VFX for fans, VFX for pros: what’s happening at SPARK FX


The Vancouver VFX conference takes place Feb 14-16

Vancouver is one of the global hubs of visual effects. So it’s fitting, then, that one of the best events for VFX is in this city: SPARK FX.

This year is going to be another big couple of days of in-depth presentations on films like Terminator: Dark Fate, Jumanji: The Next Level, Gemini Man and Ford v Ferrari, a special open-source VFX summit, time to meet and greet and, of course, the career fair.

Here’s what you need to know:

Dates: Starts Friday night February 14th (a perfect date night) and ends on Sunday February 16th.

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Location: The Performance Theatre, Roundhouse Community Arts & Recreation Centre, 181 Roundhouse Mews, Vancouver, BC, V6Z 2W3 (super-close to Yaletown-Roundhouse station).

Cost: A Weekend Pass is $100 and provides access to all sessions on Friday, Saturday and Sunday. Individual session tickets are $20 unless otherwise noted. Sunday Day Pass is $50 and provides access to the Sunday sessions only.

Career Fair: It’s on the Saturday 15th February at the same venue (look for the Roundhouse Exhibition Hall). It’s free, but you need to register. Recruiters include: Animal Logic, Cinesite, CVD VFX, DNEG, Framestore, Industrial Light & Magic (ILM), Pixomondo, Rodeo FX, Scanline VFX, Sony Pictures Imageworks, Weta Digital, Zoic Studios and more.

Open source VFX: SPARK FX is partnering with the Academy Software Foundation (ASWF) to dedicate Sunday, 16th February to open source for visual effects. This day is going to include some pretty incredible speakers from industry covering open source, such as Epic Games’ David Morin, Blue Sky Studios’ Hank Driskill and Imageworks’ Larry Gritz.

Opening night: On the Friday, 14th February, a special industry mixer (read: drinks! and appetizers) and an ‘Ask the Supervisors’ session will take place. The panelists include Betsy Paterson, Chris Downs, Freddy Chávez Olmos and Joern Grosshans, moderated by Chris van Dyck. You don’t usually get this kind of access to VFX supes.

Saturday sessions: Saturday, 15th February features some of the biggest films and television projects around, where reps from different studios will dive into how they were made. Here’s a quick overview:

  • Digital Domain on animating realistic characters in VFX (with Jan Philip Cramer & Liz Bernard)
  • Behind the scenes of His Dark Materials with Framestore (with Aulo Licinio & Shawn Hillier)
  • ILM’s VFX for Terminator: Dark Fate (with Aaron Barr, Alex Wang, Georg Kaltenbrunner, Marko Chulev & Wade Wilson
  • Gemini Man: how Weta Digital created digital Will Smith(s) (with Stuart Adcock)
  • Previs and post for Ford v Ferrari (featuring Method Studios and Halon Entertainment)
  • Jumanji: The Next Level, with Imageworks (Craig McPherson & Jason Greenblum will discuss)

So, as you can see, there’s a lot packed into three days – find out more at the website.

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