AMD Virtual Production Director James Knight, a performance capture and visual effects specialist, has enjoyed a lengthy and successful career in the film industry, earning acclaim for his work on projects that include The Amazing Spiderman, I Am Legend, Avatar, and Hulk, among countless others. James Knight’s remarkable creativity and penchant for innovation is clearly showcased in each of these visual masterpieces, earning praise for the seamless integration of the performance capture and live action sequences from audiences and critics alike.
Knight, who continues to live and work in Los Angeles, has also lent his talents to video game production. Among the many video games Knight has worked on, Star Wars: The Old Republic, Batman: Arkham City, Gotham Racing, and Scene It represent some of the more notable projects. Of course, Knight’s industry involvement is not limited to his work as virtual production director for AMD or his vast array of consulting endeavors, as he is also a member of the Visual Effects Society and The Academy’s Scientific and Technical Achievement Committee. Knight also sits on the board of directors for the Los Angeles Chapter of the British Academy of Film and Television Arts (BAFTA).
Knight’s status as an innovative force within the film industry is widely recognized by his peers, who often cite Knight’s creativity as a significant reason for the rapid advance in the quality of visual effects and performance capture over the past decade or so. In his current role with AMD, the longtime resident of Los Angeles aspires to continue to move the industry forward while inspiring others to do the same.
In what city/state was your first house located and approximately what year did you buy it?
I bought my first home — it must have been at least a decade ago — in Los Angeles, California.
What was your living situation prior to buying your first house? Where/with whom/etc?
There was an apartment complex in Santa Monica that housed a lot of up-and-coming film industry professionals, so I rented a place there for quite some time.
What motivated you to purchase your first house?
As work became more stable and I felt confident about my future in the film industry, it only made sense to buy a home in Los Angeles.
How did you go about getting the money together to buy it?
Once I made the decision to make Los Angeles my permanent home, I started saving a percentage of my earnings from each project so I could afford the down payment.
When you purchased, were you thinking of it as an investment or as a place to start a family. Please elaborate.
When I bought the home, I felt that it was simply more practical to own a home rather than rent.
What are 3 things you liked most about the house?
In addition to being much more affordable than I expected, the layout of the house was ideal for my needs and the location offered plenty of privacy without being too far away from work.
Was there anything you didn’t like about it?
It was more space than I thought I would need, but I’ve found ways to put all of the space to good use.
Did you make any improvements or major renovations to the house?
Yes, I knocked down one of the walls between two bedrooms to create a large home office/workspace.
Please share 1-2 of your fondest/funniest memories from living there.
My neighbors drop by from time to time while I’m working out of my home office, so I imagine it is a bit surreal to sit down for coffee or tea alongside actors still wearing a full body suit outfitted with the performance capture markers.
Do you still live there or did you sell it or renting it?
I still live there.
What advice would you give other first time home buyers?
I started out by researching the housing market to determine what kind of house would be most ideal for me. Once I figured that out, I worked to save enough money to buy the home without overextending myself financially. First-time buyers should consider doi