Q&A with Midnight VFX

“Imperfection is perfection.” 

By Gabriella Geisinger 2 Nov 2023

Q&A with Midnight VFX
Midnight VFX

Midnight VFX is a visual effects studio based in Athens, Greece.

With years of experience in the feature film and episodic industries, the team at Midnight VFX consists of passionate professionals. 

How did Midnight VFX start?

Midnight VFX is founded by Nikolas Kanellopoulos in early 2015 and established in January 2022. Nikolas’s passion came up early since he watched a movie with his family and specifically Gladiator in 2000s. This is where the “movie virus” infected him and since then he always experiments with video shooting and editing. At the age of 14 he created his first short film with multiple VFX shots completed by him. The only knowledge he had was his computer and multiple online videos.

This is when he realised that VFX was his biggest dream. At the age of 21 he completed his studies in SAE Athens in the filmmaking department and in 2015 he completed his studies in VFX and compositing and this is when Midnight VFX was born. Since then, he has worked in various VFX Companies around Europe as a freelancer.

Some of them were Scanline VFX, BlueBolt ltd, Pixomondo and Rise VFX. In 2022 Midnight VFX was established in a small office of Athens (30 sq/m) and in 2023 moved to a bigger one (140 sq/m) and this is where the magic happens. The name was inspired because most of the VFX work was done by him during the midnight hours.

What international projects have you been working on recently and coming up?

Midnight VFX in the past year was engaged to various projects where we utilised our expertise in previsualisation, compositing, and full CG shots for feature films and episodic series from USA, Serbia, Bulgaria and UK. Some of them are The Enforcer, The Ark, The Bricklayer and some others that we can’t reveal at this moment!

Have there been any new/recent developments in terms of financial incentives, infrastructure, VFX programs, etc that have impacted work at Midnight VFX?

With the adoption of Law 4704/2020, the Greek cash rebate amounts now to 40%, something that constitutes one of the best tax rebates in Europe. The availability of cash rebates can attract more international film and television productions to Greece. As a result, there may be an increase in the number of projects that require VFX services, providing our studio with a larger pool of potential clients.

What should international producers know about doing VFX work in Athens, and specifically with Midnight VFX?

Midnight VFX is the first studio in Greece to use their own pipeline with industry-standard tools and software, allowing us to deliver projects faster and with better quality, as our clients demands.

Also, we offer editorial services, where we transform the raw production files into VFX-ready plates. This way production companies do not have to worry about delivering the right footage in the right way, ensuring faster quality results and happier clients.

In addition, we provide VFX on-set services in productions both in Greece and abroad. Furthermore, we can arrange international collaborations with “specific” professionals from all over the world based on our client needs. In conclusion, we are in the process of getting ISO 27001 and TPN security verifications.

What is the most challenging element of a production that you have been part of, and how do you overcome those challenges?

The most challenging element of a production is the various changes happening during a project’s timeline in addition to tight deadlines. Sometimes shots can be changed completely and in order to overcome these obstacles we are prepared with talented artists and the right tools. Our biggest challenge and achievement was the latest project we have been involved with.

The total amount of shots was almost 370, with a deadline of three and a half months (3.5) where most of the shots were BG replacements with cg buildings, full CG shots, blood, muzzle flashes, explosions, prep work, etc.

Our team handled this with professionalism and smart time management for the greatest result. We created tools for the team to handle big sequences and keep the continuity between the shots and we are extremely happy with the result. Can’t wait to see our work on the big screen!

What are the biggest differences between feature film, tv, and commercial work for Midnight VFX?

The differences between working on feature films, TV shows, and commercial projects(rarely) for a VFX studio like Midnight VFX can be significant, encompassing various aspects of the work, creative processes, timelines, and client expectations. Here are some of the biggest distinctions:

  1. Project Length and Timeline
  2. Budget
  3. Complexity of VFX

Midnight VFX mainly focuses on Feature Films and Episodic Projects. The biggest difference between those two is the time management vs budget handling. In a Feature Film there are some shots that need to be done first as references for the rest of the shots and prioritise shots for promos and trailers. The deadline most of the time is a date for all the shots.

On the other hand, Episodic TV Series split the work between episodes. One team focuses on the first episode while another team works on the second one. This is the best way to keep things balanced and deliver the best result within the requested deadlines. There are always obstacles that arise but with the client’s guidance and our artistic perspective, we always find a solution.

Any plans for Midnight VFX in the near future?

Midnight VFX aims in developing and upgrading the VFX quality level of Greek productions and foreign ones that comes to Greece. Visual effects play a pivotal role in the production value of films and television shows. By providing high-quality VFX services, we can contribute to the success of these productions and help them stand out in the competitive industry.

In addition, we plan to establish Midnight VFX Academy where we can share our knowledge and make new people learn about the VFX industry and Visual Effects in the correct way! The academy can help inspiring new students to gain the skills and expertise needed for a successful career in Visual Effects. We will help people to make their dreams come true!

Additionally, fostering industry collaborations and offering certifications will further the learning experience and contribute to the growth of the VFX sector in Greece.

What is Midnight VFX’s logline?

"Imperfection is perfection."

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