Last Wednesday, Escape Studios had the honour of having Christian Manz, VFX Supervisor at Framestore come into our studios and talk to our students about life in the industry. Christian discussed the bits about the job that are great (Like getting to see your name up on the big screen after arduous months of working on a project) and the bits which aren’t quite so good (Like the long hours). It wasn’t just our students who enjoyed it, we loved it too. Christian’s thirteen year career has been an epic one and his latest contribution to the industry as VFX Supervisor on the latest HP7 is particularly impressive. We spoke to Christian about the highs and lows of his career so far, and what it feels like to have been part of one of the biggest films of our recent times.
1. What made you want a career in VFX?
I grew up watching films like Star Wars and Television shows such as Doctor Who and was always fascinated by the effects. After leaving university with my Illustration degree I thought I'd try and get into the industry and got a running job at Framestore.
2. You were the VFX supervisor on 'Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows - Part 1 - how does it feel to take your part in history?
I was a junior compositor on the first film so it's nice to bookend that with being the VFX Supervisor on the last ones. It's a great feeling having my name on a film series which I'm sure will become a classic in years to come, I mean it’s already a phenomena around the globe!
3. The VFX shots in the film are awesome - what were the most complex?
Dobby and Kreacher were the most complex effects we completed. They are essentially CG humans so we knew both the animation and shading work would have to stand up to very close inspection. We worked on the characters for sixteen months and had the time to work them to standard that I think has raised the bar for CG creatures.
4. How much direction is given to VFX supervisors and were you able to cast some creativity into the shots?
Tim Burke, the production's VFX Supervisor, is very collaborative and we built up a great relationship with him during post production. Therefore I had a lot of input into the final shots with the other senior members of my team in terms of the final look of the characters, their performance and integration into the final shots.
5. Do you think that the VFX shots add to the magic of the film?
Undoubtedly! The VFX bring the many magical elements of JK Rowlings books to life as well as adding grand scale to the sets and environments.