Jono Harris is a post production designer, vfx and compositing specialist and all round vfx mixologist. He’s recently joined Squint’s studio having worked at several other well-known vfx and sfx studios around the globe.
Tell us a bit about what you do and what your role at Squint involves.
I am heading up a new post production and visual effects team at Squint/Opera which combines practical special effects with computer generated visual effects. We will be focussing on film, television and advertising and embracing every aspect of vfx design. It’s not just vfx though its about squeezing out all the creativity in our people via various tools and mediums, vfx just happens to be one of our strengths.
You grew up with both parents working in film; your Dad runs his own sfx company and your Mum was head of film production at the BBC. What was the experience like for you as youngster and how has it shaped your own path into the world of film?
It was brilliant really. They were always busy but it was a lot of fun. My Dad’s special effects company was very close to my school so I used to hang out there a lot, wiring pyrotechnics and turning on gas bottles. My school plays were full of pyrotechnics and dry ice and I used to play a lot of practical jokes with sugar glass bottles and rubber bricks, which was always fun.
Did your Dad’s company work on anything we’ve heard of?
Yeah, they did a lot of stuff for British TV in the 80s and 90s, especially shows like London’s Burning, Hornblower, Casualty, Bugs, Demsey and Makepiece and more recently Dr Who and Poldark.
Tell us about your own journey into vfx? Was it shaped much by your experiences growing up?
I first knew I wanted to be a vfx artist when I was 15, my Dad took me to a BKSTS (British Kinematograph, Sound and Television Society) seminar at Pinewood studios, all the greats were there including the legendary Ray Harryheusen. I knew there and then it was what I wanted to do, after that, all my studies at school and university were focused on helping me get into the industry.
You’ve been working in the industry since 2007, tell us about some of your highlights so far...
After graduating and leaving my Dad’s business, I focussed on compositing. It was great seeing things for the first time, before anyone else and being able to travel around the world and work. I got the privilege to work in some great studios such as ILM and Weta on films like Harry Potter and Superman: Man of Steel.
Now, I am often back on set working with my Dad’s company, helping to combine more practical special effects with computer generated wizardry. For me this is the dream, combining the best of both worlds.
What made you decide to come to Squint?
I already knew Jules and Ollie (Chief Executive and Chief Creative Director and two of the co-founders of Squint/Opera), we decided it was something we wanted to do. Squint has just launched it’s own TV series, Messy Goes to Okido and has been working with film in various forms for over ten years, much of the software and skills are transferable so it made it a lot of sense. Working on feature films and tv is a bit different but the aim is to bring some of the lessons from the film-industry to Squint and vice-versa. For example, the pipeline is slightly different but we have been developing a system where we can switch processes for different types of clients.
What post-production techniques get you most excited?
Anything that combines practical elements with leading-edge computer generated effects. In the studio, we have also been using motion controlled sfx elements for vfx.
Is there anyone you have met or worked with who has particularly inspired you?
I met Dennis Muren at a BBQ in Vancouver recently. He’s just a legend, he’s done it all, 9 Oscars and is a really nice guy.
You haven’t been working with Squint long but already you have some exciting projects in the pipeline, tell us more about these.
I can’t say much at the moment but we have projects on the go with the BBC and Channel 4.
To get in touch with Jono and find out more contact firstname.lastname@example.org.