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Opening Doors for Singapore Through Visual Effects

last updated 03 November 2017
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Media Education Scholar, Vicki Lau, started off as a young polytechnic student feeding her passion in video-editing.

Now, Vicki is a successful video effects artist who has worked on many projects within the film & visual entertainment industry.

Last October, Vicki was hand-picked to join a panel at 2015’s SMPTE Annual Technical Symposiumwhere she shared her thoughts about the new market of live-action Virtual Reality. Vicki was also one of the youngest female speakers that took part in the event.

MediaExchange had a chance to catch up with her recently.

MediaExchange: Tell us a little bit about your venture into visual effects and how the journey has been for you.

Vicki: I would say that it began at the age of 14 with video-editing, using a very primitive software called "Windows Movie Maker" and a very primitive video camera. I got into Singapore Polytechnic's Digital Media course as my first diploma choice and that was when I was further exposed to the other areas in post-production. Although I excelled at many other subjects in the past, I've always preferred something that was closely related to editing and film – that's when visual effects clicked. Visual effects was a unique combination of the arts and science which satiates my appetite and fascination with both the technical and artistic side of things. The journey has been surprisingly expedited and I never expected to get to where I am at now, at this rate. I've worked in various capacities on different types of projects (from television to commercials, and features) and I would conclude that it has been a fun learning journey, meeting and working with great people.

Visual effects is gaining popularity in Singapore, as more people are opening up to the idea of pursuing it professionally. What do you think about this?

Vicki: I think it is a very natural progression. Visual effects in the United States is honestly dwindling and there are many artists here who have problems getting a job in the industry because most projects are now being outsourced to other countries. Singapore has a great IP protection framework as well as a very sustainable economy, so I am not surprised that visual effects companies would start flocking to Singapore and in return, increase Singapore's popularity as a visual effects hub and media centre.

You recently took part in the SMPTE 2015 Annual Technical Conference & Exhibition, where you made two appearances. What was that experience like?

Vicki: Yes! I was on a panel and had a second section where I had a 15-minute presentation. The experience was grand in the sense that I was finally able to show the audience members what my presentation was all about, after working hard with the conference committee and following up with related matters in the weeks leading up to the conference. I would give a hand to all the SMPTE conference committee members for their preparations and support in making the conference run as smoothly as it did. As for the panel session, I had fun listening to the thoughts and ideas of all panellists whilst contributing some words of my own. The Q&A session was also a fun one to tackle.

Why do you think forums like these are important for home-grown talents like you? How do you think such an event can help Singaporean creators propel further into their careers?

Vicki: Although it does help, to some extent, further my career as a Singaporean creator, I prefer to see it as helping bring Singapore as a country out into the international limelight through such events. Thus, forums like these are more important from a macro perspective of helping inch Singapore further into the international limelight as a media centre. Interestingly enough, I was not only representing Singaporeans but also women, youths and women of colour, as I was one of the youngest female speakers in its history, due to this conference's highly technical and engineering-based nature. In fact, this year's conference was specifically more open to youths and women, having seen its evolution from its past conferences. In general, I would say that it helps propel Singapore as a whole, further, as these conferences would now be more open to accepting Singaporeans – hence, kicking down yet another door and setting the stage for future Singaporean creators in general.

What’s coming up for you? Anything exciting that we can all look forward to in 2016?

Vicki: I recently did some quick work on Independence Day 2, but that's probably not the most exciting part. Otherwise, since most productions and projects are naturally classified, you'll just have to wait till 2016 to be surprised! ;)

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