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Oscars 2015 glory possible for X-Men visual effects pro Cameron Waldbauer

02/20/2015 09:00 EST | Updated 04/22/2015 05:59 EDT
Cameron Waldbauer is in Los Angeles for the 87th Academy Awards this weekend, waiting with excitement to find out if he will win the Oscar for Visual Effects.

The Pitt Meadowns, B.C. man said just being nominated for his work as a special effects supervisor for X-Men: Days of Future Past is an "amazing" honour." 

That's because when the top 10 films for the category are put forward by the Academy, its members from their Visual Effects Branch who choose the five nominees. 

"It's your direct peers that are voting for you, [so] to get nominated is amazing," Waldbauer said.

Vancouver's thriving visual effects scene

Waldbauer said it is a good reflection on Vancouver's visual effects industry that a second movie with a special effects team from Vancouver made the top 10 finalists.

(Joel Whist, from West Vancouver, was also nominated for his work as the special effects coordinator for Godzilla.) 

"The fact that we had two special effects from Vancouver representing the top 10 films in the world — that says a lot," Walbauer said.

"This really is a great place to make a futuristic film."

This is the first nomination for Waldbauer, who has worked on a number of major films – including Elysium, Quantum of Solace and Mission: Impossible – Ghost Protocol.

Non-digital effects are important in film

Though CGI – computer generated imagery – continually improves in quality and has become more widespread in film, Waldbauer said non-digital visual effects remain essential.

Waldbauer said that by having items falling or flying in front of the camera, the actors can react more instinctively. Then, using CGI, more effects can be layered on top of those scenes.

"The director and actors and everybody included wants that physical interaction. They want to have something that's in in camera that they can see and react to," Waldbauer said. "It's very hard to pretend that something is exploding beside you when it really isn't."

Waldbauer is in high demand. Shortly before leaving for Los Angeles he was in Montreal consulting on the next X-Men film (X-Men: Apocalypse), which he won't be able to finish because of other commitments.

He was recently in Calgary, where he was working on The Revenant starring Leonardo DiCaprio. He will also soon begin work on the new Star Trek film in Vancouver.

"Strangely enough when I started this 20 years ago, people thought we were five years from my job disappearing, but my job just gets bigger and bigger."

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