Top 6 of Merc's VFX on Versus Valerie

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It's been a bit of a dream working on the visual effects team for Versus Valerie, the amazing spinoff of Sexy Nerd Girl. As the season is coming to a close and the finale episode fast approaches, here's a compiled list of vfx shots Merc had the pleasure of working on for Val's story. In no particular order! I don't pick favourites here. They were just a lot of fun to work on.

Each episode has its own theme borrowed from one popular, geeky universe or another. The inaugural episode that kicked of the series called for an intro sequence in the style of BBC's hit series Sherlock. There's even a breakdown of how the effect was built, if you want to see how it was done. But really it was...elementary.

VFX Completed: Title sequence with a tilt-shift effect.


Episode 4 was the introduction of the Doctor, so of course that meant borrowing elements from Doctor Who. Admittedly I've only ever seen one episode of our good Doctor (but I've been told that it was the best episode, so quit while I'm ahead, yeah?), but am a big fan of the opening sequence. Recreating it was a bit of an experiment in creating a particle system for the tunnel and "piloting" a virtual camera through it.

VFX Completed: Travelling through time-space vortex with 3D text.


Speaking of the introduction of the good Doctor, when he shows up in Val's life when she's down in the alcohol-filled dumps his appearance is most epic.

VFX Completed: Animated 3D text, particle sparks, Michael Bay explosion behind the Doctor with some delicious lightwrap around him for good measure.


When Val and Peter Chao face off in Episode 6, they threw their balls down. A FPS paintball action sequence as Val tore up the battlefield and decimated her opponents. BOOM! Head shot.

VFX Completed: First-person HUD with moving reticule and compass/map; animated splashes of paint off of Val's kills.


Who no like adding blood and guts to the zombies? Very simple, but always fun. In Episode 7, Valerie faced her fears of past relationships and emotional baggage as we all eventually do: they take the form of the walking dead and she kicks some Ash!

VFX Completed: Adding gun blasts / sprays of blood to zombies, ejecting shotgun shells from Val's gun, blood spray hitting boxes behind zombie.


The series made use of a lot of great transitions from scene-to-scene. One of my favourites to work on was the transformation of Lyra from nerdy comic book clerk to Harley Quinn in mid-conversation with Val. Two shots blended into one, tracking and matchmoving the camera and some colour correction made her entrance a surprise.

VFX Completed: Like I said, two shots blended into one...tracking...matchmoving the camera action...colour correction...Surprise!


Phew! That's just to name a few. It's been great working with the vfx team on the show, along with Davin Lengyel and (in later episodes) Xerxes Cortex. And, of course, with director Mike Fly at the helm keeping us on track and guiding us along the way.

The big finale is coming up soon, so be sure to subscribe to Versus Valerie and catch it first when it comes out on August 8th.



Versus Valerie Official Website

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It Ain't Easy Being Chroma Green - Ignite Guelph talk

Nick Montgomery at Ignite Guelph 1

Back in the Spring I had the opportunity to speak at Ignite Guelph (like TED Talks, but much quicker). Here I was joined by other speakers as each of us got 5 minutes on stage to present pretty much anything we wanted to a room full of people ready to be enlightened. Given that at the time there was a lot of hubbub going around about the visual effects industry after what happened at the 2013 Academy Awards and the bankruptcy of several long-standing facilities, I decided to use this chance to inform folks what has befallen the wizards of movie magic and what has caused it. This proved to be incredibly difficult to sum up in just 5 minutes, so it has been immensely simplified. You'd be amazed how quickly those minutes go by when you're in front of a hundred or so people waiting to hear what the next words out of your mouth will be.

On top of all that, Merc Media had sponsored the event and so I was also in charge of filming everybody's speech. So you can now enjoy my talk along with the 14 others up on the Ignite Guelph channel. You'll be amazed at what you'll learn from these talks in such a short amount of time! Go give them a look-see.

Here's mine below. Big thanks to Shane Luis from ReRezTV for helping out with second camera, especially when I was on stage fumbling for words.

Stay tuned for an announcement for the next round of talks by visiting the official Ignite Guelph website.

So You Want to Start Your Own Web Series?

Lately I've noticed two things: I'm surrounded by people who are interested in the idea of producing their own web series (be it a narrative story, a weekly review show or a cooking show), and I myself have wanted to do a regular video series. Up until now, the only thing that was holding me back was the question of what the content of the series could be. As I went through the steps to realize what I could devote myself to covering in a web series, that being offering an insider's perspective to video production, it was obvious what my first episode should be about: things you should be thinking about when starting up a web series of your own.

I present to you the inaugural episode of Merc Media's channel: 'So You Want to Start Your Own Web Series'. It's for those who have little to no background in video production but are intrigued by the concept of starting a series and just need to know the first steps.