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Peter Baustaedter — VFX/Virtual Art Director, Amazon Studios


Peter Baustaedter’s Hollywood career is an adventure worthy of a movie. After cracking the demoscene in Austria, he took a chance and wrote to Digital Domain — only for them to offer him a job. From here, he worked on a string of movies with groundbreaking VFX: Apollo 13, Dante’s Peak, The Fifth Element, Final Fantasy: The Spirits Within, Sin City, King Kong, and Avatar.

In this extraordinary episode, Peter explains the minor role Arnold Schwarzenegger played in his career, discusses the dangerous world of practical effects in the mid-90s, and reveals why the power kept tripping at Square Pictures’ Hawaiian production facility. Peter also talks about stepping up to become a visual effects art director and shares tidbits on using Unreal Engine to produce a major upcoming TV series from Amazon Studios.


Peter Baustaedter on IMDb >

Peter Baustaedter on LinkedIn >



4:13 Peter’s early years in computing

09:15 The demoscene and software cracking

16:12 First jobs in Vienna

19:45 Getting into Digital Domain 

27:28 The CG scene in 1995

33:34 “The Fifth Element,” “Dante’s Peak,” and “Titanic”

37:08 “Final Fantasy: Spirits Within” in Hawaii

44:08 “Lord of the Rings: Two Towers” and “Day After Tomorrow”

49:52 “Avatar’s” origins

55:15 Being a visual effects art director

01:04:52 “Lord of the Rings” TV series

01:10:13 The future of the art department and the VFX pipeline

About the author

Christopher Nichols

Chris is a CG industry veteran and Director of Chaos Labs. He can also be heard regularly as the host of the CG Garage podcast which attracts 20,000 weekly listeners. With a background in both VFX and Design, Chris has worked for Gensler, Digital Domain, Imageworks and Method Studios. His credits include Maleficent, Oblivion and Tron: Legacy.

Originally published: January 24, 2022.
© Škoda Design

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