(variety.com) Cinematographers live in interesting times, with technological developments offering more options, but also opening the door for others to meddle with the image.
“It’s a changing time and that’s not a bad thing because we have new tools. The bad part is that our influence is diminishing,” Steven Poster, who is a former president of the American Society of Cinematographers, said recently at a session organized by Technicolor at Camerimage, a festival dedicated to cinematography.
Poster, whose credits include “Donnie Darko,” said that this decline in influence started when crews stopped watching film dailies and switched to lower-quality video dailies. With film dailies, everyone could appreciate the look the cinematographer was trying to achieve.
“It gave a sense of the scope, the look, the feel and the emotional output of the movie,” he said. “It created a kind of gestalt that made everybody work in a particular direction.”
“We started living with people watching our work and not knowing what it was we were doing,” he said. “We lost a sense of the magic of what we were doing as directors of photography.”
Poster said that one option was to do the coloring on the set in front of everybody, as he did on his last movie, “Amityville: The Awakening.”
“They are seeing what your intent is. All of a sudden people start to feel the magic is coming back,” he said.
Poster said it is very important to work closely with the digital imaging technician, as “it gives you the control over the image that has been lost.”
Unfortunately some studios had started to say it wasn’t necessary to have a DIT on set, especially on TV productions.
Digital technology offers the director the opportunity to change the look of the film in post.
Ed Lachman, who was Oscar nommed for “Far from Heaven,” said that he recently worked with a director who wanted to color correct every shot with him.
Matthew Libatique, who was Oscar nommed for “Black Swan,” said: “Directors think they have ownership over the color of a movie because they see something they like and they know they can do it on their f—ing laptops.”
He added: “If you are worth your salt as a cinematographer, you’ve already baked in the majority of the look. You are 99% there. Why are we spending four weeks doing it again?”
Shooting in 4K offers the chance to reframe shots. Libatique said that David Fincher sits down with his d.p., Jeff Cronenweth, and reframes every shot.
Nancy Schreiber added that if there are visual effects that can make it even more difficult to control the image. “The VFX supervisors are really trying to take control, and we have to insinuate ourselves in that situation very early on, even if they don’t want us to,” she said.
‘Transformers’ At the Oscars Isn’t The Joke You Think It Is
(filmschoolrejects.com) What’s the easiest target in Hollywood? Simple. Transformers: Age of Extinction for Best Picture of the Year.
Awards season is upon us, and like every other studio in existence, Paramount has been sending out a bevy of “For Your Considerations” — polite requests that you consider their year’s fare for a crop of Oscars. Among that crop is Age of Extinction, a film with a sickly 18% on Rotten Tomatoes, that managed the unconscionable sin of having a giant robot wielding a sword and riding on an even giant-er robot that’s also a T-Rex that can breathe fire…and still being a thick grey slab of dullness.
Check out the “For Your Consideration” here if you’d like — it’s probably worth a look, if just for Stanley Tucci’s “running in slow-mo” face. And, as you can expect, this move is the current laughingstock of the Internet, prompting a stream of pointing, giggling and the occasional middle finger from both online publications and regular Joes on Twitter. Let’s get something straight. You and I and people who’ve never seen a single Transformers film and even the Pope, probably, all know that Age of Extinction will never be nominated for Best Picture. It’s probably safe to say that Paramount knows it too (hell, if they’re savvy enough to steer this clunker to more than a billion dollars worldwide, they’re savvy enough to know how Oscars work).
This is more than likely just a push to get Age of Extinction out there on the awards circuit in a big way — where it will no doubt be passed over for Best Picture (also Best Director and Best Adapted Screenplay, both of which are on the ad) and considered for the mass of technical nominations that are more Transformers‘ forte. Also, awards pushes like these are often part of the contract when studios finance a film, meaning Transformers for Best Picture was a gambit decided upon long ago.
But even that’s beside the point. Because while the Internet was busy pointing and laughing at these silly metal monstrosities — how dare they think they can win awards? – Transformers was busy reeling in a shit-ton of awards.
First, there’s the original 2007 Transformers, which was nominated for three Oscars, albeit with no wins: Best Achievement in Sound Mixing, Best Achievement in Sound Editing and Best Achievement in Visual Effects.
That’s about par for the course — Transformers scored either sound effects or mixing nominations from the Cinema Audio Society, the Motion Picture Sound Editors and the Online Film & Television Association. Effects-wise, Transformers won awards from the Academy of Science Fiction, Fantasy & Horror Films, the Awards Circuit Community Awards, Hollywood Film Awards, the Los Vegas Film Critics Society, the Online Film & Television Association and the Visual Effects Society Awards. And then a heap of noms on top of that.
Then come the categories you’d never expect — a Saturn Award nomination for Best Science Fiction Film and a BMI Film Music Award for composer Steve Jablonsky, And of course, wins that absolutely don’t count- stuff like the MTV Movie Awards or the British National Movie Awards, which are decided on by popular vote (where a box-office slugger like Transformers is a shoo-in to win).
That Transformers gets so many sound/effects-based nominations shouldn’t be surprising in the least — when picking a crop of four or five top films, people will probably choose the largest films with the largest amount of dollars spent on VFX. Films that are exactly like Transformers.
What’s odd is how often Transformers won out against others, considering how often the Transformers look and sound like mismatched Erector sets having sex. Especially in 2007 — a year that also hosted the third Pirates of the Caribbean movie and its remarkably real Davy Jones. That Pirates didn’t sweep every category may have more to do with the technical side of things — how well did the sound effects team capture the sound of lusty Erector sets? — more than the artistic value of such an awful thing.
Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen
Next comes 2009’s Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen. It’s largely a repeat of last time. A sound mixing nomination from the Academy Awards, the Cinema Audio Society, the Motion Picture Sound Editors and a Satellite Award nom thrown in for good measure. Visual Effects nominations came from the Satellite Awards and the Visual Effects Society. Like the first Transformers, Steve Jablonksy’s getting a BMI Music Award and the film’s getting a Best Science Fiction Film nom from the Saturn Awards.
Yet there’s a general drop in quantity here. There’s a handful of new accolades — say, a nod for compositing from the Hollywood Post Alliance, a SAG Award nomination thrown at a laundry list of stuntmen, or a hard-to-believe acting nomination for Ramon Rodriguez (playing Shia LaBeouf’s wacky roommate is apparently worthy of praise) from the American Latino Media Arts Awards. But mostly, what was “won” is now “nominated,” and what was “nominated” is now gonezo. Transformers won more VFX awards than Revenge of the Fallen was even nominated for.
Whether the effects in Revenge of the Fallen were actually worse or not, the movie certainly was. And that might have been all the awards-giving population needed (that and the general sense of “been there, done that” that comes standard with any sequel) to move onto greener technical awards pastures.
Also, Revenge of the Fallen was the only Transformers film to win a Razzie (three of them, no less- Picture, Director, Screenplay). That’s got to count for something.
Full article: http://filmschoolrejects.com/
For Your Consideration Link: http://www.paramountguilds.
From Hero to Zero – Famous Action Films with Special-effects Trickery Removed
(showbizspy.com) Take away the CGI and 300: Rise Of An Empire is just a bunch of blokes with no shirts on.
Computer-generated imagery is now so important in the film industry that it is shoe-horned into almost every movie.
CGI is used for tiny things, such as adding or removing objects in the backgrounds of scenes, or it can totally replace actors and sets for entire scenes – sometimes entire movies.
When done correctly, computer animation is breathtaking, and can transport audiences to places they could never normally go.
VIDEO - Take a look: http://showbizspy.com/
This is not CGI or Pre-render: "Uncharted 4" Dev Sheds Light on Stunning Visual Shaders
(psu.com) Naughty Dog’s Yibing Jiang has spilled some tantalizing tidbits on the shader work that goes into creating the stunning visuals seen in its hotly anticipated action-adventure sequel, Uncharted 4: A Thief’s End.
As the game’s Shading Artist, Jiang is instrumental in creating Nathan Drake’s dashing next-generation looks, and shared some comments on how the studio was able to overhaul his chiselled features for PS4.
"Real-time rendered in game. This is not CGI or pre-render, which means all the shading features for skin, hair, eyes need to be written in code.
Using Disney Diffuse model, GGX Brdf model and Screen Space Subsurface.
Hair is using Kajiya-kay Brdf model.
Frank Tzeng did the sculpting and texturing for his face and arms."
It’s not just Drake’s boyish good looks that have seen a considerable improvement for his PS4 debut. The cheeky fortune hunter’s clothing has also received just as much attention, which Jiang further explains:
“Real-time rendered in game. This is not CGI or pre-render, built the fabric shader package for all the main characters and npc characters as well.
Using Disney Diffuse Model, recreated Brdf model just for the fabric, also added special cheap Sub-surface Scatter.
All the fabric details, stitches, small wrinkles, wear and tears were built in shader.
Colin Thomas did modeling and texturing part for the outfit.”
Uncharted 4 received its first gameplay video at the PlayStation Experience a few weeks ago. Naughty Dog soon begun drip-feeding us a number of facts about its upcoming sequel, including the fact Drake will support 800 facial animations and fully-animated gun straps.
The developer also released a high-res comparison shot of Drake’s Uncharted 4 model alongside his Uncharted 3 counterpart.
Uncharted 4 is due for release in 2015.
Five Years Ago, 'Avatar' Grossed $2.7 Billion But Left No Pop Culture Footprint
(forbes.com) James Cameron’s Avatar defied the skeptics and became the highest-grossing film of all-time, but five-years later it is all-but-forgotten in the pop culture landscape.
Today is the fifth anniversary of the theatrical release of James Cameron’s 3D action spectacular. Avatar earned rave reviews, went on to become by-far the highest-grossing movie of all time, and won several Oscars. It absolutely almost immediately vanished from the popular zeitgeist leaving almost no pop culture impact to speak of. It did not inspire a passionate following, or a deluge of multimedia spin-offs that has kept the brand alive over the last five years. Few today will even admit to liking it, and its overall effect on the culture at large is basically non-existent. It came, it crushed all long-term box office records, and it vanished almost without a trace.
Full article: http://www.forbes.com/sites/
Live-Action Film Sailor Moon To Get Transformers Cred?
classicalite.com) Their have been talks that Sailor Moon, which was created in the 1990s and spawned a series of manga and eventually an extremely popular anime series, may be turning into a live action movie in the near future. Sailor Moon was just revised in celebration of the 20-year anniversary, with a direct adaption of the original series but new styling to keep it fresh and interesting. This revamp has spurred a resurgence of the already-popular series and has led to talks of the live-action film in its future.
Rumors flew when previous talks said that Geena Davis would be starring as Queen Beryl, and now Megan Fox has expressed interest in playing the lead role of Usagi Tsukino, Sailor Moon's civilian alter ego. According to Kpop Starz, Fox revealed that she would be excited to bring the project to the big screen as the lead role, though she expressed some concern about American interest.
“That could feasibly be made into a live-action movie. I don’t know how many Americans were into that. I was into that, but I don’t know how huge it was here,” says Fox.
Though Fox seems skeptical, Sailor Moon has far-reaching capability, with fans of the show on nearly every continent. Many die-hard lovers of Sailor Moon have expressed that they do not believe Fox to be the right choice for the film. But others praise her natural passion for the project and believe it may shine through in her acting.
Whatever the case may be, hopefully, for anime lovers, the rumors of this live-action adaptation become a reality in the near future.
Call for Entries Issued For 2015 AICE Post Prod Awards
(shootonline.com) 14th Annual post production industry awards competition to honor excellence in a wide range of disciplines on in Los Angeles.
AICE has announced its Call for Entries for the 14th annual AICE Awards competition, the premiere creative competition for the post production industry in the US and Canada. The 2015 AICE Awards includes 21 categories: 16 for editorial and five for other post production crafts such as audio mixing, color grading, design, sound design and visual effects. Winners will be announced at the AICE Awards Show, set for , at the Skirball Cultural Center in Los Angeles.
The deadline for entries is . Full d
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Hulk Movie Excluded From Future Standalone Marvel Projects
(kdramastars.com) The Hulk movie is officially a snubbed franchise in the Marvel Cinematic Universe.
It looks like The Hulk movie isn't a Marvel Studios priority, in spite of continuing clamor from fans that the Green Avenger have his own standalone outing in cinemas.
A recent interview with Joss Whedon confirmed the Hulk will remain confined as an Avengers teammate, that is, he will be in the same league as Hawkeye, excluded from future standalone projects.
Whedon quoted Marvel Studios President Kevin Feige as saying, "We think right now it's good to have somebody who we could only have in The Avengers," referring to The Hulk.
Whedon was somewhat relieved he didn't have to make another solo Avenger movie; Iron Man, Thor, and Captain America came out with blockbuster solo films, with sequels and trilogies to boot.
"Everybody loves Mark [Ruffalo]. He's phenomenal. But the fact that there hasn't been a Hulk since that Hulk, it doesn't suck. I mean, my job is hard enough.
Cap's had a movie, Thor's had a movie. Everyone's gone through big changes. Iron Man had a movie. So I have to juggle everybody's perception of that while still making a movie that you can see having not seen any [other Marvel movies] except the first Avengers - or not even that." (cinemablend.com)
Marvel Studios promises both Hulk and Hawkeye will have pivotal roles in the upcoming "Avengers: Age of Ultron," though. It's expected The Hulk movie will remain snubbed during Marvel Cinematic Universe's phase 3, especially with projects exploring more characters in the comics.
Robert Downey teases as much in an interview, which could mean Marvel is planning on an "awakening" of sorts for the franchise in "Avengers: Age of Ultron."
"I think that there has to be a bit of transcendence of formula. And so without giving too much away, I think that's why I just kinda stamped it when the first draft came in, 'cause I thought, 'Oh wow, it didn't fall into that trap.' And I read the last page and I got chills for a reason I definitely can't explain."
What is the New York State VFX/Animation Credit?
(postnewyork.org) The VFX/Animation credit is a fully refundable credit of 30 percent of qualified VFX costs incurred in New York State (NYS).
An additional 5 percent credit is available for VFX/Animation costs incurred in Upstate NY, outside the Metropolitan Commuter Transportation District (MCTD). The MCTD includes New York City, Dutchess, Nassau, Orange, Putnam, Rockland, Suffolk, and Westchester counties.
How do I qualify for the VFX/Animation credit?
Spend 20% or $3 million (whichever is less) of your VFX/Animation budget in New York State.
Can I apply for the VFX/Animation credit and not the Post Production only credit or the Production credit?
Yes! The VFX/Animation credit is a stand-alone credit.
Can I apply for the Post Production only credit and the VFX/Animation credit in New York, and not the Production credit?
Can I apply for the Production credit and the VFX/Animation credit?
No. You don't need to! When your production becomes eligible for the Production tax credit, any qualified post production or VFX work completed in NYS is automatically eligible for the Production tax credit.
If I am applying for the Post Production only credit,is VFX spend in NYS eligible for the Post only incentive?
No. The VFX/Animation incentive requires a 20% or $3million spend threshold to be eligible for the credit. It is a stand alone credit and cannot be folded in to the Post Only credit. Any part of VFX/Animation done in NYS is eligible for the Production credit. Not the Post Only.
Is there a deadline to apply to the VFX/Animation credit?
No. But only costs incurred after your initial application is received by the Film Office will be eligible for the credit.
Full information link: http://www.postnewyork.org/
Are These Trippy Visual Effects Real Or Computer Generated?
(gizmodo.com.au) I can’t figure out if this music video was made using computer graphics or macro photography. Maybe it’s a combination of both. Or maybe strong cheese I had before bed causing this all to happen inside my head.
VIDEO - Take a look: http://www.gizmodo.com.au/
Star Wars Episode 7 Bucks CGI For Real Life Props: BB-8 Is Real
(airherald.com) One common criticism of modern film is its over reliance on CGI and digital effects. While the field has certainly progressed leaps and bounds in the past few decades, it still isn’t really that realistic for audiences. Remember the lion in I Am Legend? Or the multitude of werewolf movies that can’t hold a flame to American Werewolf in London? When a filmmaker is forced to use physical props and makeup, it always has a semblance of reality,because it IS real. CGI and digital effects can replicate reality, and create new realities, but at the end of the day the human eye can still tell that those dinosaurs in Jurassic World were never really captured on camera.
Enter Star Wars Episode 7. It was revealed this week by Mark Hamill, who is back playing an older version of Luke Skywalker, that the new BB-8 droid is not some flying CGI creation, but a real prop. Although he didn’t go in to detail about how the rolling contraption was created, he said he was stunned by it and had a lot of fun playing with it at Pinewood Studios.
The 63 year old actor who first appeared in the franchise in the first 1977 film, says he didn’t think they could do better than R2-D2 which was also a physical prop with practical effects, but was blown away when he saw the “rolling ball.”
2015 Creative Trends: 20 Leading Designers & Artists Reveal the Biggest Influences & Changes Coming Their Way
Leading graphic designers, illustrators, art directors and creative professionals reveal their plans for 2015, what’s likely to influence their work and how their style may evolve in the new year.
"I will be disappointed if budgets continue to decline for work that has a high production value. Almost daily we get a call describing a job to us that has live action, design, CG and VFX in it. We get the rundown on the commercial to find out it’s pre-roll and the budget is not doable. Just because the spot airs online, doesn’t make it any easier to produce." Erin Sarofsky, president, owner and executive creative director, Sarofsky (creators of the film titles for Guardian's of the Galaxy)
Full article: http://www.digitalartsonline.
-H - "The interior of the nuclear missile is entirely made up, but Mohen Leo is on a watch list somewhere for his attempts to lookup reference." - VFX Supervisor John Knoll Source - http://www.awn.com/blog/tasty-