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Hasan Khan

Media, Design and Technology graduate

  • Graduated in 2016 with a first-class degree
  • Has worked most recently on blockbuster film The Lion King 
  • Also worked on major projects such as Black Mirror and Isle of Dogs
University of Bradford Alumni, Hasan Khan

Hasan Khan, BSc (Hons) Computer Animation and Visual Effects graduate 

What did you enjoy the most about your time studying at Bradford?

I think it would be easier to ask me what I didn’t enjoy about studying in Bradford!

I loved the university life. I’d say the thing I liked most was how much there is to do. I was never bored at any point. There was laser tag a three minute walk from where I stayed, an ice skating arena about 10 minutes away, the city centre seven minutes away and so many societies and sports clubs to sign up to. The options seemed limitless.

On top of all that I’d say the options and variety of food was the best in the UK. There was so much food and it was so cheap too. One tube fare in London would be enough to eat in Bradford.

Life in Bradford is definitely something I’ll never forget.

My course taught me a great deal about how the film industry works, what tools they use and how the pipeline works. It also taught me a large variety of software, and to adapt to situations based on client requests and issues that pop up while working on a project.

Can you tell us a bit about your job and what you do on a day-to-day basis?

My role in making films is Compositor. Think of it as Photoshop for video; I get different elements and put them all together. A lot of the work I do consists of adding backgrounds to replace green screens, fixing issues with the footage, integrating CGI with the recorded footage and, most importantly, making it look real and appealing to look at.

I would say creating the look of shots is my favourite aspect of my job and The Lion King had a lot of look development to do. We also do loads and loads of fixes. It seems that every director would rather ‘fix it in post’ than reshoot the footage.

You recently worked on The Lion King, which is undoubtedly one of the biggest films of the year. What was the experience of working on such a major project like?

Unreal but also challenging. Working on a project such as this is something I will cherish for years to come. It feels so surreal to have worked on a film that I was obsessed with 20 odd years ago. If you had told me three years ago, let alone when I was a kid, that I’d be working on the remake for The Lion King I would never have believed you.

This project has definitely been a huge learning experience and it’s been amazing getting to know great, inspiring people who worked alongside me to create this marvel. If I could do it all over again I would, without a doubt.

I don’t think I’ve worked on a project that was more fun than this. Everything about the job, such as the quality of work, the people I worked under, the friends I made and the facilities provided by the company were fantastic. I couldn’t be happier.

You’ve been involved in lots of different projects. Do you have a favourite one? If so, why?

Whilst I’ve had the opportunity to work on a few great projects, I’d have to say The Lion King was definitely my favourite. Isle of Dogs was great because I got to work with the actual puppets used to make the film and it was technically challenging working with the 3D printers/scanners.

Black Mirror was technically my first small screen credit, which still holds a special place in my heart. Being a fan of the franchise it was an honour to be working on it. 

Maleficent 2 was a fun project too and had most of the same perks as The Lion King, as it was at the same company.

However, the journey I went through on The Lion King was in another league. The shots I got to work on were beautiful, the tools I used were intuitive and I got the opportunity to develop the look for an entire sequence (the 'Be Prepared' sequence). On top of all that, I got to look develop the iconic Mufasa in the clouds scene. Overall, I’d easily say it’s my favourite project.

What piece of work are you most proud of?

In terms of work I’d definitely have to say The Lion King. The scope and quality of the project was definitely one of the greatest that I’ve worked on.

In terms of personal work I’d say my photography, as with that I have complete creative control over it and the final product that is delivered is entirely my work, whereas on The Lion King it was a team of people working on different aspects of every shot.

If you’re interested in my photography, it can be found here: @h45k or @hasansstudio

I’d also say I’m pretty proud of my Vlogs, as that too is work I’ve done entirely myself, and I try to be creative and try new things. These can be found at @h45kvlogs or by searching for H45K on YouTube. 

How do you think your time studying at Bradford has helped you to achieve what you have so far?

Studying at Bradford definitely taught me many work-applicable skills. The course I was studying taught me a great deal about how the film industry works, what tools they use and how the pipeline works. It also taught me a large variety of software and taught me to adapt to situations based on client requests or issues that pop up while working on a project.

We often worked in a team, which teaches you how to get along with and work with other people – a skill vital in this industry.

Aside from academics, studying in Bradford taught me vital social and leadership skills. There’s a society or club for everyone and I was lucky enough to be an exec in a few of them. Being in these societies taught me to be responsible and helpful to my peers.

University also massively improved my confidence and communication. When I started I was a shy little kid who didn’t talk much but by the time I left you couldn’t shut me up. It was definitely a life changing experience and if I could do it again I’d do it ten times over.

How has your career developed since leaving the University?

Since university my career has been a steady climb. I had to spend the first few months creating a decent showreel in order to apply into the industry, after which I got my first industry job on ‘Isle of Dogs’, where I worked as a 3D Scanner/Printer Technical Director.

After this I promptly moved to one of the biggest companies in the industry, Framestore, where I began working as a runner. From here I had to work my way up tirelessly to get promoted into Paint/Roto Artist. After six months of this I got promoted again to Junior Compositor.

A further six months after that I got a job at another giant in the industry, MPC, where I began work on The Lion King and Maleficent 2 right after. Presently (a year-and-a-half later) I’m working at One of Us, on projects I’m not able to mention just yet...

What advice would you give to current students who hope to follow in your footsteps?

One piece of advice I’d definitely give to aspiring artists is that if you really want to work in the industry you have to work hard for it. It’s not going to be easy getting in, as you’re competing against thousands. Make sure your showreel stands out, you’re determined and you don’t give up. It also helps a great deal to know someone on the inside, so get contacting people on LinkedIn. 

I often find people start working in temporary jobs and eventually give up on getting into the industry. Don’t do that. Working a temporary role is fine, but don’t let that be your finish line. My friend Ryan managed to get out of that and now he is working on big films out in Canada.

It’s all about your commitment and dedication. Don’t give up.

What are your future goals?

Working on The Lion King was one of my biggest goals, but it doesn’t end there.

The next goal is to work on a Marvel film (since I’m a huge fan), after which I want to expand my studio to start bringing in clients.

I’d also like to put some more work into my vlogs and possibly create a platform I can share my thoughts and adventures on. I’ve already started, but plan on vastly improving it.

Career update

I had just wrapped up on The Lion King when we last caught up. Since then, I have worked on The Lion King and Maleficent 2 while working at a company called MPC.

After which, I started working at One Of Us (OOU). At OOU I’ve worked on a range of projects such as The Witcher TV series, Discovery of Witches, Pinocchio, Morbius, and just recently – The Matrix.

Aside from this, I’ve branched out into doing more freelance work, most notably VFX Supervising/Directing on the set of ‘Money Talks’ by Dave and Fredo. It was inspiring working with such talented people on set, meeting professionals at the top of their game.

Since then, I’ve ramped up my work with Take FX – a start-up VFX studio with a number of high-level clients under their belt. I started freelancing with them on ‘Money Talks’, and have been asked to return as a 2D Supervisor on a big-budget TV show.

Bradford Graduate, Hasan Khan on a set at work

Could you do your job without a degree?

Getting into VFX without a degree is possible, but not as easy.

You can get into the industry via internships, which are few and far between – or teaching yourself the skills required, by which you don’t really learn industry standards. Most companies do ask you if you have a degree in any arts-related subjects, but you’re not limited to that. I know a few people who have transitioned to VFX after doing their degrees in Maths and Physics.

There’s a lot you learn while doing a degree, for example in my final year at the University of Bradford, we were working with clients directly, giving us the opportunity to learn how to manage clients, deadlines, and how to overcome any speedbumps along the way. You also have access to software, tools, and equipment that would normally cost you thousands.

It is possible to get into the industry without a degree, but a degree does make it easier and gives you the necessary tools you need.

What are your career highlights so far?

I’ve hit a few milestones along the way, some big, some small. But I’d say the highlights of my career so far have been;

  • Black Mirror – The first TV show I worked on.
  • The Lion King – One of the most iconic movies I’ve worked on, and my first film credit.
  • The Witcher – As a huge fan of the video game series, this was a dream!
  • Morbius – My entry into working on Marvel movies (the first of many I hope to work on).
  • The Matrix – A classic, what more can you ask for?
  • Money Talks – My first gig as a VFX Supervisor/Director. The experience I gained from working on this project was much more than I could achieve sitting at a desk.
UoB Alumni, Hasan Khan at an event

Media, Design and Technology at the University of Bradford

Hasan's journey is another example of the success that our students achieve after graduating from Bradford.

We offer our students the chance to work on live industry projects, which develops their skills and puts them a step ahead of their peers after graduation.

The University of Bradford has a long history of being at the forefront of new developments in digital media, film and television production, computer animation, game design and visual effects. We have industry-standard production facilities and an expert academic team.

Find out more about Media, Design and Technology at Bradford, and apply for September 2021.

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