Luma Pictures Reviews

Updated 1 Mar 2020

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3.2
59%
Recommend to a Friend
42%
Approve of CEO
Luma Pictures President / CEO Payam Shohadai (no image)
Payam Shohadai
38 Ratings
Pros
  • "The culture team comes up with some nice activities once in a while(in 12 reviews)

  • "Interdepartmental conversation is strongly encourage also, which is a breath of fresh air compared to some studios(in 11 reviews)

Cons
  • "low pay and no career advancement - you might as well work in Bangalore(in 8 reviews)

  • "I wish they knew what it is like to work in other studios because they deserve to be treated better(in 7 reviews)

More Pros and Cons
  1. Helpful (4)

    "Great culture and brilliant people"

    5.0
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Compensation and Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee 
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    No Opinion of CEO

    I worked at Luma Pictures full-time

    Pros

    Great company culture. Literally every single person I worked with whilst I was there was brilliant. Normally, there's at least one person who's about as much use socially as merengue life-jacket, but everyone was lovely. You get taken care of with regards to food and all that sort of thing. And, as over-time goes, it's pretty tame compared to places like Weta Digital.

    Cons

    The budgeting of funds spent on events and other work-related expenses is sometimes a bit confusing. Spending a heap of money on something that could quite easily have been half the price. Environmentally, it's not as cutting-edge as it should be. The company is at the forefront of VFX, but the amount of food and energy wastage is pretty insane. This aspect of the company isn't really in keeping with the image that they're trying to cultivate.

  2. "Cool place"

    4.0
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Compensation and Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Lighting Artist in Melbourne
    Recommends

    I have been working at Luma Pictures full-time for more than a year

    Pros

    I've been working here for 2 years now, Luma is a cool/small studio with good projects, the environment is good, the culture department is really active, so we have events and parties quiet often, and they treat as really good. As is a small studio, you have direct contact with the supervisors which is really good to me, you can grow as an artist.

    Cons

    They payment is not the best, and sometime they take too long to give you answers about salary raise and this kind of matters.

  3. Helpful (1)

    "Luma Pictures - Anonymous Review"

    4.0
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Compensation and Benefits
    • Senior Management
     
    Recommends
    Neutral Outlook
    No Opinion of CEO

    I worked at Luma Pictures

    Pros

    I worked at Luma Pictures at the Melbourne studio for a short term contract. Here were my following impressions while working there: - Friendly staff and colleagues - Nice and open environment with all the desks grouped into circles so it's not rows like a factory. - Nice variety of culture events including regular snack bar and afternoon snack break, Friday night drinks too. - A great outdoor deck to view the city.

    Cons

    - Lack of documentation to help artists with their work and you do need to rely on asking for help all the time when you first start out at the studio. - Delayed communication between the Melbourne and LA studio which causes issues with receiving feedback and knowing if your contract is going to be extended. - Early morning start at 8am is not the most ideal time to start work.

  4. Helpful (8)

    "All work and no time off to be seen"

    1.0
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Compensation and Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee 
    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO

    I worked at Luma Pictures full-time for more than a year

    Pros

    The only pro is that the company does work on some exciting projects.

    Cons

    Expected to work all the time (over 60 hours a week) for very little pay. Management is very unprofessional and workers are treated very poorly. There is no job stability. A blind eye is given to bullying and harassment.

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  5. Helpful (10)

    "Hard, but a good step for Juniors"

    2.0
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Compensation and Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Artist in Melbourne
    Recommends
    Negative Outlook
    No Opinion of CEO

    I worked at Luma Pictures full-time for less than a year

    Pros

    -Get to work on some great movies, on some awesome shots. -Great studio space in a good location, lots of places for lunch and food/snacks are provided in the studio by the culture team. -Other employees are really lovely, met some fantastic people there. -They balance multiple projects at a time, so you'll pick up some credits in a short amount of time.

    Cons

    - Work/life balance is pretty bad, and while this is an issue throughout the whole industry it can be especially harsh at Luma. You'll be in the studio for at least 50 hours a week (with a 1 hour lunch each day) and there can be a lot of overtime near the end of a show (especially for those at the end of the production line). If you want to preserve some "you" time in the day you will probably want to live close to the studio, which unfortunately leads to the next issue: -Pay is low compared to the rest of the industry, and as other people have mentioned you only really get one opportunity to propose a salary. If you're a junior or someone early in their career you can't really complain but South Melbourne is also quite an expensive place to live. If you don't want to spend extra valuable hours in the day commuting, you'll want to live close by which can hurt the bank if you're running on a lower salary. - Supervisors/higher ups are intimidating and unapproachable. There's a definite "Boys Club" kind of attitude coming from the supervisors and the clique of longer term employees. This shouldn't be a character trait for someone you have to answer to day in and day out. This was one of the biggest issues I had and I haven't experienced it to this level in any other studios. This is probably the source of the "Frat House" attitude that many other reviews have mentioned. - Task tracking is almost non existent and poorly managed. All tasks were assigned to me via word of mouth and the task tracking system was rarely updated to reflect that. This didn't seem to be an issue for all departments though, so it might not be the case for everyone. Organization overall is an issue for Luma, a lot of the long hours and overtime feels like the result of poor organization rather than a large work load. -The "Culture" Is ok, I never had much of an issue with it but it isn't a necessary part of the studio. For the more introverted employees the pressure of having to socialize and participate in activities all the time can definitely add another layer of stress and exhaustion on top of their workload. It would be nice to see more understanding/catering to people like this, since this industry can attract some more reserved but incredibly talented people. Some of the nicest people I met at Luma were the more understated/shy ones. Luma is also one of the two major studios in Melbourne, so people living there in the VFX industry don't have many options and it's sad to see so many people ruled out. -A small one, but every day they call everyone into the kitchen at 4 to have snacks that the culture team has prepared. I appreciate them doing this but most of the time the food is sugary junk food like donuts and ice cream. Sitting down at a computer for almost 10 hours a day is already a pretty unhealthy lifestyle, It would to get more healthy alternatives with the occasional snack instead of the other way around.

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  6. Helpful (14)

    "Bizarre"

    2.0
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Compensation and Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee in Melbourne
    Doesn't Recommend
    Neutral Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO

    I worked at Luma Pictures full-time

    Pros

    For people new to the VFX industry, it's a cool feeling to be working on big super hero movies The studio space is very modern and the interior design is fun Great selection of free food and snacks Melbourne is a nice city If you don't have much experience, you have more chance getting a job here than the other Australian VFX studios

    Cons

    It's been a few years since I worked at Luma, but I've been keeping an eye on the reviews and it doesn't sound like that much has changed, so i thought i'd add my two cents. At the time, I didn't have many other studios to compare it to, but now that I have I can say with certainly that Luma was...unique?! The culture was bizarre....imagine.. ...mandatory shots (i.e. tequila/vodka) at 9am on Mondays, mandatory 12.30-1.30 lunch break (a gong is rung to signal this and you must leave your desk), enforced 'team bonding' activities on weekends (not mandatory but frowned upon to miss), 'school register' taken at 8.05am (i.e. 5 minutes after you're meant to be there) and a record kept of whoever's more than 5 minutes late. There was some kind of penalty for being 5-minutes late more than 3 times, can't remember what it was. Weekly staff meetings where someone might get 'made staff' and get a prize, and the boss gives a speech about how great they are. Everyone claps and wonders 'when will it be me..?' 'How do i get this honour?' Then Employee of the Week will be announced and another person has to play a weird game in front of the whole crew (like throw a bowling ball) to win another prize . You get the idea.... Most companies have a little staffpolitics going on, some favouritism..but i've never seen it more flagrant than at Luma. Super high staff turnover as a consequence, and even the favourites leave after a few years. Nearly everyone who I saw get 'made staff' has left by now. The staff was mainly made up of people they'd brought over from the US (most of whom had been promoted in the process so didn't have a very good grasp of their roles), and local graduates who were clearly being paid the minimum. The favourites of these were hastily groomed to fill senior roles. Overtime was bad, as many other reviews have mentioned, and they're not honest about how much will be expected. Pay wasn't terrible, but again there's this weird element to it - they tell you after interview 'make us an offer and we'll either accept it or not. We don't do negotiations'. So obviously most people go in a bit low. Ironically I then got haggled down, and later heard quite a few other people did too. So basically they only negotiate one way?! Having said alllll this....Luma has, over the years, given a lot of inexperienced artists their 'foot in the door' of an otherwise very competitive industry. This is perhaps their saving grace. So you're new to VFX and fancy a few crazy months in return for a feature film credit, I'd say go for it!

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  7. Helpful (3)

    "Great little company doing big work"

    5.0
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Compensation and Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Digital Artist in Melbourne
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    No Opinion of CEO

    I worked at Luma Pictures full-time

    Pros

    Luma is a fantastic little company doing a lot of things right. Their culture team is second to none, always making sure people feel comfortable, looked after and they're always (literally every day) planning something for the staff to get them away from their desks and to relax. Project wise Luma works on some of the biggest films out there and has recently starting doing some stellar photorealistic shots. They're extremely nurturing of talent, taking the time and having faith in their junior artists to do big, challenging shots. The biggest pro to working at Luma is the people. They have a team of extremely dedicated and talented artists who get together and socialize, which I think is a main reason their work has taken a leap forward over the last few years. Interdepartmental conversation is strongly encourage also, which is a breath of fresh air compared to some studios.

    Cons

    High intensity and high turnover (of shows and shots), and that comes with some OT, especially at crunch time. 8am start makes an already demanding job which often entails long hours anyway even more tiring, you feel that extra hour a day add up and take it's toll.

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  8. Helpful (6)

    "Awesome work, amazing culture team, poor/ inconsiderate higher management."

    2.0
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Compensation and Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee in Melbourne
    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook

    I have been working at Luma Pictures full-time for less than a year

    Pros

    A great opportunity to work on big titles. An amazing number of talented and social co workers. Compared to other studios ive worked at, a great amount of space is given to each individual artist in regards to workspace. A very dedicated culture team, who really put in the elbow grease to ensure the artists are comfortable, excluding higher culture management who come accross as intimidating and un-approachable. A great location with a wide range of options for eating out.

    Cons

    Higher management very intimidating. There is a facade of a very open channel of communication and interaction. However their is clear favouritism in the way 'higher' management deal and interact with specific employees. The grindy culture is very prominent, there are inconsistencies within lumas core culture. I do not agree with it being a "frat house", but i do feel the "friendly/approachable" culture isnt genuine amoungst higher management. Over my time at luma so far, i feel uncomfrotable around the VP. As someone who has worked at more than a handful of vfx studios, i have never felt belittled as i have felt here at my time with luma.

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  9. Helpful (4)

    "At Least They're Trying"

    3.0
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Compensation and Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee in Melbourne
    Doesn't Recommend
    Neutral Outlook
    No Opinion of CEO

    I have been working at Luma Pictures full-time

    Pros

    Luma is in South Melbourne city fringe suburb with everything you need close by. Supermarket, chemists, postshops, banks and endless eateries. Big tent pole hollywood films. In-house cleaner employed during work hours. This doesn't sound much but other VFX houses I have worked for contract a cleaning company for after hours. Dishes would pile up to the point no one can use the kitchen. Luma having a cleaner on site is a huge pro. Free breakfasts and snacks. Sometimes homemade. Usually VFX houses would give out crew shirts. Luma goes beyond that and gives out more freebies than most studios. Bag, drink bottle and looks like many more to come.

    Cons

    It seems after difficult shows and/or mass staff departures there's increase in negative reviews. I was asked (by a non-artist staff member) to write a 5 star review spinning the cons as pros. It was not an official meeting but it was within the studio walls during work hours. It's unclear if this was said in the moment or was part of a plan to increase ratings. Understaffed. Luma has difficulty attracting artists. Luma is super picky, pays low and has a bad reputation in the industry. Minimal overtime, a chance for growth, we work hard and party hard were the few things I was told during my interview. There is too much overtime. It's not more than other VFX houses I have worked for but I was paid time and a half after 40 hours in previous VFX houses. Some paid double after 50 hours and on weekends. Luma gives you an hour of TOIL for each hour you work. 1:1. You have the option of getting paid the TOIL every 3 months if you don't use it. Luma will not give me a performance review. I can't work on my faults if I don't know what they are. I would love to get my supervisor's opinion on my strengths and weaknesses. Artists want to grow within Luma but Luma needs to meet halfway. Now for the culture. "We work hard and party hard". In reality it can be too distracting during work hours.

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  10. Helpful (8)

    "Cool For Short Stints - Do Not Recommend For All"

    1.0
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Compensation and Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee in Melbourne
    Doesn't Recommend
    Neutral Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO

    I worked at Luma Pictures full-time

    Pros

    Big comfortable desks. I have worked at studios with only 2 feet of space between artists. Luma gives you a big workspace with elbow room. Interior is nice. There's designer furniture some are one offs that were designed and made for Luma. Free snacks and breakfasts. At times Luma will offer activities like BBQs, movie screenings. Free teas and coffees. Decent kitchen. You can even cook your lunches. You get to work on hollywood movies. Specifically Marvel films.

    Cons

    Low pay and short contracts. Pay is one of the lowest in the industry. Luma renews contracts or not inappropriately late. One week before end of contract you will be notified if your lucky. This is inconsiderate. The culture is very childish. Loud music played all the time. The music turns ON at 8am to signal you should be at your desk working. It's opposite of what it should be. It's like the frat houses you see in American movies. Hours are 8am-6pm with 1 hour unpaid lunch and 2 x 15 unpaid minute breaks. You work 50 hours per week but only paid for 42.5 hours but Luma claims 45 hours for film incentives offered by Australian government. There's blatant favouritism from culture. It's clear as day. If you don't fit into Luma's fun cool mould you will be an outsider. Favouritism in production is less conspicuous but it exists.

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Found 56 reviews