We talk work-life balance, creativity and UK Film Tax Credits with Dupe VFX

Dupe VFX are an ambitious visual effects company in the heart of Hackney, creating beautiful moving images for film & television. They value design, strong communication and ensuring they have an environment that encourages those values to thrive both within their team and with clients. One factor of that dynamic their our workspace. Located in a beautiful converted warehouse overlooking Regent’s Canal, Dupe’s spacious and light-filled offices are perfect for getting the creative juices flowing. As the company grows Dan and Jono are dedicated to investing in their staff and set up in order to better deliver excellent looking work.

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We spoke to WardWilliam Creative clients Dan Marbrook and Jono Harris from Dupe VFX about their story and what makes their industry great.

Who are Dupe VFX? 

Dupe is a VFX company specialising in Feature Film and High-end TV drama with a strong focus on work-life balance – not a popular turn of phrase in our industry. By visual effects, we mean adjusting the final image of productions by either removing or adding elements essential to the story or technical delivery of the content.

What’s the story of how Dupe VFX came to be?

Dupe exited Squint Opera group six months ago where we were Squint VFX. Same team, but now we are completely independent to make our own decisions across the board. We’re slowly gaining traction with some top industry creatives and executives.

We started out at Squint Opera in 2015 to improve their technical pipeline and at the same time approach traditional film and TV clients. Whilst we worked on some great projects both companies felt targets had not been achieved and we came to a good agreement for all to go our separate ways. We’re now at our new offices in Dalston and we’re so excited to be there and plough our own path. It’s proving to be a great decision so far.

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Are there any projects you are particularly proud of?

We have just delivered 180 shots with some partners in Scotland on the Netflix move Outlaw King. We also worked with Gareth Evens on Apostle which releases on Netflix in October. Check out the opening shot of the train! We are also the sole vendor on a Netflix comedy/drama based in the UK. Its 8 hours of content at 4K HDR. Genuinely fun and very watchable. There is lots more in the pipeline but not much I can talk about right now!

What’s the best thing about your industry?

Our team followed by our clients. We’re also planning to be a different kind of company via B Corp certification. We get to watch stuff and play around with images for a living. What’s not to like?

What is a typical day at Dupe – if there is such a thing?

We can constantly be at varying stages of a project from winning the business, supervising shots on set, to delivering final shots to the client. There could be 6/7 projects running at once so it’s pretty fast-paced. Client attention and quality are paramount for us so we spend a lot of time ensuring quality is feature film standard. We cannot achieve this without a top team so we’re also very employee and partner focused. We’re in the process of a B corp application which will focus heavily on our social, as well as professional, impact.

Our business is nothing without our team and we’ll routinely organise meetings to discuss the future and how satisfied we all are.

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How have WardWilliams Creative helped in your journey?

You guys are like the invisible comfort blanket. We don’t have time to worry about a lot of the advice we get from WWC so we have to have absolute trust in your advice and decision making for our business. Performance is strong which allows us to focus on our creative, which as I say above, is paramount to our success as a business.

UK Tax Credits create unprecedented levels of production

A recently published report has noted the valuable contribution the UK tax relief system brings to creative industries;

“An independent new report published today demonstrates the huge value of the government tax reliefs across the UK’s screen industries, seeding unprecedented levels of production, creating thousands of jobs, growing businesses and infrastructure, generating record levels of inward investment, boosting exports of UK productions and services internationally and creating spillover benefits for other industries.”

Has the government’s Film Tax Credits offering had any impact on the VFX industry, or Dupe in particular?

There is no doubt that the UK tax credit for high-end features and TV drama has encouraged inward investment to the UK film and TV industry. Star Wars simply would not post here without them and when the top end of the market is strong it pushes other work to smaller facilities like us. Its so important that the government continue to back our industry so the new OTT platforms continue to invest heavily in our market, from the US in particular.

Productions can save between 20 – 30% of their budget by shooting here. We still have some of the best talent on the planet, particularly in VFX where companies like DNeg and Framestore are industry leaders. Filmmakers love working in the UK and the tax reliefs can only make that more appealing.

WardWilliams Creative Tax Credit advice

If you work in the UK film industry we can advise on whether you would be applicable for tax credit or relief.  Get in touch and book a meeting with your specialist accountant.


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