THE Oscar celebrations travelled all the way from Tinseltown to Omagh on Sunday night.
While the world tuned in to the biggest awards show on the planet, local special effects professional Jonny Martin looked on with extra special interest as he had spent seven months in Budapest during the shooting of Blade Runner 2049.
The hit movie had been nominated for Best Visual Effects, and there was elation when it won the famous gold statue following its BAFTA success.
In 2016 Jonny was working with a German based company, Nefzer Special Effects, on the movie in the Hungarian capital. An experience which he said was undoubtedly the highlight of his career so far.
Jonny, who runs Drakon Media based in Omagh said, “I was extremely proud to see Gerd Nefzer on stage at the 90th Academy Awards, winning the Oscar for Visual Effects, which came just a few weeks after also winning a BAFTA for Special Visual Effects for this same film. Working for Gerd and the team was a privilege and an experience that has enriched my career in special effects. Being acknowledged on such a high platform like the Oscars gives a real sense of career fulfilment, especially remembering how hard the team worked on this project.
“Part of my role with the team was creating and designing various electronic systems to control the effects seen on camera.
“One of my personal favourites, and the effect I was most proud of, was the machines I built to create the caustic water effect on the walls of Wallace’s office.
“Rodger Deakins, the director of photography, had a vision of what he wanted to see, and it was a huge sense of accomplishment to create an effect for him under the guidance of Gerd Nefzer.
“In special effects, the work we do is the practical effects actually seen on camera, before any computer graphics are involved. Special effects covers a huge range of things like atmosphere, water, wind, steam, smoke, fire, water and motion, or anything that practically moves like the Space Vehicles seen in Blade Runner 2049.”
Jonny has been working in special effects for over nine years, and created his company, Drakon Media, back in 2008.
He had the opportunity to work on a number of films in Canada for the first three years of his career before being introduced to the Nefzers in 2013 when he worked with them on Dracula Untold, filmed in Belfast. Since then, he has worked regularly with the Nefzer team on several feature films and TV shows.