VFX Festival - Day one

VFX Festival, Ella Cox

Our Social Media Co-Creator Ella Cox joined hundreds of VFX students and enthusiasts on the first day of the VFX Festival with Escape Studios.

I was up bright and early ready to travel to Leicester Square for the Escape Studios VFX Festival. As someone who didn't have a clue as to what VFX was all about, I wasn’t sure what to expect - but it definitely exceeded all expectations!

We arrived at 9:30 and were given wristbands which allowed us access for the whole 3 days - as well as the customary tote bag filled with lots of goodies! We spent half an hour on the Pearson College stand talking to prospective students about our two new degrees launching in 2016 - Visual Effects and Computer Animation.

We went to the first talk of the day - Jan Fiedler from Pixomondo. We started by looking at some of Pixomondos work and seeing how they create car commercials! I was surprised to see that the cars you see in the final advert aren't the cars they actually film with! Up next was Game of Thrones! How cool must it be to say that you are paid to create dragons as your job?! Unlike most series, a lot of their effects are real with the VFX just being there to enhance it. Any scene that contains a boat is actually filmed in a car park in front of a green screen! The dragons themselves grow each season, so have to appear to be more powerful and darker each series. The first 2 seasons dragons were actually based on pigeon skeletons! They used a dead chicken to work out the specific and correct movement to ensure these mythical creatures were as realistic as possible! This talk left me in awe of what these people do on a day to day basis! I can’t wait to see what magic they've created in Season 5!

After a quick break, we were back in the screen again, this time to listen to Lee Danskin from Escape Tech who was talking to us about what VFX actually is! This talk was aimed at people who wanted to get into the industry after graduation, and although this isn't what I am planning on doing, I learnt a lot about the people who are in the industry! For example, there are hardly any contracted positions in a production company and you are very likely to be put in a temporary position! This means that you have to prove yourself!

Something that I can really take away from this talk was the fact you need to be able to accept criticism of your own work! Of course you think its brilliant! You spent all night working on it and wouldn't have wasted the time if you didn't think it was any good! But you need to remember that a fresh pair of eyes can see things you are choosing to ignore! With any work - whether it be VFX or something different - always ask for feedback and don't ignore the criticisms you’re given! They will only make your work better!

We then had time to explore the other stalls and see what other people were offering! We went and spoke to a man from Atticus Digital who let us have a play with the Oculus Rift! That was a weird experience. This virtual device made it seem like we were windsurfing by the beach and was very believable! I was quite disappointed when I took it off and realised I was in fact still in the Vue Cinema in Leicester Square! I can’t wait to see what this device will translate to in the future!

Overall, this experience was one that I would strongly recommend to anyone who is looking to have a career in VFX! If you missed the festival you can look at the hashtag #VFXfestival on twitter to see our live updates from the day!