show’s three sets.
As well as the work that signified a single timestamp out of the series’ three decades, it also provided VFX for a number of complex transitions where time periods changed from one to the other in the same shot. This included sequences where floor tiles changed colour beneath an actor’s feet and foliage grew in a matter of seconds to show the passing or regression of time.
‘The premise of this show hangs on the believability of three time periods so our work needed to be an extension of that in order to establish when each scene was taking place,’ said Jeremy Burns, VFX Supervisor at Framestore. ‘It was important that our work gave audiences an instant recognisability of what time period they’re in to make sure the show’s complex narrative structure was clear.’
As well as the exterior and interior environmental VFX, the team was also tasked with digitally aging Lucy Liu’s character Simone 30 years for a sequence in which she appears in the show’s 2019 storyline. With just four weeks to deliver 13 shots, the team started with a photogrammetry scan of Lucy's face which it used for tracking and texturing. Wrinkles were added as a texture, rendered through lighting and composited back onto Liu’s face in the shots where makeup including eyeliner, blush and lipstick was also added.
We were thrilled that we could partner with Stephen, Trey and CBS to deliver VFX on the whole series of Why Women KillDiana Ibanez - Executive Producer, Framestore
‘Working on the whole series has allowed us to ensure there was a cohesive look across the entire series as we’ve delivered a wide variety of VFX. The team did an excellent job in delivering this project to an incredibly high standard, on what was a pretty tight schedule,’ commented Diana Ibanez, Executive Producer at Framestore.