Leire Lizarraga Sanz

What course did you study?

MA Visual Effects Production (Compositing)

What are you working on at the moment?

I am a Junior Compositor at UNIT, a post production company based in Soho. We have worked in some cool projects involving movies, tv series, documentaries, music promos… but mostly, advertising.

I am currently working in a full CG Pepsi commercial, but as I normally work in advertising I have different projects very often. That gives me the chance to keep learning every day, as I have to do different things for the different projects: CG compositing, clean up, roto, keying, beauty… Also, I normally get to work in the shot from the start to the final result, and that is as challenging as it is satisfying.

What work are you most proud of working on and is your most notable achievement?

A couple of months ago I worked in Kiddo, a proof of concept teaser which I am very proud of having worked on. It is a full CG project, except for the actress, so there was a lot of compositing to do! I started in Kiddo when I just got my first job and I feel I grew professionally through the project. I worked mostly in keying - a lot of hair keying!- and thanks to it I learnt a lot of interesting ways of getting a good key.

If you had to sum up your time at Escape Studios in one word, what would it be and why?

People. I met amazing people during my time at Escape. People in my class were great, I made very good friends that also helped me a lot understanding how nuke works, concepts, etc. Teachers, studio assistants and people in general were always willing to help and were very nice to us. We also met some professionals that were really inspiring: people giving talks at Escape, visits to companies, and at some modules we had professionals giving us feedback in our shots.

What lessons have you learnt during your time studying and your time working in VFX?

I’d sum it up to: never think “that’s easy!”, never giving up, and always stay calm. I sometimes got frustrated because I thought something was easy and I was taking a long time to do it, or struggling to come up with a good technique. Things might look simple but can actually take a lot of time to get a good result - also sometimes they look much more complicated than they actually are. So no matter how challenging the shot/assignment looks, don’t give up. And do not panic! That is a very good lesson I learnt. Always check step by step, double check, make sure everything is OK. I even have a ‘compositing song’ that I listen to when I am struggling with a shot: “It’s like collecting frogs in a bucket, but no matter how long it takes, I’ll do it”.

What is your advice for those considering entering the industry?

Well, first of all, the three lessons I said I learnt in Escape -mostly never give up and always stay calm. I really feel that is something you need to keep in mind, because compositing is about patience and attention to detail. Also, you don’t always get the time you’d like because of the deadline, so you have to be fast and efficient. I would also say meeting people is important. Go to talks, events, interviews, don’t be shy. I once had an interview at MPC and the interviewer told me how important meeting people of the industry is. He told me to do as much interviews as I coulda nd not to feel bad if I did not get the job. He said not to give up and keep in touch with the interviewers, sending them updates of my showreel. As for your time at Escape, I would say to the absolute beginners - as I was when I started at Escape- to watch tutorials at home in your free time. The MA is great, but intense, and you will understand everything much better if you spend some extra time at home watching tutorials. Escape offers a good pack of online lessons that are in the same order than the classes.

What's your favourite movie and why?

I have more than one favourite movie, but Interstellar is one of the latest ones. I simply love the VFX of this movie, and the story really connects with me in a personal way. The black hole is very impressive, and the infinite rooms scene is brutal!

 

   

The MA is great, but intense, and you will understand everything much better if you spend some extra time at home watching tutorials. Escape offers a good pack of online lessons that are in the same order than the classes.

Leire Lizarraga Sanz