Luke Stretton

Film Technology and Visual Effects BSc (Hons)

Luke always wanted to go into post-production and knew a degree would help him get there. The breadth of knowledge BCU gave him has led to him working multiple roles at Visual Effects company Bigtooth Studios, where he has worked on everything from Black Mirror to adverts for Coca Cola and Sky Sports.

“I was lucky in the sense that I always knew that I wanted to work in post-production of some degree, whether that be Film, TV, or Games and I always had the idea of university in the back of my mind.

There were multiple routes into this industry I could've taken but after researching and visiting some universities, it was BCU that made me go, wow, look at what this course offers me and where it has the potential to take me. I knew almost immediately, after speaking with some of the senior course lecturers and learning more about what criteria would be taught over the three years, that BCU would be the place for me to learn and take me to that next level.

My time at BCU was great, it was the knowledge of the lecturers and access to the state-of-the-art software and hardware that made me engage deeply with the course. I felt I learned a lot throughout my time at university, as everything I could've possibly needed to know was covered and all the programs and equipment that I needed were there for me at my disposal as part of the course.

I'm currently working multiple roles at a small visual effects company in the West Midlands called Bigtooth Studios. I mostly work as a 3D Generalist, covering a plethora of areas, but have in recent months been working on a set for an independent film production company as a Virtual Production Lead and Technical Supervisor. I've been working at Bigtooth Studios since graduating in 2022, starting there officially in August of that year.

I'd been put in contact with my current employer through an online event hosted by BCU and was extremely lucky to have been contacted by them about work as a new graduate. Since then, I’ve worked on many different jobs for them in different disciplines within VFX, namely work on Black Mirror, and major TV adverts for Coca Cola, Marvel, and Sky Sports, just to name a few. Now, I'm working as part of a VFX team on the company's first job on an Independent Film, which I've been lucky to have major roles in.

I could have chosen to move away to London or elsewhere to do VFX as most artists do, but I felt like the idea of being able to work doing something I love whilst still being able to stay in the Midlands was extremely appealing to me, and to be a part of the pioneering start of the VFX industries growth in Birmingham and the West Midlands was something exciting to be a part of.

My course at BCU pretty much covered every fundamental asset I've worked in so far, from modelling, animation, rendering, and now virtual production, as well as the actual practical film making process itself. I felt it was very well taught and prepared me perfectly for moving into a career in this field.

For a typical workday, a lot of the time you're working at home or in the office doing computer VFX work, but you can end up taking on a lot of different roles and jobs and this can change a lot. For example, I've been working on a film set in Coventry for the past four months on a film. So, my typical day can change in an instant, but it all depends on the job we are currently working on. I could be at home for two weeks and then on set for two months, or it could be six weeks all at home or in an office. I've quite enjoyed this type of work as it keeps everything fresh.

I think the biggest challenge after graduating is taking those fundamentals you learn at BCU and then expanding and adapting your skillset in a professional, industry environment. It takes time to adapt and apply what you know to this fast-paced working environment, but if you work hard, you can absolutely achieve and do well in this career.

I think my proudest achievement has been just having the opportunity to be able to go to work and do something I love every day. Sometimes it doesn't even feel like I’m working, I’m just making a hobby and a passion of mine become my career. That for me is the biggest achievement of allI just hope to continue to grow and progress in my knowledge and improve as much as I can in as many aspects as I can so I can be the best I can be.

Everything that was offered to me at BCU, especially on the course, was brilliant and I was given some fantastic opportunities to progress my understanding of the subject. It is more than just lectures; you get given great opportunities to get hands-on and so many chances to be creative and show your ability. If you're someone who's considering becoming a virtual creative or a filmmaker, I couldn't recommend it enough.

My advice to those starting out in their career is just commitment and persistence to achieving what you want. I knew this was what I wanted to do, I'd been taught the material and given the experience on the course, so if you can apply yourself and really let your creative abilities show in your work or your portfolio, and if you can prove to people that this is the career you want, then you can achieve it. Working hard and learning as much about the subject area as you can and showing that knowledge to others will take you far in VFX.

To me, I AM BCU means embodying the values in yourself of what it means to study and be part of BCU. Being confident and proud to show yourself and your abilities, in turn, helping to collaborate and motivate others to do the same.”