Inside the VFX talent crisis

The VFX industry has been hit by talent shortages, leaving crews under-resourced and over-stretched. We speak to four facilities – DNEG, Coffee & TV, Framestore and Cheat – about what’s led to the recruitment issues in the UK and what can be done to remedy them

A cursory glance at the visual effects landscape in the UK would tell you that business is thriving like never before. Advertising has seen a steady incline in campaigns that draw on the vast, imaginative possibilities of visual effects, creating a trend for ambitious TV adverts that seem set on rivalling blockbuster superhero films. Meanwhile, the land of film and serialised television is inundated with VFX work as production giants are investing in the UK.

Earlier this year, Amazon’s Prime Video announced a multimillion-pound deal with Pinewood’s Shepperton Studios in Surrey, joining other streamers in bringing operations to the UK. This heavy investment in the entertainment scene will inevitably cascade into VFX and post-production. And then of course, there’s the mammoth video games market, valued in the UK at a record-high of £7.16 billion this year.

Many VFX facilities would agree that business is indeed booming. Yet a glaring issue has come out of the woodwork in the process: the workforce in the UK is woefully undersized to cope with the demand.