Meet VFX Supervisor at Bluebolt, Tiago Faria, who talks about his latest projects and how he got started in the VFX Industry.

What’s your job title and what does your role entail?

I’m a VFX supervisor at BlueBolt. My role entails the pre-production and planning of visual effects, supervision of shooting for VFX work and then ensuring the post-production of the project runs smoothly, while keeping direct communication with the director to ensure their vision is translated onto the final image. 

Tell us about BlueBolt.

BlueBolt is a mid-size, independent, London-based studio that creates high-end visual effects for film and television productions like ‘Napoleon’, ‘Mission Impossible: Dead Reckoning Part One’, Amazon’s ‘The Peripheral’, ‘The Last Kingdom’ and ‘The Great’.

What’s it like working there?

It’s great! Because of its smaller size, working at BlueBolt gives the whole team a sense of ownership to our work. Everyone’s opinion matters and easy communication between all departments allows us to feel more like a VFX family rather than a cog in a giant machine. BlueBolt has a strong reputation for delivering outstanding seamless VFX for a range of producers and directors and it’s great to be part of this.

You were BlueBolt’s vfx supervisor on the recent True Detective: Night Country. Tell us more about that. What was your brief?

Night Country was arguably one of my favourite projects to be a part of. The variety of work is what made this one so exciting, from invisible effects, to blown up heads, to artistically driven, borderline surreal locations that allowed us to put our own creative twist to the final look. A big bulk of our work had us building the “Silver Sky mine” populating it with appropriate vehicles and crowd simulations. Working closely with Barney (Curnow, overall VFX Supervisor) and Jan (Guilfoyle, overall VFX Producer) was an honour, amazing direction and clear guidance allowed us to deliver a project I personally am proud of. 

What do you enjoy most about your job?

Problem solving has always been extremely rewarding for me. Being in this position allows me to spend a lot of my time helping solve both creative and technical challenges that may arise. This allows both the artist and me to learn from each other and to me that is always rewarding and my favourite aspect of the job. 

What first inspired you to work in the film/ TV industry? 

A film I watched back in college, “District 9”. I was already interested in making films, but that one specifically made me fall in love with the art of VFX.

What did you study?

I studied digital film in university but a crash course at Escape Studios is what launched my professional career. 

Tell us about your career path. How did you get to where you are now?

Once I left university I felt a bit unprepared for the professional jobs in the industry, I almost gave up, but a course at Escape changed that, “the door opened a little bit and I made sure to kick it wide open”. After a couple of freelance jobs I joined Union VFX where I stayed for many years and grew up to a 2d lead position. Then the BlueBolt opportunity appeared and it was absolutely a step in the right direction and here I am now after three years. Projects I’ve worked on here at BlueBolt recently include ‘True detective: Night Country” as VFX supervisor and ‘Mission Impossible: Dead Reckoning Part One’,  ‘Napoleon’ both as 2D Supervisor.

Who or what has most influenced your career and why? 

Simon Hughes, a VFX Supervisor of mine for many years. I mentioned earlier how “District 9” made me fall in love with VFX. Simon was a big part of that movie and won awards for it. A lot of what I have learnt in VFX I owe to Simon, he has taught me more than anyone else in the industry and I will forever be grateful for that. Outside of the VFX world, my wife, who has always pushed me and picked me up, without her support, I wouldn’t be doing what I love almost every day of my life. 

What kinds of projects do you most like to work on? 

Invisible effects/Set extensions, It’s strange, but when people turn around and say “but that has no VFX” I know we did a good job! Establishers are of course the favourites, especially if done with a heavy dmp approach, and these snowy environments on True Detective Night Country definitely take the cookie!

What design and VFX tools do you use on a regular basis?

I mostly use Nuke on a daily basis, though RV is a very close second as I spend more and more time reviewing. I do have a background in 3D so I do like to dive into Blender, Unreal and Maya occasionally. 

What project are you most proud of?

I love the work we did on Napoleon, but True Detective: Night Country has to stand out as a favourite, not only was the work fun but most importantly it felt like a true team effort.

What advice would you give someone just starting out?

Never give up, I know sometimes it can be discouraging when you are starting out, I have been there, I almost gave up. But keep trying and trying and things will eventually fall in place, keep active and try different things, keep relevant with all new tools and trends (it’s a fast-moving industry). When you get your chance to shine make sure you own it and knock it out the park! Also reaching out, more often than not it can seem intimidating but the VFX community is small and we leave no one behind. From my experience, everyone will always take a minute of their day to offer a helping hand! 

What’s next for you?

Next up for me it’s a mini series which we aren’t quite ready to talk about just yet. But it’s a fun one that has a few challenging parts that I am excited to start tackling with the team! 

Take a look at Bluebolt’s work on True Detective below.

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.

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