What are the benefits of one team taking care of colour grading, online, and VFX?
TM: Communication. At all points of the finishing process there is an efficient dialogue between the team. We have great working relationships at Cheat, so when it comes to enhancing a project we get the job done by breaking down the process leading to maximum results. For example some detail selective colour work is best and more quickly handled with the Flame’s tool set, then any work I do the colourist can still be on hand to sign off. It’s always a joy to be working in cooperation with everyone here.
“One spec of dust on a floor might not amount to much, but once you’ve blitzed a hundred of them it’s amazing how the image is lifted.”
How can what you do in your role as online editor elevate a brands message or impact?
TM: A lot of brand work is enhancing the product and the world it’s been set in. This always means massive attention to beauty work and cleanup. This is where an almost obsessional attention for detail really helps. One spec of dust on a floor might not amount to much, but once you’ve blitzed a hundred of them it’s amazing how the image is lifted. Alternatively it could be getting extra shine into hair or removing an unsightly building. Sometimes it’s hard to know when to stop (this is where deadlines are helpful), but in the end it’s all about enhancing the shot and eliminating anything that distracts from the narrative.
Above: Still from ‘This Is Going To Hurt’. Online edit by Tim.
Which brands have you created VFX for, and which do you aspire to work with?
TM: I’ve been lucky enough to work on TVC campaigns for some amazing brands, Coca-cola, Apple, GM, L’Oréal, Adidas, Jaguar, Vodafone to name a few. All bring their own sense of aesthetic, but the common ground is the high production value they rightly demand. I especially like the challenges of automotive projects, the perfect surfaces and detailed reflections in the aspirational world the vehicles inhabit. One day I’ll get to work on a Lamborghini ad, including the essential on-set VFX supervision!
What’s the most useful piece of tech or tool you use? What challenge(s) does it help you overcome?
TM: Always it’s the big improvements in Flame that impress the most and add up to a slight feeling of invincibility. Almost all bases are covered in dealing with every VFX or workflow challenge. More recent enhancements that I keep coming back to are the beauty work tools and the intuitive motion warp and 3D tracking. If the tracking is locked down everything is possible!
Which VFX project you’ve worked on are you most proud of and why?
TM: Recently it has to be last year’s George at Asda’s “Arrive Like You Mean It” TVC. It’s a great example of a successful contemporary campaign that had strong viral breakthrough with its target audience. Though its kicking soundtrack and its wonderful youthful cast stole the show, it was quite VFX heavy which was nicely integrated into the spot, all adding to the energy that contributed to its success. I’m very pleased to say it’s been recognised with a Silver at the British Arrows too.
Above: George at ASDA ‘Arrive Like You Mean It’. Online & VFX by Tim
What are the key steps in creating VFX?
TM: A good director’s brief is a helpful start. The scope and the creative vision are good things to discuss. Then to sit down and think about the practicalities of deadlines and resources available. After that good time management is essential so it’s a case of breaking down the requirements of each shot into manageable chunks. Always mindful to avoid getting bogged down on one shot though. It’s all too easy not to know when to stop fettling. No good having one perfectly polished shot if you run out of time to work on the remaining ten!
“I love close collaboration with the creatives on a project. It has been tough over the last couple of years, but to have everyone back in the room on some jobs is a real joy.”
What is your favourite part of your job/a project?
TM: I love close collaboration with the creatives on a project. It has been tough over the last couple of years, but to have everyone back in the room on some jobs is a real joy. There is no more efficient way to communicate the creative direction and energy of a project. So working as a collaborative group sharing the passion for the project is great, however digging into a few geeky technical challenges also feeds my passion for the craft.
Above: Still from The Matrix bullet time sequence
Describe your favorite visual effect from a movie or TV
TM: I remember the jaw-dropping, never seen before visuals of the original Matrix was a seminal moment for me. From the opening raining computer code motion graphics to the bullet time effects, it all added up to dystopian perfection. All the time slice shots I inevitably worked on in its wake have done nothing to dim my enjoyment of the film.