News 27.01.21

GATHERING THE FORCES: ILM’S SYDNEY STUDIO BRINGS IN GLOBAL EXPERTISE TO HIRE AND TRAIN LOCAL TALENT FOR STAGECRAFT EXPANSION



Industrial Light & Magic, the iconic visual effects company, has been busy gathering a world-class team for their fourth large-scale custom-built StageCraft volume at Fox Studios Australia.

The end-to-end virtual production solution will be used for Marvel’s highly anticipated feature Thor: Love and Thunder, directed by Taika Waititi. 

During the hiring process, the global ILM team has supported the building of the StageCraft LED volume in Sydney as well as mentoring the local talent hired for the shoot. The locally acquired skills will stay at ILM Sydney and be used in future StageCraft projects.

Lara Hopkins is Senior Manager, Talent Management at ILM’s Sydney studio and has worked closely with Virtual Production Supervisor Rod Fransham during the hiring process.

Fransham has worked in VP for ILM since 2014, looking after Performance Capture, Facial Capture, and Virtual Production needs for shows like Space Jam, Jurassic World and the Star Wars and Marvel franchise films as well as contributing to the development of much of this technology in conjunction with ILM Research and Development and ILMxLAB.

“Rod and I have been focusing on crewing up the strongest team possible: from internal VFX artists to hiring people from areas outside of traditional VFX roles. There has been a strong focus on diversity and finding people with the right temperament to work in a high-pressure live-action environment. The team is a unique blend of VFX artists, live action crew and engineering expertise. At the end of the project we will have a trained team ready to go for future projects,” Hopkins said.

“We’ve had guidance from the global stage team to make sure that the local Virtual Production knowledge is of the highest caliber and to ensure the success of the first StageCraft project in the Southern Hemisphere.”

Lara Hopkins, Senior Manager, Talent Management, ILM

For Fransham, building the team was a matter of looking for people with varied backgrounds with enough crossover knowledge between them to fit together into this new VP space. Enthusiasm, a love of filmmaking and a thirst for knowledge have been common denominators amongst the successful candidates. “Building the team in Sydney was a delight. The quality of candidates was incredibly high and we had a hard time choosing between them. I think people here have a passion for doing new and crazy things and that fits right into the spirit of ILM,” says Fransham. 

Fransham is convinced that ILM’s StageCraft technology will change the future of filmmaking in Australia: “I think when studios see the possibilities in the technology and get a chance to experience the versatility and freedom that working this way provides, there will be no stopping it,” he says. 

Sydney StageCraft team

Luke Hetherington, ILM Executive in Charge, Singapore and Sydney Studios is equally optimistic about the impact of StageCraft on filmmaking in Australia. “The opportunity to set StageCraft up right on the doorstep of ILM’s Sydney studio was incredibly exciting. StageCraft is a great example of ILM innovating to help filmmakers tell their stories in new ways, and building that knowledge and those skills right here in Sydney is amazing.”

Industrial Light & Magic’s investment in local talent and focus on diversity is also reflected in the company’s long-standing Jedi Academy training program which kicks off in Sydney in February and offers paid apprenticeships with seasoned ILM Supervisors and Producers.  

Head over to ILM’s YouTube channel to see their skills in action!

Find out more about:

Luke Hetherington
Executive in Charge, Singapore & Sydney ILM Studios
[email protected]