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007's VFX wizard Steve Begg to receive Vanguard Award for Leadership

17-Mar-2016 • Bond News

The London Section of the Visual Effects Society is hosting the inaugural UK Visual Effects Society Awards celebration on March 17th 2016 to recognise exceptional artistry in the fields of visual effects and filmed entertainment.

Acclaimed visual effects supervisor Steve Begg will receive the Vanguard Award for Leadership and the Advancement of Visual Effects in the UK.

Begg, who is to be honoured for his work on the Bond franchise, told The Independent on Sunday: “I’m obviously flattered to receive the award. I’ve been in the visual effects business for a long time and I’m delighted they have decided to honour me.”

During his three-decade career, said Begg, visual effects “have changed beyond recognition”. As a visual effects supervisor he is involved in a movie from pre-production to delivery of the finished film: “I float around all departments.”

The best CGI practitioners should be regarded as artists, he said. “A lot of people smugly dismiss it as pushing buttons. But to get the best out of all that software you need an artist’s eye – it’s a very creative business.”

The Thunderbirds creator Gerry Anderson gave Begg his big break working on the British TV series Terrahawks in 1984 after he showed Anderson effects he had put together himself. “I got a crash course in practical miniature effects from the master and I still use a lot of those effects today on the Bond films,” he said.

His first big credit as visual effects supervisor was on Lara Croft: Tomb Raider in 2001 and he would later work on Batman Begins as miniature unit supervisor.

Casino Royale (the 2006 version, not the 1967 spoof) was a big moment for Mr Begg. “I became the full scale visual effects supervisor on Casino Royale. What’s great about Bond films are they’re highly practical, with stunts and special effects augmented by visual effects.

“I like to mix the tricks of special and visual effects. I like the best of both worlds” he said. “CGI effects have got so good you can’t tell most of the time, but I like to integrate a real element in there to help the illusion. It can’t look lightweight.”

The increasing reliance on visual effects is neatly illustrated by the Bond movies. In 2006, Casino Royale used about 800 visual effects shots; Spectre, released last year, employed about 1,600.

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