Co-founder | Executive Visual Effects Producer
Tim Caplan is the co-founder of Union and its lead visual-effects executive producer. His multi-disciplined experience in visual effects combines creative and technical expertise with production efficiency.
Prior to launching Union in 2008 with partner Adam Gascoyne, Caplan played a pivotal role in the start-up of two of London’s leading visual-effects facilities – Cinesite and Mill Film. Joining Cinesite shortly after graduating with a mathematics degree from Sussex University, his technical abilities propelled him rapidly through the company’s scanning and recording department, helping to establish Cinesite as a standard-setter for the global visual-effects industry.
Caplan then moved on to Mill Film, the feature arm of The Mill. His decade-long stint at Ridley and Tony Scott’s acclaimed post-production studio principally involved heading up the digital film department and producing visual effects for films and commercials. During this period, Caplan developed a deep understanding of the delivery requirements for every type of film project while honing his management and department-building skills. Notable credits from this era include Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets, Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone, Lara Croft: Tomb Raider and Gladiator. He also worked directly for Universal on Mamma Mia!
At Union, Caplan manages the company and its projects in the role of executive producer, as well as producing the visual effects for the majority of its projects.
Co-founder | Visual Effects Supervisor
Adam Gascoyne is the co-founder of Union and its lead visual-effects supervisor. Renowned for his creative approach to visual-effects production, he has worked with many of today’s leading filmmakers, establishing close collaborations with directors Danny Boyle, Stephen Frears and Roger Michell, among others.
Gascoyne’s career began back in the early Nineties at the leading London visual-effects facility Cinesite, where he built a reputation for technical expertise in Flame. At the end of the 1990s, he was offered a job in New York with Spontaneous Combustion, a visual-effects studio serving the commercials and entertainment industries. It was here that he experienced first-hand the creative energy generated by working in a boutique studio atmosphere.
In 2001, Gascoyne returned to London, where he worked on several high-profile films, including Cats & Dogs, Black Hawk Down, Die Another Day and The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen. This grounding in high-end visual effects for feature films combined with the creative experience gained in New York won him his first executive role in 2004, when he was appointed visual-effects supervisor at London’s Clear Film, where he went on to serve as head of film VFX. During this period, he continued to work as a freelance facility supervisor for, among others, Moving Picture Company and Rainmaker UK, adding Kingdom of Heaven, La Vie en Rose, Slumdog Millionaire and the HBO series Rome to his CV.
In 2008, Gascoyne set up Union with producer Tim Caplan. It was bold move at the time, given the downturn in both the global economy and the UK visual-effects sector. He supervised all of Union’s early projects, which included blockbusters 127 Hours, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2 and The Woman in Black.
As part of Danny Boyle’s core team for the London 2012 Olympic Opening Ceremony, Gascoyne was responsible for supervising the three films created by Union that were featured during the critically acclaimed event. He was also credited as a director of photography. Following the success of the Olympics, he was named as one of London’s 1000 Most Influential People of 2012 by the Evening Standard.
Lucy Cooper joined Union Visual Effects in April 2016. As managing director, she’s responsible for executing the company’s strategic vision, including business operations, people and new ventures, while ensuring that the culture and identity for which they are known is preserved.
After gaining a law degree from the University of Aberdeen and an MSc in Marketing from the University of Strathclyde, Lucy began her career at Scottish Television before a move to London and the world of post production. Her 20 years of experience spans a variety of creative companies across broadcast, film and television post production and physical special effects.
In 2008, she joined VFX software vendor The Foundry, where she spent 8 years as a key member of the team that grew the company from 30 passionate people into a 330+ strong company with a valuation of £200M - building critical business connections among artists, studios, industry influencers and organisations, while developing the company’s identity and culture. During her tenure, Foundry products won two Sci-Tech Awards from the Academy of Motion Arts and Science and their software was used on every film awarded the Academy Award for Best Visual Effects since 2011.
Lucy is passionate about encouraging inclusion, diversity, awareness and opportunity within the VFX industry. She serves as a board member of Animated Women UK as well as being an active participant in the industry’s ACCESS:VFX movement. She also completed Cranfield School of Management’s “Women as Leaders” programme.
Creative Director Simon Hughes joined Union in 2012, bringing with him a rare breadth of knowledge gained from nearly two decades of experience with studios in both the UK and Canada.
Hughes embarked upon his visual-effects career in 1997, when he joined the leading London visual-effects facility Cinesite. He worked his way through Cinesite’s editorial, scanning and recording, and compositing departments before moving on to take progressively more responsible compositing roles at Double Negative, Clear Film and CIS/Rainmaker. During this time, he helped to set up two film departments and took on his first project as 2D supervisor.
Hughes’ early experience working on the likes of Gladiator, several of the Harry Potter films and Kingdom of Heaven gave him a firm grounding in the production of high-end visual effects for blockbuster features. Meanwhile, films such as A Cock and Bull Story, 1408 and Inkheart gave him the opportunity to develop his highly regarded creative skills.
In 2008, Hughes moved to Image Engine in Vancouver to work on the Academy Award-nominated District 9, for which he was honoured with a Visual Effects Society award for Outstanding Compositing in a Feature Motion Picture. Following this accolade, Hughes became one of the most sought-after visual-effects supervisors in Vancouver’s rapidly developing industry, with credits including Universal Pictures’ Safe House, Immortals, Law Abiding Citizen, The Losers and The Factory. During this period, he spent many months on sets around the world, gaining both technical and creative expertise, and bolstering his burgeoning reputation as a highly inventive and flexible VFX supervisor.
Visual-effects supervisor James Etherington-Sparks joined Union in 2017.
James started his career in 2001 at Cinesite where he was a Runner and Data Op before joining the 2D team where he did roto for compositors including Union Co-founder Adam Gascoyne.
In 2004 he joined Clear working on Millions and Kingdom of Heaven before stints at The Mill, The Senate and Double Negative before settling at the latter for more than a decade.
He started supervising in 2010 and has amassed an eclectic range of credits ranging from VFX Supervisor on season one of Sherlock (for which he received an Emmy nomination), Downton Abbey and British Indie Fast Girls through to 2D Supervisor at Double Negative on projects including Ron Howard’s Inferno, and most recently Christopher Nolan’s Dunkirk.
James’ Credits include:
Millions, Kingdom of Heaven, Sherlock, Downtown Abbey, The Dark Knight, Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, Captain America: The First Avenger, Man of Steel, Total Recall, The Hunger Games, Insurgent, Inferno and Dunkirk.
Visual Effects Producer
Noga Alon-Stein is Union’s visual effects producer.
Noga has been with Union since the company’s inception. As Union’s projects have grown in terms of complexity and volume of VFX work so has Noga’s experience and team.
Noga ensures everything is on track from quote to delivery and is a primary client contact. Her credits range from the London 2012 Olympics Opening Ceremony to Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2 and everything in-between.