Interview with James Knight the CEO of Knight Vision Studios
Tonight our guest is James Knight the CEO of Knight Vision Studios, and a member of the VES and the Scientific and Technical Achievement Committee at AMPAS. Before, he worked for Atlanta, Georgia’s Crawford Post Production, where he was instrumental in growing the facility to the largest in the south-east United States. Moving to Los Angeles, Knight worked as Motion Capture Producer or Project Manager on films including I Am Legend, Hulk and The Chronicles of Narnia: Prince Caspian, before spending the better part of four years managing the motion capture for James Cameron’s ground-breaking Avatar. We have conducted an interview with him.
Which was your most rewarding blockbuster film as a Motion Capture Producer?
I believe that my work is inherently rewarding and I derive a great deal of pride from accepting the complex challenges associated with all of my responsibilities as Motion Capture Producer, so it is quite difficult to identify just one as the most rewarding. If I had to narrow it down just a bit, however, I would say that 'Avatar,' 'I Am Legend,' and 'Hulk' are certainly at the top of my list.
How long did you work on the motion capture for James Cameron's 'Avatar'? What is your secret in managing such a big production?
Due to the scale of the project and the sheer ambition involved in such a massive undertaking, the motion capture process for 'Avatar' was very time-consuming and required immense attention to detail along with a willingness to experiment in an effort break new ground for the betterment of the film.
Managing any production is difficult, and this is especially the case with a project carrying the weight of absolutely massive expectations. In order to ensure our success, I relied on a great team of professionals and we certainly benefited from the exceptional support we received from all of the principals associated with the film.
Which process in your work is the most inspiring?
I often find myself inspired by the collaborative process in which we set out to develop a clear vision of what it is we are trying to bring to the screen and how to best go about the process of creating that vision in its purest form.
I feel compelled to add that I feel so fortunate about the opportunity to work with some of the greatest visionaries the film industry has ever known. It is simply impossible to avoid being inspired while collaborating with these wonderful professionals, and I would probably be inspired just by the mere presence of such talented and creative minds.
Amongst performance capture, shot delivery, and motion edit for films, which is your greatest strengths and talents in this field?
Perhaps others might view this a bit differently, but I think the majority of my peers would agree that it is necessary to possess an expert skill level in every aspect of the field. I have worked diligently to achieve a sense of balance in my professional skill set throughout the entirety of my career, and -- even though I will never cease in my efforts to further refine my talents or develop new skills -- I truly believe that I am without weakness as it relates to every aspect of performance capture production.
Who do you collaborate with? What kind of groundbreaking technique is the most impressive?
I have collaborated with a number of my peers as well as quite a few of my fellow members of the Visual Effects Society, the Scientific and Technical Achievement Committee at The Academy, and BAFTA-LA.
In both film and other mediums such as video games, I have been consistently impressed by the groundbreaking techniques that have been recently developed. I am most impressed, however, by the willingness of those in my industry to consistently and freely share all the new techniques we happen to develop in the interest of pushing the industry ever forward.
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