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Joel Hynek — VFX Supervisor


Over a 40-year career, Joel Hynek has helped bring some incredible VFX to life, beginning with optical effects for Xanadu, then making the Predator a terrifying opponent for Arnie, and moving onto a range of movies, including xXx, Judge Dredd, Stealth, plus blockbusters from India and China. He picked up a sci-tech Oscar for the design and development of an optical printer, and a VFX Oscar for his quietly revolutionary work on What Dreams May Come.

Joel shares incredible stories from the world of VFX, including how he developed the Predator’s invisibility cloak and night vision, the scrapes and near-misses he got into while filming Stealth, and reveals some interesting trivia about The Matrix and The Bourne Identity. He also talks about working with industry luminaries including Doug Trumbull, Rob Cohen, Doug Liman, and reveals his impressive lineage. 


Joel Hynek on IMDb >

Joel Hynek on Wikipedia >


0:04:20 Joel's background in animation, plus "Resurrection" and "Star Trek"

0:09:49 Putting together "Predator's" VFX

0:14:38 Cold water and heat vision

0:18:40 Optical printers: Making VFX the hard way

0:22:30 Winning a sci-tech award for optical printing innovation

0:24:48 "Hunt for Red October," "Judge Dredd," and "Die Hard 3"

0:30:50 "What Dreams May Come" and "The Matrix"

0:37:30 Creating the painted world for "What Dreams May Come"

0:38:12 The Colombia logo

0:39:35 A near-miss for "Stealth"

0:46:19 Being on a live aircraft carrier

0:48:13 Joel's career after "Stealth" with Dougs Liman and Trumbull

0:52:52 Chinese and Indian movies

0:55:57 Differences between working in the west and east

0:59:26 Thoughts on AI

1:07:22 Artificial intelligence and independent filmmaking

1:18:47 "Burn Notice" and writing with AI

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: June 17, 2024.
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