Is VFX’s new normal here to stay?

Unlike many industry sub-sectors , VFX has been able to adjust to remote working relatively quickly and easily, writes Barclay’s Head of Media Lorraine Ruckstuhl in Broadcast.

Content security, adapting workflows, structuring teams correctly and kitting them out have occupied tech departments full-time and bandwidth“has become the new obsession”. A lot of effort has been put into facilitating effective communication between individuals who normally work in close-knit groups


Pre-lockdown, fewer than 50% of VFX companies had a work from home policy or technology in place, according to a survey conducted by Escape Technology and HP.

55% of those who participated in the survey said they could live with remote working comfortably for 8 to 12 months, and 87% of VFX staff said their bosses had encouraged them to work from home.

Long-term impacts

What happens next? As lockdown restrictions become ever more relaxed, will working like this become the new default? If it’s proven that the balance works in the company’s favour, especially in terms of artists’ productivity, could we see lots of VFX companies needing less physical space?

Consolidation and further globalisation, including ‘follow the sun’ working practices, would seem to be an inevitable consequence of the recent disruption, with the bigger players being the winners, either seeing off or absorbing failed rivals’ talent..

The value of film production in the UK climbed 7% to £1.96 billion last year, the second-highest level on record, so the rewards are substantial for those who are able to adapt to survive. A 25% tax rebate for productions that can be classed a British and the announcement of new film studio complexes around the UK point to a rosy future for those who manage to weather the current coronavirus storm.