Hi, my name is Shaun Hillary, I live in Johannesburg, South Africa. My work experience in the film and the entertainment industry varies greatly from working as a Visual Effects Artist (VFX), 3D Animator, Visual Effects Artist (Composite & Rotoscope), Editor (Online and Offline) to working as a Camera Operator and Director of Photography. I have also produced and directed music videos, music EP’s and music videos for the local music industry.
My career into the film and television industry first started out in high school with art being the only subject I actually did well in. I soon went on to study graphic design at a local technical college for two years. When I completed my two years of graphic design I decided to study IT for another two years. After taking a gap in the following year to travel Europe, America and Canada, I moved on to study a two year diploma in 3D animation. After graduating and completing an internship I started up a small independent game development and 3D animation studio with a graduate friend. During our time hoping to make a break, constantly doing research and development with our game design and visual effects we serviced the Architectural Industry with 3D Visualizations, supplying 3D renders to architects and doing the odd animation and design for corporate companies on small budgets.
I then moved on to work as a graphic designer, 3D artist and 3D generalist at a marketing company for two years. Supplying them with 3D visuals and flat print designs for marketing and advertising. Those two years working as a 3D generalist and graphic designer moved on pretty fast.
Between 2005 and 2006 I started a small start up business, supplying industry and clients with web design, graphic design, branding, 3D animation and 3D architectural visualization. Through the progress of being an artist and supplying clients with a one stop shop for artwork, branding and design I began to focus my attention away from your traditional forms of design and marketing and focus more on “how do you make a film? (with no funding)” , being heavily focused and my mind set on the music, film, television and entertainment industry I invested in my first bit of camera and gear with advise and some guidance from a friend who then at the time was finishing his graduation and honours from AFDA, he is now an accomplished and experienced film director, who has produced award winning short films, music videos and feature films locally and internationally.
2007 moves in (where have the years gone?). Having practical camera operator background and studying Cinematography part time while freelancing, I soon began to produce and direct small budget music videos for local underground unsigned bands and musicians (unsigned, Great potential!), delivering big budget music videos with a couple of Rands or beers. It was not long until I was approached to work on two independent local features, SNARE and Angel of the Skies. My duties involved researching and delivering visual effect (VFX) plates of CG dead rhinos and world war 2 spitfires and B24 bombers. I think I must have spent a good 2 years on Angel of the Skies before it even hit a real pre production phase doing research and development for the visual effects (VFX) it would need. During SNARE around the same time I quickly had to learn how to create dead 3D models of rhinos to track and comp into aerial shots as well as learn how to quickly rotoscope what the producer and director did not want in the shot. I also had to crack 12 minutes of 3D animation for a local comedy feature film production called The 100 meter Leeuloop. 20 hour days over 2 months, the job was delivered. No small feat considering two personal desktop machines is all I had at the time with a good friend working the character rigging and simulations after hours from his day job.
My work led me to working as a visual effects artist at some well renowned post production facilities in Johannesburg doing composite, 3D and roto work and having the honour to work as a Visual Effects Supervisor and Artist on set and in post on many great projects such as the award winning fan made tribute to Blade Runner, Tears in the Rain. This also led me to have the opportunity to work on many local features doing visual effects (VFX) having to clean up specific shots, composite and work as a rotoscope artist and on set supervisor for visual effects for Blood Broers, Igazi and Donkerland. Somehow between all of this I managed to land a B camera gig on a local feature film in the Karoo called Die Laaste Tango and mock up some gun visual effects on a local film called Durban Poison. My work never made it into that film but it really was a good local feature film. It went on to win a few awards.
2015, My time in post production was done. For the time being. What I wanted to really do was spend some time behind a lens. Using what I have learnt through my years of post production and physically work that into a practical space.
I have spent the past 2 years working as a camera operator, DoP, colourist and as an editor. Travelling all over Africa from Kenya, Ethiopia to back home in South Africa.