Mackevision

The work-life balance here is just right.

Frederick Cholewa

2D Compositor & Instructor

In his previous job, Frederick Cholewa brought fire-breathing dragons to life. These days, as a 2D compositor with Mackevision, the content of his work not quite so terrifying. We talk about breathtaking special effects, yoga in the lunch break – and the inestimable value of job security.

So Frederick, what’s it like being an expert in films?
Who says that I am?

Well, wasn’t that what you studied?
(laughs) Some of the time. I actually studied media design and production in Offenburg, Germany, majoring in films.

And now you’re working for a firm that has a habit of creating breathtaking visual effects…
True, we do turn out some top-class material − and that gives the whole company a real boost. But I’m afraid I have to disappoint you.

How so?
I don’t have anything to do with that directly.

Oh.
I’m a 2D compositor working in digital content production – and for me that’s awesome. Not just because of what my work involves but also because we’re such a great team.

What exactly does your work involve?
In simple terms, you could say we’re the last step before final quality inspection. We get the uncolored 3D renderings, color them logically and check everything for materiality and effect. So we’re responsible for making sure that the content is available in its final format and in the superior quality that our clients expect from us.

But didn’t you once work on a film set?
Yes − for Germany’s main public broadcasters ARD and ZDF. But that was between school and college. Even back then I was hooked on VFX. Artificial reality was the field I wanted to work in.  

We see ourselves as a team. No one walks down the corridor without looking left or right.

Frederick Cholewa

Is that why you shifted away from films?
At that point I didn’t want to get stuck in any specific field; I wanted to broaden my outlook. So I signed up as an intern with VFX companies, completed my studies and started working for Mackevision both during my practical semester and as a freelancer. Toward the end of my degree course the opportunity came up to take a full-time job with the company. I jumped at it and I haven’t regretted that for a second. The working conditions here are very good indeed.

How do you mean?
In the meantime I’ve started a family. And so along with the content of my work what’s also important is a level of continuity and job security. Added to which we have flexible working hours and we don’t have to regularly put in huge amounts of overtime. Believe me, in this industry, that’s the exception, not the rule. And we’ve grown so fast: Five years ago the Stuttgart office took up just a single floor.

And now?
We have four office blocks in all. But do you know what the most important thing is for me here?

No idea.
The atmosphere; the team spirit. We see ourselves as a team. No one walks down the corridor without looking left or right. Doors and ears are always open. We have a very flat hierarchy. In our lunch break, every now and then you’ll find us enjoying a PlayStation session with the head of department.

And of course you let him win…
(laughs) No way! But this only works so well because we have a great sense of mutual respect. I never lose sight of who ultimately has the final say – even if I win our lunchtime game by a mile.

Are there any other activities that you share?
Yes, there’s yoga.

Yoga?
Our trainer stops by once a week for a yoga session in our break. It all started out relaxed enough, but in the meantime it can get pretty strenuous.

So you’re all dripping with sweat and have an afternoon’s work ahead of you…
Fortunately we have the option of taking a shower in the gym next door. Anyone who wants to train there gets a staff discount. Some people play badminton there in the lunch break. But don’t get me wrong: when it comes to work, we’re all 100 percent focused. It’s the perfect blend.

At Mackevision there are always opportunities to step into a new role and add to your skills.

Frederick Cholewa

Most of the work in your department has to do with cars, right?
Yes, and the funny thing is, I’m not really a car fan at all. I don’t even own one (laughs). But I still find that I’ve developed an eye for automotive design over time – I automatically notice things about the way cars look out in the street, much more than I ever used to do.

You already said you’re a 2D compositor, but that’s not your only role, is it?
That’s right. I took a Chamber of Commerce course as a trainer, and in our department I’m responsible for the apprentices.

How many of them are there?
Across the company there are 30 or so. Every department has its own apprentice, but in the course of their apprenticeship they move from one part of the company to another. Which I think is great.

Why?
Because this way they acquire a far better grasp of what the whole company is about. They learn about the requirements and advantages of the various departments but also about their concerns and the issues they face. That’s a big help later on when you’re working on a cross-functional project. Added to which, this way the apprentices get to know a range of different jobs that could maybe appeal to them at some point in the future. At Mackevision there are always opportunities to step into a new role and add to your skills.

Profile

Frederick Cholewa

Location
Stuttgart, Germany

Department
2D Digital Content Production

Role
2D Compositer

Education
Study of Media Design & Production, majoring in films

Why Mackevision
Because it’s a great employer like hardly any other in the media industry – and because it’s a great fit with my colleagues.

What does your work with the apprentices actually involve?
I make sure that when our apprentices come on board they understand the tools and programs we use and are familiarized with our workflows. The standards are so high and the workflows so complex that as a beginner you’ll never find your way around without some help. Later on, we move on to discuss overarching topics as well.

Like what?
One thing we spend time on is photography.

Photography? But at Mackevision, where everything revolves around virtual reality, isn’t photography your arch-enemy?
The notion that one has nothing to do with the other is a fallacy. In fact, the opposite is true. What we aim to do is reflect reality with pictures – so perfectly that the onlooker can’t tell the difference. That’s the challenge we face up to every day. And we’ve mastered the art better than almost anyone else.

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