We would like to officially welcome the latest member to the London Escape Studios team.
It turns out that our escapees are never prouder than when they are wearing an ‘escapee’ T-Shirt, as you can see in this photo of Mentored VFX Course student Ricardo Vianna. Whenever I’m out and about in Soho, I’m always surprised by how many escapees stop to tell me that they continue to wear their T-Shirt, even after we have placed them in jobs. Some have mentioned that they’ve even taken them on holiday. All of our Classroom and Mentored Course students get a T-Shirt and they are becoming a bit of a phenomenon – well, put it this way, it’s very easy to spot our graduates when out and about in the industry. It turns out that one of our students has a picture of herself standing outside the pyramids with it on! (Picture coming soon…).
CG Whiz 2011 has been open for entries for over a week now, and we’re already seeing lots of great work coming in. We know a lot of you will be hard at work on your showreels, so to give you some insight into what the judges will be looking for in the amateur category, we caught up with Lee Danskin, our Training Director and a CG Whiz judge since the competition started two years ago.
One foggy day in London town, a gaggle of our compositing students congregated for coffee at Oxford Circus.
The UK has a flourishing VFX industry that is attracting business from all over the world. In terms of film production in this country, we’re securing huge business. The standard of work being produced here is world class, and it’s impressive to see how this industry is flourishing right across the United Kingdom. For those of us who work in London, sometimes we risk embracing the city as being the centre of the universe, paying far too much attention to what’s going on locally, rather than what’s happening countrywide. Granted Soho is a hub for post-production, but if we were to look beyond the M25 and further North, East or West, we would find an amazing number of talented companies working on some fantastic projects.
Shapes In Motion was founded in 2010 by Sarah Perry who is not just an actor but an acting and movement coach. Having met Sarah recently at Escape Studios I wanted to tell you more about the interesting coaching work she does with animators. Sarah has been working in the visual effects industry in various tutoring/coaching capacities on a freelance basis since 2008, with recent clients including MPC and Double Negative.
Everyone likes to make a saving where they can, that's why we offer all students paying their full course fee's three months in advance, an early-bird discount of £500.
Some of you may have seen a series posts from students' 'coaching diaries' on our blog recently. For those of you who don't know, some of our students studying our classroom courses are being coached by the industry's biggest post houses; The Mill, Double Negative and Framestore. This week, compositing student Clement Roland shares his experience with us.
It’s such a great feeling when you attend a packed out event and the people pouring in turn out to be our former students. And that’s exactly what happened a couple nights ago. I attended a PFTrack event organised by our Technology Team, and it was a storming success. The room was packed with over 50 people – all craning their necks to get a better view of the speaker.
Lots of the attendees at the event were escapees who we didn’t just train but placed in their current jobs. It was great to catch up with Jacob Flint who studied our VFX Course last year and so refreshing to hear that he’s just as excited about working at The Mill today, as he was when we first placed him there. That’s a pretty rare thing these days.
Job satisfaction is massively important, and if you are not entirely happy with what you are doing, then I would encourage you to ‘shop around’ and find out what’s out there. Doing so doesn’t have to be that taxing either. If you follow us on twitter or use our RSS feed you’ll be first to hear about new jobs, daily. Because we work with nearly all of the major names in the industry, most of the jobs that are out there come through us.
So, if you’re stuck in a rut, or just fancy a change, we might just have the right thing for you.
A few weeks back we told you about our classroom courses being coached by the Industry. One of our students, Alexander Kubinyi, told us about his experience at Double Negative and what it was like to have your reel critiqued by Alex ‘The baron’ Wuttke. This week, we catch up with another escapee who is studying our Compositing Professional Course and is being coached by The Mill. Here’s a snippet from Mary Lapena’s coaching diary.
A while back we told you all about our new ‘Industry Coaching’ scheme which some of our classroom students are fortunate to be part of. For those of you who don’t know, this basically means that some of the major post houses act as mentors for our students throughout the 12 or 18 weeks of classroom study that they embark on when they study with us in London. This means that they get professional feedback and expert industry advice relevant to the field they are going to work in. It’s no surprise to hear that our students are absolutely delighted with it. All of them are they working extra hard to impress but more importantly, they are getting front-line expertise. We caught up with escapee Alexander Kubinyi who told us what the experience was like in his own words.
I don’t think anyone was too surprised by last night’s BAFTAs. Personally, I was really pleased to see Inception win the Special Visual Effects award. With the hardware becoming more powerful, the software more sophisticated and the work ever more creative, as an industry the bar is set incredibly high, and it’s always great to see how people are constantly pushing the boundaries of what’s possible. It’s even more impressive when you consider who else was nominated.
Currently wowing audiences everywhere, and hot off the back of its Oscar nominations, Danny Boyle’s latest film 127 Hours is something we’ve been keeping a particular close eye on. Obviously we’re fans of Mr Boyle’s work (personally, I can’t wait to see the Olympic opening ceremony), but in this case we’re more interested in a small team of people working behind the scenes.
Roy Trosh (Head of Technology at The Mill) must be feeling pretty proud of his son James, Television Production student at Bournemouth University. He's the first person in the UK to attach a Go camera to a helium weather balloon and...a toy Robot! The project was initiated as part of a music video but produced some amazing footage of the earth’s curvature, the best bit is that it's being screened on tube station platforms as part of ‘Smile for London’; a campaign to brighten up the commuter's journey to work. James explains: “We attached the rocket and robot to a helium filled weather balloon with a GPS unit and mini HD camera to track and film the flight. The balloon then popped and fell down to earth with a parachute, where we found the robot and camera 11 miles away in a farmer's field.”
We're never prouder than when our escapees get the recognition they deserve. This usually comes in the form of a first job with a top post house or commendation from the professional community for a perfectly executed shot, so when we found out that some of our escapees made it to the Autodesk 2010 Education showreel, we were beaming.
Yesterday, Pixar announced an unprecedented price drop in their flagship product RenderMan® Pro Server. The 40% reduction will allow studios and freelancers that were previously unable to buy into the technology, to get a slice of the Film / VFX industry standard renderer. With the global CG expansion, Pixar appreciate that the growth of renderfarms is real and happening now, this move allows existing customers to ramp up their rendering capabilities in a more cost effective manner whilst allowing smaller shops and freelancers access to the toolset.
All of us on the RenderMan team were delighted to hear that so many of you found Lee Danskin's RenderMan tips and Trick's webinar so useful. There were a lot of questions at the end, some of which Lee did not get a chance to answer so we have put them in a Q&A which you can check out by logging into Escape's Free Resource Centre. We've also recorded the webinar, so if you missed it or want to see it again, log in and watch it.
I spent of lot of my time helping escapees find their first job. As part of this is, I maintain a network of contacts to help students get their foot in the door. We all know how important it is to know the right people and belong to the right network - something that not every student does enough of, but could help them land their dream job.