Framestore’s director, Murray Butler worked with Netflix and Silk Factory to create Man Vs Bee trailer starring Rowan Atkinson.
The trailer for the brand-new comedy Netflix series, Man Vs Bee, sees Rowan Atkinson as protagonist Trevor who finds himself in an unexpected battle with a plucky bee while housesitting a luxurious mansion.
Headed up by Framestore’s VFX Supervisor, Rob Duncan, the team were perfectly placed to bring the trailer to life, having worked heavily on the VFX for the series itself, meticulously crafting and animating a photorealistic bee. The work was directed by Murray Butler.
The trailer serves to promote Man Vs Bee and features other high-profile Netflix shows, including The Queen’s Gambit, Queer Eye and Selling Sunset, as a vehicle for the creative idea. The thread that runs through the sequences is Trevor and the bee and their comedic relationship, and throughout the trailer Trevor is either being chased or chasing the bee from one Netflix show to the next.
“We began this project at the end of shooting the TV series itself, so the character’s behaviour and the overall VFX workflow was already well established, making the process for the trailers run very smoothly with only minimal feedback throughout.” said Rob Duncan.
“Having Rob know exactly how the bee would behave along with the presence of Rowan and the VFX team made it a seamless shoot,” added Murray Butler. “Rob, the wider VFX team and the puppeteer for the bee were already in sync and were very much custodians of the character at this point, we also continued the same key VFX crew for efficiency and continuity.”
To create the transitions between the shows, the team used the motion of Trevor being distracted by the bee as a way to move him into other scenes and blocked out the shots to ensure the correct placement of the characters and props within each of the shots. The scenes were a combination of physical set design elements and backgrounds from the shows and we needed to ensure that the lighting and perspective on Rowan matched that of the respective backgrounds to be able to seamlessly integrate Trevor into the scenes.
“We preloaded each scene into our on set playback to test line-ups live," said Murray Butler. “The way Trevor jumps through the shows creates a nice little set piece and I feel like it complements the show.”
“Blocking out Trevor’s journey throughout all the scenes with Rowan Atkinson was really interesting, and between myself, the DP Tony Miller, and John Piedot and Lawrence Ching from Silk Factory we were able to cut it together exactly how we planned it, and that’s been rewarding,” continued Murray Butler. “There was a good atmosphere on set and a real sense of trust when we were delivering shots.”
The team also delivered five ‘Motion Tool Kit’ edits involving Trevor and our CG bee, directed by Steve Schofield from Creative Partnership and edited by Framestore’s Carey Williams, as well as CG bees for some Out of Home materials.
“It was a real pleasure working together with Katie Hundere, Netflix’s Marketing Director and Alan Wills, Netflix’s Marketing Manager as well as the teams at Silk Factory, Creative Partnership and Black Cap Films,” added Framestore’s Executive Producer, Anna MacDonald. “It was a fun project to be involved in and collaborate on. We were all well aligned throughout and Katie and Alan’s trust and support led to a smooth collaborative journey and seamless approval process and we’re all very proud of the creative work, the final trailers and our collective achievement.”
The show debuts June 24th on Netflix.