Barnsley, The Mill, London

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How has the effects process changed?

I work on Flame, and when I first started you had people who were editors and they were strictly editors; you had some who were effects people who were strictly that. Now Flame guys need a much broader sort of knowledge. You have to be able to edit and do effects stuff and you also become more of a team leader, really. You have to work with a team and do a lot more of the production meetings and often go on set, etc. You are the liaison person between the client and the director, because if the director has moved on, the person at the agency expects you to pick up the creative reins and carry the project forward. A few years ago there were a lot more defined departments. Now, there is a lot more pressure and you have to be a lot more skilled. When I go on a shoot, for example, someone will ask me about lenses or film stock or cameras - you have to at least have a foundation, in that you have to be up on everything. You can't get away with just being able to press buttons anymore.

What creative trends have you observed?

Certainly British and some European ads have moved away from the highly polished, super-pretty pictures and have gone a bit more raw, if you like. People now just expect the effects are going to be done well, end of story, so they feel free to not be quite so highly polished. I think all your sort of big jobs now have rawness to them. People are a lot braver - they're not looking to please a client with the most beautiful, sunny faces and sunny skies anymore. Hopefully, those days are a bit out of fashion at the moment, for the leading-edge stuff, at least.

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