L i gh t and magic

Europe’s premier vis­ual ef­fects event, Es­cape Studios’ VFX Fes­ti­val, is ready to take over Lon­don

SFX: The Sci-Fi and Fantasy Magazine - - Event Horizon -

Founded by Es­cape Studios – Europe’s lead­ing vis­ual ef­fects academy – the VFX fes­ti­val has be­come a high­light of the spe­cial ef­fects cal­en­dar. Across three days, it will ex­plore a myr­iad of themes, with guests from big- name studios such as The Mill, MPC and ILM. We spoke to Es­cape’s Dom Daven­port to find out more about the event...

Aug­mented and vir­tual re­al­ity are hot top­ics of dis­cus­sion this year. Are these the fu­ture of vis­ual ef­fects?

We’re still very much at the be­gin­ning of a jour­ney to ex­plore how these tech­nolo­gies can ex­tend the reach of me­dia and en­hance pre- ex­ist­ing entertainment. The gamechanger will be when the tech is avail­able to ev­ery­one through their smart de­vices.

Day two is all about movies such as The Mar­tian. Is Hol­ly­wood still on the cut­ting edge of ef­fects, or has that moved to games?

The Mar­tian is def­i­nitely at the cut­ting edge of seam­less, photo real and in­vis­i­ble ef­fects. Con­jur­ing up a world we can only still re­ally imag­ine is a feat in it­self, game en­gines are catch­ing up, but the sheer level of de­tail can only re­ally ex­ist in pre­ren­dered con­tent.

There’s a heavy fo­cus on re­cruit­ment. Is ef­fects a tough in­dus­try to en­ter?

Re­cruit­ment has shifted away from just purely tech­ni­cal or artis­tic skills. Now the in­dus­try needs peo­ple who have what would pre­vi­ously have been seen as soft skills. Peo­ple who are good at work­ing in groups and with clients, or who have an en­tre­pre­neur­ial spirit and are good at spot­ting op­por­tu­ni­ties or gen­er­at­ing IP. It is com­pet­i­tive, but if you have the right ex­pe­ri­ences dur­ing your ed­u­ca­tion it is a ful­fill­ing, cre­ative and au­then­tic ca­reer choice.

What are you most look­ing for­ward to at the fes­ti­val?

I’m host­ing a panel on day three about how we could reimag­ine the cur­rent ed­u­ca­tion sys­tem to foster and nur­ture cre­ativ­ity, in­no­va­tion and an en­tre­pre­neur­ial spirit. We have great guests in­clud­ing Ian Liv­ing­stone, co- founder of Games Work­shop and Ei­dos, and Alex Hope, co- founder of Os­car win­ning VFX com­pany, Dou­ble Neg­a­tive. I’m re­ally look­ing for­ward to hear­ing what they have to say.

The VFX Fes­ti­val, cre­ated by Es­cape Studios, will run from 23- 25 Fe­bru­ary at The O2, Lon­don. www.thevfxfes­ti­val.com

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