We talk to Oscar and BAFTA winning graduate,
Peter Bebb, about his visual effects work on Hollywood blockbuster
film, Inception, and how it all began at the University of
PB: I am thank you; I feel
very honoured. It's a huge accomplishment and testament to the work
of the team at Double Negative.
PB: My first task everyday is
to check emails for any feedback from our US clients so that we can
limit problems caused by the time difference. The team then gets
together for ‘dailies’ where we review the work being produced by
each person. This usually takes place in a screening room with the
moving images projected onto the screen; just like a mini cinema.
Most days also involve a process called ‘bidding’ where we review a
client’s requests for a shot, for example using part of a script or
a storyboard, and then consider different ways to achieve it. We do
go home at some point but not for long. Ten hour days are very
PB: The creative process and
being part of a team. There is always a great vibe in doing
something artistic and something you are very passionate about.
Then ultimately seeing your work in the cinema, nothing can beat
PB: Fun! University life was
and still is a great experience. My course had great links with the
industry which helped to put everything into perspective and it was
Wolverhampton that introduced me to Computer Generated Imagery
(CGI) machines. Thankfully the University had a CGI department –
which back then was a real bonus as the technology was still fairly
new to the industry.
PB: By the end of the degree
I knew I wanted to pursue a career in CGI. Being able to model,
animate and render my product ‘in situ’ was a real eye opener for
me. I also loved films and I knew that the technology could be
applied in most fields so visual effects was the natural
PB: I think that the creative
possibilities that visual effects offer to film makers has meant
that some films are being written around the advances in CGI –
and this isn’t a bad thing. Films such as Armageddon and
Deep Impact, for example, simply would not have been
possible without visual effects. Today they are just another tool
for the director to explore telling the story with, no different to
costume, lighting or make up. The effects I am most proud of
are shots the audience don't even see.
PB: There are many shots or sequences I have loved in film over
the years. The most memorable being the birth of the ‘Batpod’ from
the tumbler in The Dark Knight; Mal and Cobb's walk through Limbo
square in Inception; and the tidal wave in The Day After
Tomorrow – awesome!
PB: You’re right that winning
an Oscar has been my greatest achievement to date but looking to
the future I would love to work with the Coen Brothers, Ridley and
Tony Scott and of course, Steven Spielberg!
PB: Without a shadow of doubt
my best advice is to follow your instincts. You must figure out
what makes you tick. I'm a firm believer that if you enjoy doing
something you'll put the time in and ultimately be rewarded. I’ve
known people dread the prospect of going into work on a morning.
Don't let that be you.
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