Artist Highlight - Brandon Ballschmidt


This week, we sat down with Brandon Ballschmidt to talk about space, favorite movie genres, Virtual Reality, and what got him started in film.

Can you tell me a little bit about your role here at Reel Captivation? I do everything here from production to camera work, to editing, video graphics, 3D animation, and Virtual reality work.

Why did you decide to get into this field of work? I’ve had a passion for film ever since I was a kid, watching Star Wars, and Independence Day, and Jurassic Park. That just kept kind of growing. Even when I was a kid, I was making my own films and editing films together on cassette tapes. Throughout my life that just kept progressing.

Are there any Artists or Creators that inspire you? There’s a lot of artists and creators that inspire me….. I mean film-wise, it’s everything from Edgar Wright, to Terrence Malick, to JJ Abrams. There’s an artist who lately has really inspired me; Yuri Shwedoff.

What draws you to him? For one, at least with his public portfolio, he has this consistency of tone and style that I find really impressive. He has a way of blending photo elements with computer graphics and hand painted textures in order to create these surrealist images.

You talked about the fact that you are dipping into VR, and I know this is still pretty new to you. How are you feeling about it? Pretty good! The technology is fantastic and really interesting. And when it comes to the applications that VR is really good at, it’s the best way to experience anything related to spatial perception that I have ever seen. It has it’s drawbacks, and I think that some people in the industry are a little over excited and want to use it in places when it’s not the right tool. But as a tool, it’s an excellent one. It’s been fascinating and interesting to dive into.

What’s your favorite part about VR? I think my favorite part about VR and being a 3D creator is simply doing the work and creating 3D models. I find it really interesting creating something and then watching it show up life size in front of me.

What’s your least favorite part about VR so far? I think my least favorite part is people trying to force it as a tool to do what we do in other mediums, when it’s a brand new one. It’s like trying to treat a movie like you would a book. It’s different; a whole different way of storytelling.

What do you wish people knew about VR? I wish there were some more defined and “AAA” narrative experiences for people to try out. Because it is such a young medium, everyone is trying to figure out, “We have this new tool, how do we use it effectively?” It is one of those things that if you don’t try it out, you do not understand what that experience is like and the effect that it can have as a medium. I would like more people to just try it out and see what the experience and more public places to have VR outlets. I know there are some VR bars that are popping up and I think that’s a great idea. Situations like that I see as a really effective way to mitigate the cost of entry, get people to engage with content, and create an interesting profit point for the companies that are hosting that kind of tech.

What’s your favorite genre of movie? If I lean towards one, it would be science fiction, and I will let that be as broad as it is.

What draws you to those movies? I think Sci-fi, more than any other genre, has a way to allow us to play with ideas. Whether socially, emotionally, philosophically or politically, you can take this idea and set it up in a world that’s all about that singular, focused idea. Everything from the way that the society has been built up, to the interaction that happen, play with that idea. Also, I’m a huge proponent of space, and I think it’s pretty neat. Brandon ‘s official quote, “Space is Neat.”

What kind of things do you do outside of work? A lot of similar things that I do at work as far as film, animation, and 3D. But in recreational time, everything from watching movies and tv, playing video games, reading books, riding my bike, photography.

So you are one of the few "Film Production" people in the office, what misconceptions do people have about the film industry? That any step of it is easy. I don’t know if this is a quote I heard, or if it’s coming off of my own dome, but I like to think, especially a feature film, is it takes the will of 500 people for it come into existence. It’s inherently collaborative, and offers so many unique challenges by being so tied to the real world. I think that no part of it is simple. And any part of it that exists even if it’s 60 seconds long takes a lot of work on one, and many peoples parts.

How does your job affect the way you view the world? I think the most interesting part, especially with doing 3D animation work, is it really changes the way I look at the world around me. With film too, I see how and notice how the room is lit and how people’s faces look in a given space. How lights and shadows move across different objects. With 3D animation you start noticing a lot of detail information about the geometry with everything from a keyboard to a brick wall and how those materials react to light in the environment around them.

What is your Dream Project? ™ ™ ™ ™ ™ ™ ™ I think doing a large scale, and leading a large scale, science fiction mini series would be the dream project.

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