Creative Lives Podcast — Matthew Tinsley on creating VFX for Bond and Jurassic World, and the effects we don’t see
In this week’s podcast, we chat to Matthew Tinsley, a freelance postvis supervisor and compositor for visual effects, based in London. Specialised in feature films, over the past few years, Matthew has worked on titles including the recently released Jurassic World, Paddington and the last three Bond films. Often working out of production houses in Soho, Matthew describes the process, timeline and scale of his projects, as well as the skills involved.
VFX Postvis Supervisor
Universal, Disney, Warner Bros, Eon Productions
Jurassic World 2 - Fallen Kingdom, Mary Poppins Returns, The Commuter, Jason Bourne, Spectre, Paddington, In the Heart of Sea, Skyfall, Edge of Tomorrow, Sherlock Holmes 2, Quantum of Solace, Prince of Persia, Narnia, Warhorse and Vantage Point
BA Media Production, Plymouth University (1999-2002)
Matthew begins by explaining how each new film comes a different set of challenges – describing how much the function of VFX can differ between projects. Together with a full VFX team, their work can range from the creation of central characters – as is the case in Jurassic World – to combining footage to create epic explosions in Bond films. But their remit can also include simple polishes and tweaks to change colours, or remove something in the background.
Studying Media Arts at Plymouth University, Matthew experimented with radio and film production, before focusing on animation. This eventually led to work in live events as a VJ for festivals and parties, becoming the perfect way to showcase his newly found, and largely self-taught, skills.
“Fifty percent of visual effects are what you don’t see; the secret stuff in films where you don’t expect there to be any effects.”
While Matthew admits that getting ahead in the industry commonly relies on a knowledge of your tools and connections, he also notes that it’s not impossible to make it without a formal education, with dedication and persistence. His own break came when he landed a runner role at the Jim Henson Creature Shop, renowned for creating the characters from Sesame Street, The Muppets and Dark Crystal.
As an ever-evolving and expanding global industry, Matthew tells us where VFX is flourishing across the world, and offers his advice for aspiring VFX artists and those hoping to work in feature films. He also shares his tips on why it’s so important to build and maintain good relationships, what makes for an attention-grabbing showreel and the useful document he always sends budding talent.