Vértigo FX visual effects studio: the dream of Tijuana native Alejandro Miranda that is conquering Netflix and Apple TV+

Vértigo FX has managed to position itself internationally, reaching platforms such as Netflix, Amazon Prime Video, and Apple TV+

The city of Tijuana has consolidated itself, little by little, as a reference of quality and creativity in the audiovisual and cinematographic industry. In the landscape of visual effects, for example, there is a name that stands out: Vértigo FX.

Firstly, it should be noted that visual effects are the manipulation or creation of digital images during the production of an audiovisual project, after it is filmed.

Regarding Vértigo FX, it was a studio founded in 2017 by experts from Method, Scanline, MPC, and Rodeo FX. Headquartered in the border city, they quickly consolidated themselves as a reference of quality and creativity in the industry.

Since its beginnings, the studio has been committed with technical and visual excellence in each of its projects, creating great results for television, movies, and commercials. At the same time, they have been nominated and won awards due to their high-quality work.

The San Diego Red team had the chance to interview Alejandro Miranda Palombo, CEO of Vértigo FX who spoke about their career in the industry, their studio's vision, and some of their most outstanding works.

Vértigo FX for Netflix production: "Who killed Sarah?"
Vértigo FX for Netflix production: "Who killed Sarah?"

From imagining it to creating it: Vértigo FX

The idea of Vértigo FX was born more than a decade ago, a little bit after Alejandro Miranda began his career in visual effects.

After working in the only company in Latin America that was collaborating directly with Hollywood in Mexico City, Alejandro found his first big project with "Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides " (2011).

From that moment on, he knew that eventually he would begin his own project and despite some challenges, each experienced allowed him to learn and continue preparing.

After working in several different places, including Canada and Los Angeles, it was in the latter where he decided to once again think about creating his own studio while working on Game of Thrones.

"I grew up in Tijuana and I have family members here, so it seemed like the perfect moment to take advantage of this proximity and begin a school of visual effects," he explained.

The opportunity came up with the Mexican film "Sanctorum" where both he and his team worked with limited resources from an apartment rented in Zona Río Tijuana.

During this project, they decided to formalize the name of their studio, although initially it was named just Vértigo and not Vértigo FX. After completing the movie, they were nominated to an Ariel prize for best visual effects, which was a significant award, which allowed them to formalize their office and make their work team grow.

Photo by: Vértigo FX
Photo by: Vértigo FX

Collaborating with the giants of streaming: Netflix and Prime Video

Despite an impressive personal portfolio and extensive experience in visual effect production, leading a company is a very different challenge and Alejandro Miranda has that clear.

To position a studio more than that is required, not only is the management of projects and supervising teams necessary, it is also important to have negotiation skills to reach great movie and television production companies.

"It has been a very gratifying experience but also very challenging (...) the simple fact of having a good resume is not enough, there are a lot of interests involved," Alejandro explained.

After working in "Sanctorum"; the studio had its first big chance in a Netflix project "Who Killed Sarah?" where Vértigo FX faced the challenge of convincing the project’s director and the streaming platform of their professional skills despite their short formal history.

Photo by: Vértigo FX
Photo by: Vértigo FX

"To make sure that we got this chance, I decided to do a test," Alejandro said and he took a picture of a building in Santa Fe, Mexico City, and created a fire scene with visual effects to show off his skills. The strategy worked, impressing the production team and ensuring Vértigo FX a place in the project.

From there, they have managed to work in several important productions for Netflix, Amazon, Prime Video, and Apple TV as well as independent and commercial projects.

Photo by: Vértigo FX
Photo by: Vértigo FX

Future projects: What is the vision of Vértigo FX's vision?

The COVID-19 pandemic and strikes by the SAG-AFTRA strike in Hollywood in 2023 significantly affected the entertainment industry, which is why some studios, including Vértigo FX, are still expecting to recover until the end of this year.

Besides TV projects and some contributions to streaming platforms, the studio is exploring new commercial opportunities and immersive experiences.

"We have also been working with another studio in a project called "Cada minuto cuenta" that talks about the earthquake in 1985 in Mexico City," Alejandro Miranda said.

Vértigo FX continues to position itself with new projects and strategic collaborations, however, nothing can be revealed due to confidentiality issues.

Photo by: Vértigo FX
Photo by: Vértigo FX

Artificial Intelligence: An asset or threat to audiovisual production?

Technology changes very quickly and if there is an issue that everyone's talking about is the use of artificial intelligence and it is because this tool can be an asset or a threat for audiovisual artists and creators.

Regarding this, Alejandro Miranda, said the following:

For me, it is a tool, I don't think that it is going to take our jobs but it is going to help us. It will help us to accelerate tedious processes that, I must make clear, have nothing to do with creativity, but other aspects.

He also said that it is important to be at the forefront of market trends and know how to apply new technologies, especially to deal with competitiveness.

"We constantly have to compete with other studios in Mexico, the United States, or other countries. And that is good, because if you apply it correctly, it means you raise your standards so that your work stands out and it works for the client," he added.

Opportunities for young people in Tijuana: Vértigo FX

Alejandro Miranda recognizes that every great project has highs and lows, which is why his main advice for young people is to work on something they feel passionate about.

The path to create what you wish for is complicated, because to do things correctly, you need to make sacrifices. The best thing to do is to do what you are passionate about, because, regardless of how bad your day has been, you will wake up with a desire to overcome these obstacles.

Miranda spoke about the importance of facing one day at a time, enjoy victories as much as you can, and to be constant in the search of opportunities.

If I could give some advice to 20-year-old me it would be to look for heroes (...) to young people I tell them to identify what they are passionate about, not something they hate, and if they do it because they need money, the best advice to have is that they should have a plan. Because the experience a company that is doing big things and is positioned well is worth 10 times more than one that pays double but it is just mediocre.

For those who wish to learn about visual effects, Vértigo FX offers talks, workshops, and visual effects courses in nuke and digital composition in Tijuana.

Right now, they are promoting a talk with Jaime Jasso, a renowned matte painter and Mexican director with more than 25 years of visual effects experience in movies, videogames, and visual media. The talk is completely free and it will take place on July 5 at 5 PM at Sala Federico Campbell in Centro Cultural Tijuana.

Jaime Jasso has been part of some of the most important matte painter teams in the world in ILM and has significantly contributed to cinematic sagas such as Star Wars, Avatar, Marvel, Halo, and more. In addition, he is a member of the VFX team that won an Oscar for Avatar and has won an Ariel Award for best visual effects for Aztech.

Click here to save a spot and register!.

Learn more about Vértigo FX

Located strategically in Tijuana, Baja California, the studio takes advantage of its geographical position to address the digital production needs of entertainment companies in Latin America and the United States.

Its focus on quality and innovation has allowed them to collaborate with streaming giants such as Netflix and Amazon Prime Video.

Check out their social media pages:

Learn more about Alejandro Miranda

Alejandro Miranda Palombo is a Mexican artist, creator, and visual effect supervisor born in Tijuana and he is the CEO of Vértigo FX.

His professional career has been marked by great cinematographic projects such as Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides (2011), Godzilla (2014), Maleficent (2014), Fast and Furious 8 (2017), and shows such as Game of Thrones (2017) and Stranger Things (2022). Learn more about his career here!.



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