VFXwire had a chat with Scott Chambers about his newly started VFX Company 808 based in Wellington, New Zealand.

– Can you tell us a bit about yourself and your background?

I’m Scott Chambers, New Zealand native, lucky to call Wellington my home town. I’ve always been into movie making, ILM’s work on scifi/fantasty in the optical days in the 70s and 80s really engaged my imagination as a kid, I was obsessed with finding out how the VFX was done. After finishing film school, I went on to do a variety of industry jobs that gave me a valuable all round experience. From news graphics, to location camera operating, to editing assist, to finally landing on projectionist – these jobs were all part of my early years. Being a projectionist had me then segue into showing film for VFX dailies, firstly at Weta, then over in the UK, initially for Jim Henson’s Creature Shop. Whilst doing that I became obsessed with compositing and learnt all I could after hours – to then continue on a career in London, working for all the top shops making my way up to a senior compositor level. Then it was back to NZ, via Sydney and Vancouver for short stints. I spent 13 years at Weta, working my way up to a Compositing Supervisor then the VFX Sequence Supervisor role.

– What is 808 and why did you decide to start the company?

808 is a boutique VFXs studio that specialises in compositing and collaborates with both local and international clients. 

The decision to start 808 came from what I could see was a crossroad in my career – I felt like I either keep going like I am until retirement or now is the right time to jump to starting a studio. For me, the world-leading VFX studios were getting bigger and bigger and further away from my beginnings in the industry which I enjoyed best. The teams were smaller, it was more of a ‘let’s work together to get this done’ culture – passionate groups of people from all around the world that work extremely hard, self-directed and above all, cared for each other. 

This is what I’ve been searching for, a form of rebirth.

– What is the vision for the company?

I believe it’s imperative we don’t fall back into the status quo of running a VFX studio like they always have been, it’s a prime opportunity to make change that shouldn’t go to waste. We’re putting principles and people up first – and making the business work around that. First principle, zero to low overtime – with good planning and the possibility to have the somewhat uncomfortable task to turn down work that had the potential to encroach on that first principle. 808 is heavily interested in training and growing the next generation of visual effects artists – from all walks of life, it’s about passion, dedication, willingness to learn and quite frankly, just being a nice person – those are the key traits we’re most interested in. There will be no artificial limits to growth, we will only be bound to what our clients allow us to do, and I believe we will gain trust, experience and growth with being able to make fantastic relationships that enable us volume and scope. 

– What kind of work are you specializing in?

We are primarily a Nuke compositing shop, that’s our core strength – from the ‘bread and butter’ work all the way up to lookdev, tricky keys and even supplied CG integration. The majority of our work, I would say 85% at a guess, originates internationally with the rest made up of local features, long-form and commercials. Along with providing CG via trusted partners now, we are actively building a CG pipeline in the background and in the next phase of growth we’ll be offering FX, hard surface environments/DMP capabilities in-house. We use Shotgrid as our backbone to tie in our platform, render wall, and authentication.

– Where do you see 808 in 5 years from now?

808 in five years time will hopefully have a core team that has grown up with the company, along with almost constant focus on new to the industry recruits. We hope to have by that stage a wonderful slate of repeat clients and work that enables us to provide exponentially increasing value to our customers. By then we should be on our way to start positioning ourselves as a full-service shop, with CG, FX, Anim and Compositing offered. The measure of success will be how we treat and how the crew feel – and if we’ve managed to retain from the early days, this will be a testament of that. 

See more about 808 here.

Allan Torp Jensen
Author: Allan Torp Jensen

Allan has worked on visual effects for feature films and television for 20 years. He has experience of the full VFX pipeline but has focused on compositing for the past 15 years and has been a Lead Compositor and Compositing Supervisor on various shows. He has worked with the talented people at Cinesite, Bluebolt VFX, Automatik VFX in London, and Weta Digital in New Zealand. For the past five years, he has worked remotely at his own Torper Studio on various high-end TV and feature film projects.