As the mid-Summer temperatures outside heat up, many of us take refuge in the nation’s multiplex theaters for a few hours of blockbuster movie escapism. Did you know that some of the leading film and television studios, editing and production houses, and visual effects companies have turned to Formaspace to kit out their computer graphics (CG) effects and editing suites? Bonus points if you knew that sometimes Formaspace furniture even makes it in front of the camera too!
Those of you outside the film and television production world may not realize just how big “the Industry” (as it is known to Hollywood types) is and what an enormous contribution it makes to our economy.
According to the 2015 Otis Report on the Creative Economy, produced each year by Otis College of Art and Design, Los Angeles leads our nation as the ‘creative capital’ — with upwards of 418,000 people in LA working in creative industries. Nipping at LA’s heels is New York — with 412,000 creative industry jobs, followed by Chicago, with 134,000. San Francisco and Seattle round out the fourth and fifth position respectively, each with just under 100,000 creative economy jobs.
The multiplier effect for these creative economy jobs is impressive. In the Los Angeles region alone, motion picture and video production contributed over $15 billion dollars in annual private sector wage and salary payroll — nearly 42% of creative industry income generated in the region. (Visual and performing arts came in second, followed by the fashion design industries.)
What does this mean regarding jobs? Creative industries in the Los Angeles region directly employed about 420,000 workers. When you consider the indirect downstream effects of the labor market that ripple through the economy and then add in corporate profits, the Otis report calculates the creative economy generated $176.9 billion in economic output — which represents an astounding 12.7% of the region’s gross product.
With these impressive economic numbers, it’s no wonder that other regions in the US have tried to emulate Southern California’s success. Florida’s Orlando area was an early adopter, building on its role as a Hollywood production outpost. Having taken notice of Florida’s nascent success in growing in-state creative jobs government, leaders in neighboring Georgia have used tools such as tax incentives and training programs to build up their own television and film production industry. This effort, dubbed “Y’allywood”, has propelled Georgia to third place in film and video production — after California and New York.
Behind Every Successful Film or Television Series is Months and Months of Hard Production Work
For the public, it’s easy to get caught up in the excitement of a new movie premier or the debut of a new television series and forget about all the complicated development steps needed to bring a new production to life.
However, when you go behind the scenes, there’s a good chance you may see some of our work as well. Formaspace furniture is increasingly used by the major studios and production houses — as well as by smaller firms or individuals who freelance in the industry.
Those in the know choose Formaspace for our robust, long-lasting, heavy-duty workstations and tables — they are the ideal way to safely and securely support the types of expensive tricked-out gear used in music production, film and video editing, computer generated (CG) visual effects (VFX), render farms and more.
Sometimes Formaspace Furniture Makes its Way in Front of the Camera Too
While we’re quite content to be part of the production scene in the background, it’s pretty exciting when we can see our products in front of the camera — especially on the big screen.
And such was the case with one of the big blockbuster films of all time, the third movie in the Transformers series, Transformers: Dark of the Moon. This movie from 2011 grossed $1,123,794,079 in box office receipts worldwide, making it the thirteenth highest grossing film of all time.
In the movie’s pivotal key action scene, the giant snake-like “Driller” character attacks and destroys an entire skyscraper — while the human heroes of the film attempt to escape the building as Driller pushes the building onto its side.
In these live action scenes, you can see beige Formaspace workstations knocked over as the floor tilts to an extreme angle.
Industrial Light & Magic (ILM) was the leading visual effects company on the film, with additional computer graphics (CG) work provided by Digital Domain. Reportedly, it took ILM up to 122 hours for computer software to render out each frame of the scene where Driller attacks the building. At the peak of production, the entire ILM render farm was cranking out imagery at a rate of 200,000 hours of rendering power each day.
In the above documentary, you can see how the live action plates with green screen elements were transformed (pardon the pun) with the addition of computer graphics effects (starting around 7:45 minutes in). Formaspace furniture can be seen at 8:30 minutes into the scene.
Formaspace is an Extra in Another Movie Hit: The Amazing Spider-Man Movie
As you know, here at Formaspace we not only make lots of top-quality, standard furniture (albeit with lots of options), we also make fully custom furniture for our clients’ unique requirements.
So we were very excited when the production team working on Sony Pictures’ 2012 film The Amazing Spider-Man came calling. They were looking for a way to illuminate the actors’ faces in a pivotal scene in the research laboratory. And so we got to work. We built a tricked out glass-top laboratory workbench with built-in internal lighting that gave a visual look the production designers were looking for.
We also created workbench designs with a unique feature that you’d only find in the movies: a quick change front for the drawer (clipped on with magnets) so the set designers could change the appearance of the workbenches when filming different scenes.
Formaspace Makes its Television Debut on Prototype This!
Do you recall seeing Myth Busters, the popular, long-lived television program on the Discovery Channel? Earlier in their career, the same team of producers created a show called Prototype This!
Like Myth Busters, each episode of Prototype This! takes on a difficult challenge that needs to be solved.
In the case of Prototype This!, a team of inventors (Dr. Mike North, Joe Grand, Terry Sandin, and Dr. Andrew ‘Zoz’ Brooks) look into the viability of gadgets and technology used in science-fiction films — by trying to recreate them in real-life.
The premise of the Prototype This! episodes range from creating a mind-controlled car, to a six-legged all-terrain vehicle (ATV), to designing and testing a superhero gecko suit (think Spider-Man).
The concept of this show really appeals to us here at Formaspace, as we are constantly prototyping new furniture designs for our customers — so we were very pleased to see our heavy-duty workstations used in the Prototype This! electronics lab.
Spotting Formaspace Furniture on Television and the Big Screen
As we said at the outset, Formaspace furniture is almost always found behind the camera — on the production side of things — but we keep an eye out to see if we can catch a glimpse of our workstations and desks in front of the camera as well.
As it turns out, Formaspace furniture occasionally pops up on television productions, even short lived ones. Such is the case with an ABC mid-season replacement television series called The Gates, a story about a seemingly normal gated community that is haunted by paranormal activity.
If you watched the series, did you spot our furniture on screen? Look for us in the police office scenes.
Maybe you can spot some other cases where Formaspace furniture appears on screen that we don’t know about.
We rarely turned down an opportunity to work with a production team. (Although we declined to build workbenches for the film The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo due to the violent nature of a particular criminal act we did not want to associate with our furniture.)
Formaspace can Help Build Custom Furniture for your Production Team
Are you working in the Film, Video or VFX world? We want to hear from you.
Get in touch with us. We’re excited to have our furniture appear on camera or behind the scenes.