5 Minutes With... VFX Compositor Stephen Schmidt


5 Minutes With... VFX Compositor Stephen Schmidt

21 April 2022

We sat down with Montreal-based VFX Compositor Stephen Schmidt to discuss his career to date, DVD extras and positive work environments

When did you first realize you wanted to work within VFX?

It was a few different things culminating at the same time for me. I was watching so many movies as a teenager and obsessing over DVD extras like on the Lord of the Rings extended editions. From that, I found some early lightsaber tutorials for Photoshop and After Effects and just started there. By the time I had started to get my bearings in doing effects and motion graphics, it just kind of worked out that a large VFX studio was opening an office in my hometown and I thought, “This is my in,” and I worked really hard from that point to build a showreel and resume that could get me hired.

What brought you to Outpost?

I was lucky to have two of my closest friends / co-workers from my time working in Boston both get hired at Outpost Montreal in the CG department, and so when they invited me along, I joined them. Funnily enough, I had been thinking about wanting to come to Montreal for a bit anyway, so it really worked out quite smoothly.

In your opinion, what qualities do you need to be a Compositor?

A desire and ability to always learn and try different things.

Can you talk us through any highlights in your career so far?

The current project I am working on at Outpost

How would you describe the team and environment at Outpost?

The people at Outpost make it what it is. This is easily the best team of people I’ve been around and worked with. There are immense amounts of technical knowledge, artistic talent and vision, and there’s a desire from everyone to help out and make sure no one is overworked, making for a positive environment.

What part of working as a Compositor do you enjoy the most?

The moment something starts to feel “photo real” and you know it’s working.

What is your ideal working environment?

The one that Outpost is continuing to create is pretty ideal to me.

If you weren’t working in 2D, which department could you imagine working in?

I always wanted to be an FX artist, but I don’t know that I have the same kind of patience that they do.

What is your day-to-day like as a compositor at Outpost?

Lots and lots of time fiddling in nuke with grades, erodes

Finally, some quickfire questions:

What’s the one thing you always keep on your desk?


You can eat one thing for the rest of your life – what is it?

Not that I’d survive, but ice cream

What would be your superpower?


You’ve got a couple of hours to kill – what do you watch?

Next on my list to watch is The Batman

What are you currently learning?

I’m trying to learn a bit of luthierie building a Ukulele

Any pets?

I have one orange cat named Bernhoft (Bernie is what we call him)

Favourite way to relax?

I really enjoy watching a good movie, even if I’ve seen it before. Writing music is also something I do quite frequently in my free time

If you could go anywhere in the world, where would you go?

I’ve been dreaming of seeing the Himalayas

What irritates you?

Poorly designed things

Guilty pleasures?

My sweet tooth for sure

Favourite song?

I can’t think of one song, but my favorite band right now is Snarky Puppy.

Last present you bought yourself?

A used 5 string Fender Jazz Bass

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