By NAOMI GOLDMAN
The award-winning definitive authority on all things visual effects in the world of film, TV, gaming, virtual reality, commercials, theme parks, and other new media.
Winner of three prestigious Folio Awards for excellence in publishing.
By NAOMI GOLDMAN
The VES’s international presence gets stronger every year – and so much of that is because of our regional VFX communities and all that they do to advance the Society and bring members together. While most VES sections are concentrated in centers like Vancouver, Toronto or London, the principal German companies are spread out over the country in Munich, Stuttgart and Berlin, with a lesser presence in Cologne and Frankfurt, as well as smaller scattered pockets. Because of that decentralization, there is a strong desire for community, and the VES Germany Section is bringing industry professionals together. Now five years strong, VES Germany is thriving with 180+ members from throughout the region.
VES Germany Chair Christina Caspers-Römer offers perspective on the state of the local VFX industry: “During the past two years, the German VFX houses have – even more than before – adjusted and got involved in remote work. As a result, teams have grown and international collaborations have been strengthened. Ultimately, the industry is currently booming – whether it’s feature film, episodic, commercial, art project or industrial film. The film industry – and VFX with all its facets – is catching up with many projects that had to be postponed due to COVID restrictions.
“The downside of the current boom in the industry, as is also the case worldwide, is that there are too few artists coming into the market to carry out the shows. In addition, new innovations are emerging, such as virtual production, for which there is still no truly recognized training or study program. To address that need, our Section’s Education Committee is working on a mentorship approach for young talents and on promoting the exchange between senior artists and newcomers. Together with the universities, companies and artists are working on adapting the existing training even more so to everyday working life.”
The Section Board of Managers is proud of its diverse, talented membership. Most VES Germany members work in classic VFX for feature films and episodics. But as the industry is opening up more and more, career options are also expanding, and the Section boasts freelancers who switch between feature film, commercial, virtual production and gaming.
During the pandemic, Sections adapted with great creativity, delivering compelling online experiences and content to replace live events. Programs included virtual happy hours, educational programs, networking opportunities and screenings. VES Germany was one of the first to put forth a comprehensive COVID-19 preparedness resource page for members with financial aid resources, work from home tips and industry news.
One signature program is the VES Megabrain Masterclass, which already existed before the pandemic and was continued and expanded by the Board during it. At least twice a year, experts from different subject areas provide educational presentations and take live Q&A. The Megabrain Masterclasses recordings are also available to all members on the VES website to extend the professional development benefits.
In April, VES Germany held its Masterclass Volume 5, featuring Jonas Kluger (das element), Kevin Campbell (Pipeline Supervisor at DNEG) and Ben Radcliff (Solutions Engineer at Unity Technologies). Megabrain Volume 6 was held in late September. VES Germany also created branded COVID facemasks and held regular virtual town hall meetings for all members.
This past Summer, the Section held BBQ events for current and prospective members in Munich, Stuttgart and Berlin, resumed social Section Hangout events, and when COVID restrictions allowed it, started hosting film screenings again. Since the first screening coincided with the beginning of the war of aggression in Ukraine, the Section donated money to a hospital there.
“Moving forward, our Section Board of Managers has a number of priority goals,” said Caspers-Römer. “We want to provide more networking opportunities and encourage ongoing interaction and relationship-building. We will support our members in having and keeping an overview of current industry standards and new developments through educational events and life-long-learning, including new technologies and emerging markets. We established mental health and educational committees, and are adapting information and resources to the German industry’s needs. And we would like to collaborate with the other European sections, to share opportunities and challenges as well as deepen our global community.”
In nearing the end of VES’ milestone 25th anniversary, Caspers- Römer reflected on what makes the VES so special and why she is a proud member of this community. “The VES is the only nonprofit professional honorary society where exchange between all levels and types of professionals within the VFX industry can take place. During VES events, we have the chance to learn about new technologies, workflows and approaches within the industry from people all over the world. It’s a very supportive culture, which cannot be found anywhere else. With the support of the VES, we’re looking forward to taking our creative, high-tech work with the values of our time even further.”
“The VES is the only nonprofit professional honorary society where exchange between all levels and types of professionals within the VFX industry can take place. During VES events, we have the chance to learn about new technologies, workflows and approaches within the industry from people all over the world.”
—Christina Caspers-Römer, Chair, VES Germany