Hesham Hammoud creates magic onscreen for the hit ABC television series ‘Once Upon A Time’

Hesham Hammoud brings his VFX creative talents to the small screen, compositing for ABC TV’s hit series Once Upon A Time, currently in its 7th and final season. The incredible visual effects on the show have helped to make it a fan favorite with its various fantasy-driven storylines. One episode of Once Upon A Time can consist of 300 VFX shots, and with 22 episodes per season, Hammoud is kept busy with all of the shots needed in a short turn around time.  It takes talent, long hours, and hard work to handle a show of Once Upon A Time’s scale.

“I got into the visual effects industry to creatively help tell a story.  For me, that can involve working on-set as part of the VFX team and eventually move on to become a VFX Supervisor, or it can be in the office digitally creating the effects.  I also love being in front of the camera bringing words to life with a character.  I’m just blessed to have all the opportunities that I have had so far, but I will keep working for more because I love what I do.” Hesham says.

Visual Effects (VFX) consists of editing videos to combine real filmed footage with computer-generated imagery.  Today it is used across television shows and widely used in bringing the magic, stunts, and excitement to blockbuster feature films. Common VFX uses are fake environments that are filmed on green screen when going to location is impossible (or it doesn’t exist), or doing digital stunts that are too dangerous or impossible.  It is also used to enhance shots that don’t look like they have any effects, such as digitally removing reflections in a window, or wires attached to an actor.

Hesham is an Alumnus of the Interactive Multimedia and Design program at Carleton University before moving west to Vancouver to further his education at the Vancouver Film School. Hesham landed his first job in VFX at the Academy Award winning VFX house, Rhythm & Hues, where he received his first credit as a compositor on his first feature film, Percy Jackson: Sea of Monsters. He has also composited VFX on Into the Storm, Dead of Summer, Future Man and When We Rise.

Shortly after wrapping on Percy Jackson: Sea Of Monsters, Hesham made his way to Zoic Studios, as part of the render team, as an on-set Zeus Operator as well as a compositor in house.  Zeus is Zoic’s proprietary system that allows experienced artists such as Hesham to do live keying on set and lay out the virtual environment so the directors/producers can accurately visualize and plan their shots with ease.  It’s a complex system of computers and camera tracking technology that significantly increases creativity on set.

When Hesham isn’t on set or compositing, he is bringing his years of expertise to helping the current Render Team. “Being in this industry for 5 years now, I love that I can wear many different hats”, says Hesham. “It is rare to have one person take on many tasks in this industry. I love being a compositor and bringing shots to life to help tell the story, but I also love that I can be on-set or bring my expertise to the render team.  I feel it makes me a stronger compositor since I understand different aspects of our industry.”

Hesham wants to work on anything that requires creativity and being able to use his talents.  He can also be seen on the other side of the camera, acting in over 13 different productions that include Altered Carbon, Arrow, Prison Break and X-Men Apocalypse.  He had a scene with Wentworth Miller, Dominic Purcell, Augustus Prew and Rick Yune on Prison Break, which was a dream come true. Prison Break was his favorite TV show of all time as a teenager. The show was cancelled, but fast-forward 9 years and he is acting on the series opposite the lead actors.

Hesham also got to film a scene on Once Upon A Time opposite Colin O’Donoghue and Faran Tahir. And then he ended up working on it in post-production!  “I had to do the visual effects on my own shot.  It’s a surreal feeling and a really neat experience being on both sides of the same production,” says Hesham.

Hesham grew up in Ottawa, Ontario and now resides in Vancouver, British Columbia. He is physically active and loves being outdoors in the sunshine. His health routine consists of waking up at 6:30 am then hits the gym for weights and high intensity cardio, while eating a strict healthy diet to keep him fit for the long days on set.

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