The Brewery's Marc Knapton on small studios and massive fires

We chat to the VFX supervisor and company founder in the run-up to his talk at HP ZED London.

This content has been brought to you in association with HP ZED, a 'pop up shop' for creatives in London's Soho from Monday 29 September to Friday 10 October 2014. On Thursday 9 October, Marc Knapton will be joining MPC's Ben Owen at a special session: How to get a job in 3D - book your seat today!

Marc Knapton

A visual effects and animation Studio in London's Soho, The Brewery was founded in 2009 by VFX supervisor Marc Knapton. With film credits including Kick Ass 2, Welcome to the Punch and The Look of Love, as well as broadcast TV shows like Fleming: The Man Who Would be Bond, it's one of the most dynamic independent studios in the capital right now.

In the run-up to his talk at HP ZED London, we chatted to Knapton about his firm's working culture and his latest project. Here's what he had to say...

What's it like working at The Brewery?

The Brewery is all about small efficient teams. We started the company with the belief that you didn't need a massive firm, with complex pipelines and to micromanage the artists to produce good creative results.

Fleming: The Man Who Would Be Bond was made for BBC America and Sky Atlantic

There's power in being small and we like to think that we're proof of that. Plus we have gin o'clock.

What's the secret to your success?

We've been very lucky. We started working for Michael Winterbottom in 2006 and built a lasting relationship with him, working on a further seven films. We've progressed by working on a whole range of projects, from short form to Hollywood features.

The Look of Love is one of many Michael Winterbottom films the studio has worked on

We look at each job on a case by case basis and are always open to discussion with directors or producers. This has given us the chance to grow and work on some incredible projects.

What's it been like working on ITV period drama The Great Fire?

This was a rewarding and awesome challenge. Not only did we need to build London as it stood in the 1600s but we also needed to burn it to the ground.

ITV's The Great Fire details the heart-wrenching stories of a city and its people in crisis

Briefs like this can be daunting at first but when you look at the
specific challenges and approach them with clever ideas it's easy to get good results. We managed to complete all the work for the series with only a handful of talented people: three 3D artists, two matte painters and three comp.

What's exciting you in terms of tech right now?

Production tracking! I never thought I'd hear myself say that but we're currently using ftrack to manage a 13-part series.

There could be over 500 shots throughout the series, so for everyone to easily know the status and comments on their shots is invaluable.

See Marc Knapton speak!

Ben Owen will be joining Marc Knapton, VFX supervisor at The Brewery, at a special session at HP ZED London on Thursday 9 October entitled: How to get a job in 3D.

The advice and insight they offer could help you get a better job in 3D, so make sure you don't miss this must-attend session. Register to attend here!


Tom May is a freelance writer and editor specialising in design and technology. He was previously associate editor at Creative Bloq and deputy editor at net magazine, the world’s best-selling magazine for web designers. Over two decades in journalism he’s worked for a wide range of mainstream titles including The Sun, Radio Times, NME, Heat, Company and Bella. Follow him on Twitter @tom_may.