The Cinefex Illusionists - Andrew Whitehurst
Cinefex Illusionists Andrew Whitehurst 1024x576.jpg

Open our 40th anniversary edition, Cinefex 169, and you'll find The Illusionists, a huge panel where 21 Oscar-winning visual effects discuss past, present, and future cinematic illusions. We recorded over 14 hours of interview material for the article, and part of it inevitably ended up on the floor of the editing room. In this series of short blogs, we're excited to share some of our favorite outtakes. To read the full round table, get your copy of Cinefex 169.

CINEFEX – Where?
Does your journey start with visual effects?

ANDREW WHITEHURST –
There was a scientific documentary series on the BBC called Horizon. You had an episode that must have just aired
after Indiana Jones and the Temple of
Doom came out because it was mainly what it covered – although it did
have some Star Wars stuff in there. It
was a 40-50 minute documentary on how all of these visual effects were achieved.

CINEFEX – was that?
the one titled How to film the impossible?

ANDREW WHITEHURST –
That is the one. I
saw it again on YouTube a few years ago. I was still amazed
the work and the magic of it because it's just beautiful. I look at it again.
I still had the feeling, "Wow, that's just incredible."

CINEFEX – So that
Documentary seeded?

ANDREW WHITEHURST –
Yes. Up until that point, I never really thought of what I was
Seeing it on a screen was a creation of everything. I don't think I've ever thought of making films
Turned on sets, let alone something as specific as visual effects. But I would always do it
liked to make models, so the idea that these people make models at ILM who
looked like tiny versions of bigger things and shoot with them
converted Nikon SLRs or the idea that you could create an entire prospect
Having an incredibly experienced artist paint something on glass – that was all
just magical for me. From then on, I have
was just starting to become obsessed. When I was ten or eleven, I started reading "making of" books, especially anything related to Star Wars. I still did it
that when I started going to art college.

CINEFEX – You said
You used to like to make models, but your career with visual effects played out
Mostly in the digital field, most recently with films like Ex Machina and Annihilation.

ANDREW WHITEHURST –
Professionally, I built a model and painted a matte picture, both for a pilot
for something that never happened. That was just when I graduated. This is the only practical work I have ever done
personally, although I have worked on projects that use miniatures.

CINEFEX – do that
Practical skills shape your approach to digital work?

ANDREW WHITEHURST –
They do it, but only as much as I do
interested in taking beautiful pictures with non-standard techniques –
in other words, don't make it full size
adjust and shoot. I like doing that too, but I also like the magic of
construct something that, when you look at it, you think it's something else.

CINEFEX – So you are more interested in the final illusion than in
the means to produce it?

ANDREW WHITEHURST –
For me it's all about the final picture. At college,
whether I painted with a brush on a piece of board or with one
Mouse on an Amiga, it didn't really matter. I was more interested in how to do it
Image made me feel. What this picture did to other people when they looked at it.
The actual technology in and of itself has never been so important
me.

Cinefex is bimonthly
Magazine for visual film effects. It's been that way since 1980
Bible for effects professionals and enthusiasts who cover the field like no other
Publication. Richly illustrated in color, with detailed articles and
Cinefex offers a fascinating look at the technologies and interviews
Techniques behind many of our most popular and enduring films.

Cinefex 169 - The Illusionists

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