BAFTA Masterclass Labs: SFX with Chris Reynolds

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With over 30 years' experience in the industry, SFX Supervisor Chris Reynolds has an excellent reputation for producing safe, innovative, creative, high quality, special effects for both film and TV. With an education in engineering and architecture, Reynolds’ introduction to special effects began with TV commercials more than 25 years ago. Soon thereafter, he joined the BBC’s Special Effects Department, working on a number of classic television series such as Black-Adder, 'Allo 'Allo, Miss Marple, and the ever popular Doctor Who.

In 2003, Chris left the BBC to supervise special effects for the TV drama Space Race, for which he designed and built full-sized replicas of space craft such as the (46-ft tall) V-2 Rocket, the Mercury capsule, and the Russian Sputnik satellites for filming in Romania.
Chris’s international experience has taken him to Malta to supervise the historical epic Ágora for Alejandro Amenábar (director of the Academy Award-winning film The Sea Inside). Set in fourth century Roman Egypt, Ágora required the construction and rigging of a statue (33-feet tall) to be toppled, a 16-foot collapsing colonnade, and a massive flame pit for actors to traverse. For his work, Chris was honored with a Goya (Spanish Film Academy) Award.

For Guy Ritchie’s Sherlock Holmes, Chris was asked to oversee construction of a grand conveyor belt and abattoir sequence in a Victorian industrial unit in London on which Robert Downey Jr. struggles to rescue Rachel McAdams from an ominous saw blade. He also supervised NeilMarshal’s Centurion, which included — among its many action-packed effects — numerous fireballs knocking out a Roman army. In true Neil Marshal style, nearly every scene relies on special effects.

Other recent features include the thriller The Cold Light of Day (Summit Entertainment), starring Bruce Willis and Sigourney Weaver, directed by Mabrouk El Mechri, and Luc Besson’s inter-planetary action thriller Lock Out filmed in Serbia. For the latter, Chris drew on his mechanical know-how to design and build a customized, futuristic motorcycle (Gyrobike) with only one large rear wheel on a hydraulic rig to give complete fast articulation.

BAFTA Masterclass Labs are monthly events where innovative talents from the film and television industries share their creative practices with the audience. Sessions are well illustrated with clips or other media, and with much time for questions, these masterclass labs give the audience an opportunity to exchange ideas with some of the industries’ exceptional newer talents.  

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