The Resurgence of Europe’s VFX Industry

  • 2024-06-12
VFX Voice provides an overview of the VFX industry in Europe through profiles and interviews with leading studios, including The Yard for France. 

VFX Voice recently published an illuminating article on the state of the European visual effects (VFX) industry, spotlighting insights from leading studios across the continent.

Over the last decade, the European VFX industry has surged, becoming a global leader. European studios, including The Yard, UPP, RISE, Important Looking Pirates, and DNEG ReDefine, are highly sought after, with Hollywood increasingly relying on their work. Key cities like Paris, Prague, Stockholm, Copenhagen, Munich, and Berlin are now central to Europe’s vibrant VFX scene, further reinforced by major industry events like The View, Annecy, and FMX.

Despite challenges from the COVID-19 pandemic and recent industry strikes, the demand for visual effects remains strong. Brexit has also shifted the landscape, driving many VFX artists from the UK to continental Europe, bolstering the industry there. Additionally, several European countries support the film industry with numerous government incentives, further contributing to the attractiveness of their local industry.

Amidst the sustained strong demand for high-quality work, The Yard stands out as one of Europe’s flagship VFX studios. Laurens Ehrmann, founder of The Yard VFX, was interviewed and provided a comprehensive overview from his vantage point in France, highlighting the dynamic evolution and current standing of European VFX on the global stage. You can read below some key points :

The Yard, an independent creative VFX studio founded in France in 2014, has significantly contributed to this thriving sector. Known for its work on feature films and episodic content, The Yard has been involved in numerous high-profile international projects. These include Ford v Ferrari, WandaVision, Nomadland, The Gray Man, Enola Holmes 2, John Wick Chapter 4, Indiana Jones and the Dial of Destiny, and Halo – Season 2. Currently, The Yard is working on The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power Season 2.

These projects exemplify the diversity and scale of VFX work entrusted to our teams, often as the sole independent VFX vendor based in France. We’ve also worked on various French productions, such as Les Indésirables and Notre Dame on Fire for which we won the César Award for Best Visual Effects. All these projects presented new challenges, facilitating our growth and the fortification of our infrastructure and pipeline.

Laurens EhrmannFounder and CEO, The Yard VFX
Aerial view from Notre Dame on Fire, directed by Jean-Jacques Annaud, VFX supervized by Laurens Ehrmann, founder of The Yard VFX, winner of 2023 Cesar for best visual effects.
The Yard won the 2023 César Award for Best Visual Effects for its work on Notre Dame on Fire. (Images courtesy of Pathé and The Yard VFX)

Over the past decade, The Yard has completed around 60 projects, spanning international and French productions across various formats, including theatrical releases and streaming fiction. The studio prides itself on its involvement in some of the most ambitious projects with the largest VFX budgets in France. This year, two major international productions have chosen The Yard for their VFX needs.

The Yard has also made significant strides in bringing together top-tier visual effects artists who have honed their skills at renowned international studios like DNEG, Framestore, Rodeo, ILM, and MPC. The studio’s recent expansion includes new offices in Montpellier and Lille, enhancing its capacity and proximity to ArtFX, a world-class VFX school. In 2023, ARTFX was recognized by The Rookies artists network as the top school in the Special Effects category for the fifth consecutive year. This partnership between the school and The Yard is instrumental in nurturing the best French VFX talent.

The representatives of PICS Studio, Dark Matters and ArtFX with Cecile Barral of La Region Occitanie and Laurens Ehrmann, founder and CEO of The Yard VFX
From left to right: Véronique Cuilhe (PICS Studio), Jean Louis Eude (Dark Matters Solutions), Alain Guiraudon, Jacques Vienne and Sébastien Giraud (PICS Studio), Laurens Ehrmann (The Yard), Cécile Barral (Occitanie Region), Antoine Pietrera (PICS Studio), Luc Pourrinet and Simon Vanesse (ArtFX) (©naïri)

The COVID-19 crisis led to a surge in projects due to the explosive growth of streaming platforms, prompting the emergence of new vendors and the expansion of existing ones. However, the onset of industry strikes has led to a paradigm shift, with studios now aiming to undertake fewer projects, resulting in a projected 30% reduction in workload for the global VFX industry. Ehrmann expresses concern over a potential price war due to the proliferation of vendors but remains optimistic about a rebound in Q3-Q4 this year.

Despite these challenges, Ehrmann maintains a positive outlook for the French VFX market in 2024. International studios increasingly partner with French companies for various film services, attracted by government incentives and the high quality of local talent. Recent entrants like One Of Us, MILK VFX, and Rodeo FX have joined established French vendors such as The Yard, Light, BUF, and MPC Paris. Ehrmann sees this as a promising trend, enhancing France’s appeal and presenting opportunities to attract larger-scale projects.

In conclusion, the European VFX industry, led by innovative studios like The Yard, continues to flourish. The combination of high-quality talent, strategic partnerships, and supportive government incentives positions Europe as a formidable force in the global VFX landscape.

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