Describe the company you work for
Cinesite is an independent studio offering services in visual effects for film, streamers and television, in recent years the company has expanded to include feature animation. We’re headquartered in London where I’m based, but we have studios in Montreal and Vancouver alongside VFX brands Image Engine and TRIXTER, within the Cinesite group.
What’s your job title?
What does that involve?
On a daily basis I draw upon all my past experience to ensure things run smoothly and keep the teams creative momentum going throughout the project.
How long have you been working in VFX?
23 years now!
Why did you want to work in VFX?
I stumbled into it. I was too naive to realise VFX could actually be a paying job.
How did you get into VFX?
I saw and article in a computer magazine about a Computer Graphics University course in Sweden. I applied and was accepted and have only occasionally looked back.
What did you study?
I did art at High School and Computer Graphics at University.
Did a particular film inspire you?
I suppose I’m meant to say Star Wars here but what actually got me hooked was reading magazine articles about films using CG in the early ‘90s. T2, Death Becomes Her, Beauty and the Beast to name a few made me want to explore 3D.
What are you favourite and least favourite parts of the job?
When the production is underway it’s great when things run smoothly, and the result is something to be proud of. I really don’t enjoy when the opposite happens!
What have you worked on recently / are working on at the moment?
Most recently Jack Ryan season 2. It’s a little too early to reveal my current project, but it’s an upcoming American epic fantasy series.
What project are you most proud of?
I’m very proud of what we achieved in vfx on Lone Survivor. It was constrained and restricted in many ways, so we didn’t have the resources to create all the vfx in a computer which forced us to think of solutions that included renting a camera and filming our own plates. It took close collaboration between production, editorial and vfx to get to the finish line.
What VFX tools to you use day to day and why?
I constantly use Ftrack and RV to stay on top of scans, edits, dailies and all sorts of information on the show. For client calls cinesync, skype and google hangout. Maya and Nuke are useful sometimes to mock up things. Darktable for organising stills. PTGui for stitching. Foxit PDF for reading scripts and various mobile apps that syncs to keep notes and thoughts accessible everywhere.
What’s the most significant change you’ve witnessed in the industry since you started working in it?
There was a big change in the early 2000’s when the software we were using started to be available on non-specialised hardware. It made it a lot more accessible for schools and individuals and the industry grew quite rapidly. In more recent years the client landscape has changed with the streaming services turning into studios by creating their own content.
Who or what has most influenced your career and why?
Going on set from very early on in my career taught me a lot of things you don’t necessarily learn in a post facility. One good lesson is that no one likes surprises!
What’s your preferred social media platform and why?
I’m not a huge consumer of social media but use LinkedIn for keeping in touch with people I’ve worked with and Facebook for friends.
What show/exhibition/film has most inspired you recently?
I’m getting into learning new, seemingly unrelated to VFX things and am finding that most of it can be applied. My personal view is that the most successful visual effects professionals in my sphere are not obsessed with software or the technology itself, but are more interested in using or finding the tools to create the imagery or tell the story that’s in their heads.
Tell us one thing about yourself that most people won’t know.
I took the RYA Sea Survival course last weekend so if anyone is crewing for their yacht I can be of use!