To create cinematic illusions, you need conjurors. In this series of spotlight interviews, we ask movie magicians what makes them tick.
A compositing supervisor at RISE, Oliver Hohn lists his filmography highlights as Black Panther, Babylon Berlin, The Dark Tower, Doctor Strange and Captain America: Civil War.
OLIVER HOHN: I remember discovering compositing and what it involved back when I was studying media technologies in college. I started out with Cinema 4D, Maya, Shake, Fusion and other compositing tools that were available at the time. Eventually the first version of Nuke 4.5 as well. I began working on music videos, commercials and other similarly-scaled productions. I would also occasionally undertake internships. An earlier memory that I will never forget from this period was a feature that needed wires painted out from a sequence set in an outdoor rainy night location. What a lovely visual effects memory that was.
CINEFEX: What aspect of your job makes you grin from ear to ear?
OLIVER HOHN: The before and after of our work – it always amazes me when it all comes together.
CINEFEX: And what makes you sob uncontrollably?
OLIVER HOHN: Checking edges – especially over and over and over again …
CINEFEX: What’s the most challenging task you’ve ever faced?
OLIVER HOHN: The first Captain America film was challenging in terms of our turnarounds. Intense!
CINEFEX: And what’s the weirdest task?
OLIVER HOHN: When I was working on the last few frames of Captain America and realized that 4:00am had arrived. I was the only one not passed out on a couch.
CINEFEX: What changes have you observed in your field over the years?
OLIVER HOHN: The technology we use daily and the overall increase in how fast new versions and tools are made available. Also noticeable are the amount of visual effects shots per production, regardless of whether it’s a television or feature project. Ten years ago, you would have maybe a handful of visual effects work per project – now even the low budget, smaller productions are able to afford hundreds.
CINEFEX: And what changes would you like to see?
OLIVER HOHN: At the moment, a nice long holiday!
CINEFEX: What advice would you give to someone starting out in the business?
OLIVER HOHN: Work on yourself. Work on your eye. Keep doing shots. Do the stuff you like, over and over. Experience is gold in this business. Do as much as you can and do not be afraid to fail. Experimentation is encouraged.
CINEFEX: If you were to host a mini-festival of your three favorite effects movies, what would you put on the bill, and why?
OLIVER HOHN: Starship Troopers – I think it still looks amazing given the time it came out. I last saw it a few years back and would probably hold the same opinion of it today. Also, Mad Max: Fury Road and Captain America: Winter Soldier.
CINEFEX: What’s your favorite movie theater snack?
OLIVER HOHN: Beer, preferably German.
CINEFEX: Thanks for your time, Oliver!