Sam is currently in Belgrade, Serbia, finishing a summer internship at Crater Studios. It was a two month programme, and Sam is one of the first students to complete this programme in Serbia. Sam has shared his experiences of the internship programme...
How is Crater Studios?
Serbia isn’t the first place that you think of when you think of global VFX centres. In fact, I’d wager that nearly no-one reading this would even have known that there were studios there. However, as you can probably guess based on this incredibly leading opening, this is not the case. At the time of writing, for the past month and a half, I have been working as an intern with Crater Studio - a VFX house based in the gloriously sunny capital of Belgrade.
Crater Studio is a small but extremely professional outfit, that punches well above its weight. With three projects currently on the go, and work on a major Indian film confirmed as of a week ago, there’s always plenty on and plenty to do.
What has your internship been like so far?
Firstly, Crater is overflowing with Serbian hospitality - lots of help was offered to get to and from the airport and to ensure that I and the other Escapees getting involved were settled; as well as offering advice and assistance with anything, either related to the internship or in general.
After a brief orientation, it’s straight into the action. It was a real delight to finally put all those skills that I’ve spent all this time developing into practice. It’s one thing to learn how to use the tools, and it’s another entirely to put those tools into use in a proper studio environment.
As of the time of writing, I’ve been having a busy and very involved experience with the studio - working on an internal film project before shifting over and using my skills on live jobs. This is a great way of easing into the more intensive work of studio life; starting off slow and then as your confidence increases, getting involved with more serious jobs.
What does your day consist of?
The day starts at 10 am where you’re given space to work on your task solo until just after lunchtime, generally about 2 pm. At this point, you’ll typically have an artist in your field come and review your work to offer advice and guidance. If you need any help and can’t solve an issue yourself, you can also contact them throughout the day. The artists themselves are extremely knowledgeable. The team here are very talented and often multi-disciplined; they are an outstanding resource to draw on when you find yourself trying to remember how to properly syntax your scripts or need to figure out how to do a simulation effect without actually doing a simulation.
Crater isn’t just a studio, but also an active teaching centre, so when the working day finishes at 5:30 pm, the party doesn’t stop. Open lectures and classes are held fairly regularly, with a Houdini lecture running once per week and open to all.
But that’s not all - Crater also has taken us interns out to visit their colleagues at 3lateral - the team behind some incredible facial animation techniques that you would have seen in games and movies alike - and to go on reference shooting expeditions.
How are you liking Belgrade in general?
And when you’ve taken in all the lessons that you can, there’s still the city itself to explore. There’s lots to see in Belgrade for whatever you like to do. Nightclubs aplenty floating on the rivers, excellent restaurants, cycling paths, a swimming lake and interesting museums. If you’re coming in summer make sure to wear plenty of sunscreen during the day and insect repellent during the night.
Would you recommend this internship?
If you’re looking for somewhere to do an internship, I would highly recommend sending an application Crater’s way. It’s an excellent team, working on some very interesting and varied projects and has a lot of knowledge and real-world advice and tips to share.
Hope it does what you're after!
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