Thu, 02 Mar 2023 08:19:55 GMT
It’s hard to believe it, but Ryan Burnham and Luke Robson are not brothers. Brothers in filmmaking and in mindset, of course, but not by birth. Yet the pair share the kind of instinctive creative bond which can only arise when two people just click. Maybe that’s to be expected given that they’ve been hanging out and simply making cool stuff together since the age of 15.
“Honestly, it all stems back to our days playing Rainbow Six and COD in around 2008”, recalls Ryan. “But we weren’t just no-scoping and retaining an impressive kill:death ratio… we were mostly out there filming in our spare time and editing back at Luke’s house”.
In those halcyon days, the creative duo were publishing the fruits of their labour on their YouTube channel, Berry Cinema. “Don’t ask why, but the ‘Berry’ name has always kind of just stuck”, says Luke. “At one point our gaming clan was called ‘DoujenBerry’, and ‘Berry Cinema’ remains our company’s limited trading name to this day”.
Above: The Berry Boys, pictured in creative consultation with none other than Super Mario himself whilst on set.
Despite the naming consistency, however, things have come a long way in the decade and a half since those late nights finding the perfect sniper spot in Terminal. Luke and Ryan never stopped making VFX-heavy films, and it didn’t take long for things to get much more serious. Since 2018, the pair have headed up The Berry in London, where they work with a team of in-house VFX and CGI specialists for global brands and agencies. As of 2023, The Berry’s now award-winning team stands at 16 strong - “with further potential to expand into what we see as the future of filmmaking”, adds Ryan.
Specifically, that vision for the future of filmmaking is the collision between live action elements and VFX/CGI. This has been The Berry Boys’ bread and butter since the early days of their YouTube channel. “We love combining live action with VFX and CGI - using motion capture data and connecting this to all sorts of characters is amazing to see, plus it’s becoming a very efficient - and cost-effective - way to bring our CGI characters to life on-screen”, notes Luke.
Above: The Berry Boys brought their CG expertise to bear in a series of adrenaline-fuelled CG films promoting the Extreme E event in Neom.
On top of their technical expertise, however, the pair also share an affinity for comedy-driven narratives which is reflected in their work. “We take pride in how our directing style brings out genuine and exciting performances from celebrities and talent - even the crew!”, continues Luke. “There is a true grafting vibe whenever everyone is on set together - there’s always a genuine, natural sense of ‘over-delivery’ in the air”.
Above: A strong example of the diversity of The Berry Boys’ work is this promo for the Adidas Consortium Cup.
As Luke and Ryan are quick to point out, the potential for brands in this space is enormous. “The possibilities are incredible, especially when you consider avenues such as animated characters and brand mascots”, says Ryan.
Beyond their fascination with the technical aspects of filmmaking, however, The Berry Boys also cite a fundamentally human element to their work and motivation. “We love storytelling - in truth, that’s our favourite type of work”, says Luke. “The beauty of that is that it can be applied across any project we’re working on. We are looking to create more narrative-driven work and we’re pushing ourselves to continue in that filmmaking lane”.
Above: A collage of stills taken from across The Berry Boys' work.
Happily, the duo have found themselves embarking along that lane in recent months. “It seems that every new project we work on becomes our new favourite”, explains Ryan. “We love the diversity of the work we’re doing - from ads for brands, to personal projects, to big digital out of home campaigns. We’re super lucky to be able to work across so many different types of projects and creatives”.
Above: The duo helped bring to life this action-packed TVC for 2023's Dakar Rally.
Those innate filmmaking qualities are helping The Berry Boys to stand out - not just to prospective clients, but to others within the industry. Last year the duo signed up with Ampersand for representation in the US and Japan, having bumped into managing director Philip Detchmendy on, of all places, the LBB Beach in Cannes.
“We had our 3D laptops set up on the LBB Beach, alongside a few nice bottles of Rose of course, and Phillip joined us for a chat”, recalls Luke. “The conversation continued long into the night and following week. It was clear that our passion and love for pushing filmmaking through CG and VFX was shared by Phillip and his team at Ampersand”.
Above: Luke and Ryan helped bring life to a pulsating title sequence for season nine of Formula E.
Recently, the pair have arrived back on British shores following a trip to Tokyo to connect with AOI Pro - a relationship stemming from their connection with Ampersand. “We’ve always had a love for the action and vibrancy of Japanese culture and movie making, and you should expect a handful of wicked VFX sketches to come off the back of this trip”, says Ryan. “Shout out to Yoshi and Koichiro for putting up with us this week in Tokyo!”.
And so, the industry should be watching this space. Already, The Berry Boys have developed a reputation for a directing style that pushes characters, concepts, cinematography, and dark-comedy, to an award winning level. But more than that, their reputation is all about simply making things happen. “We’re trying to break down barriers to make agencies and clients feel at ease when it comes to VFX/CGI heavy productions, and the continued need for outstanding work, with high production values”, says Luke.
Above: Luke and Ryan starred in 'The Regretaverse', a comedic take on adventures within the metaverse turning sour.
On the one hand, that might sound like something which is easier said than done. Yet on the other hand, The Berry Boys have a secret weapon. “Creating narratives that are engulfed by VFX and CG isn’t always easy”, acknowledges Ryan. “But it’s one of those things that works best when you surround yourself with like-minded people. Find a crew that gives 110%, and keep them by your side. Do that, and you’re guaranteed to deliver greatness”.view more - People
Genres: Visual VFX, PeopleAmpersand, Thu, 02 Mar 2023 08:19:55 GMT