James Knight is the virtual production director for AMD, a role in which he continues to utilize his unique visual effects skill set in a manner that pushes the film and video game industries to test the boundaries of what is possible through performance capture as well as a host of other visual effects techniques. Before joining AMD as virtual production director, James Knight served as a performance capture specialist and a performance capture supervisor on a wide range of projects that include Avatar, The Amazing Spiderman, Hulk, I Am Legend, 2012, and Prince Caspian, among many others.
A resident of Los Angeles, Knight has consistently expressed a belief in the importance of remaining active in the many different facets associated with his particular expertise. As a result, Knight has lent his insight and expertise to a number of video game projects such as Batman: Arkham City, Scene It, Star Wars: The Old Republic, and Gotham Racing. In addition to his expansive involvement in film and video game projects, Knight is a member of the Visual Effects Society and The Academy’s Scientific and Technical Achievement Committee. Knight is also a board member and committee co-chair with the Los Angeles chapter of the British Academy of Film and Television Arts, also known as BAFTA-LA.
1. Do you know what steez is? If so, how do you express your steez?
Yes, and I have heard many of my colleagues make reference to their steez on countless occasions. As for me, I believe one’s creative output is often most reflective of one’s steez.
2. When you were younger what was your dream occupation?
Although I didn’t have any specific occupation in mind, I always knew that I wanted to pursue a career in the film industry.
3. Who/What inspired you to get into your current field?
Over the years, I was encouraged to pursue a career in this field by friends, family members, and professors, and I am quite grateful for the support and encouragement they provided.
4. What is one current trend that excites you?
We’ve reached the point in which performance capture and virtual production techniques are able to blend in with all other film production techniques, which ensures there are no limits placed on creativity.
5. What would you consider your biggest accomplishment?
It is always my goal to make my most recent accomplishment the most significant accomplishment of my career, and I believe I have accomplished that while serving in many different professional roles.
6. What do you think of social media? Has it made an impact on your professional career?
Social media is still very much in its infancy, so I am excited to see all that it will be able to accomplish going forward — particularly considering the positive impact it has already had.
7. If you were ever to start again, would you do anything differently?
I would probably ask more questions of some of the professionals I worked with during my very first projects, but I certainly do not regret any decisions I have made during the course of my career.
8. What do you see for the future?
I’m excited about working with AMD and believe we are going to accomplish some truly remarkable things in the near future.
9. What’s one piece of advice you can tell our readers?
My advice is simple: Take full advantage of every resource available to you and make a point to view every experience as an opportunity to learn something valuable for the future.