(splinebomb.com) Over the last week, the media has been focused on the PDI/Dreamworks layoffs, but in London a similar situation happened with no media coverage at all.
As a lot of you may know, there is currently a boom in the London VFX industry due to increased tax cuts. MPC have been ramping up for their next blockbuster project, but unfortunately, one week later around 150 artists were let go due to schedule changes. From what we know through our sources, on top of schedule changes, the project that was meant to be done in London is instead to be done in Canada. **Updated 27/01 based on info from comment below** “London was suppose to help Van to finish the movie but the deadline has been postpone so Van can complete his work without any help. At the same time the biggest project that was running in London has been pushed 4 months as well”
The case is similar to the Digital Domain situation couple of years back, with people quitting their jobs to move to MPC with many also travelling across the world from New Zealand/Australia.
We all know that the VFX industry is not regulated and situations like this are always recurring. Half the crew for World War Z were let go when the movie was put on hold (over 200 artists). Pixomondo closed in London leaving their artists unpaid. Prime Focus let all their staff go after their merger with Double Negative. And now it happens again right after all the bad reaction to the Variety article.
All the above info was gathered from a few sources. If you or anyone you know was one of the artists let go, please feel free to get in touch and share your story!
We hope that all you guys find work soon.
From Comments: This article contain some errors. There wasn’t a project that was suppose to be done in London and has been moved in Vancouver. Quite the opposite. London was suppose to help Van to finish the movie but the deadline has been postpone so Van can complete his work without any help. At the same time the biggest project that was running in London has been pushed 4 months as well. So what the company is suppose to do? Keep 150 artists to do nothing and get bankrupt? This is a project base job, we all know that.
Full article: http://splinebomb.com/mpc-
‘Ghostbusters 3’ To Shoot In New York
(kdramastars.com) Paul Feig recently confirmed that he and "Ghostbusters 3" writer Kate Dippold would shoot the reboot in New York. Some fans were worried that the director may relocate the setting, since he will be doing a remake and not a continuation of the movie.
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"No, to me it's such a New York movie and the biggest sin would be to pull it out of there." The 52-year old filmmaker told Empire.
Feig added, "I just love New York and, selfishly, I just want to shoot in New York."
That would at least remind us of the original movie where and maybe we can get a glimpse of the Ghostbusters building in Central Park West.
Paul Feig still stands firm in his decision to create an all-female ghost busters team. However, he will still add some stuff from the original movie that featured Bill Murray, Dan Aykroyd, Ernie Hudson, and the late Harold Ramis.
"We're not recreating the old movie but we want to do just enough fun nods that the fans will go, 'Oh, okay, they're acknowledging that the other movie existed," the "Ghostbusters 3" director claimed.
Some people thought that Paul Feig will be creating a parody of the classic comedy, but he assured fans that it won't be like that.
"I like to watch parodies, but I don't want to do them because they're too referential. Comedy that's too referential has such a short shelf life, whereas comedy that's based around characters will be relatable 2000 years from now because people won't change that much," the "Bridesmaid" director explained.
There have been reports that Paul Feig is currently in negotiations with Melissa McCarthy to star in "Ghostbusters 3". According to The Hollywood Reporter, the star of "The Heat" is in early talks to star in the reboot of Ivan Reitman's blockbuster comedy.
"It came out publicly that we're in talks with Melissa but there's a lot to work out," the director confirmed the news.
Paul Feig is aware that he has a lot of haters, but he made a promise on New Year's Day that he will try not to disappoint the avid "Ghostbusters" fans.
"Happy New Year to everybody, even the Ghostbusters reboot haters. I love you all. I promise I will try not to ruin your childhoods. #iswear," he wrote on Twitter.
The "Ghostbusters 3" director then explained why he chose to make a reboot instead of a sequel.
"A lot of people ask why I didn't create my own thing but Ghostbusters never ran out of steam, it's such a great idea." Feig said.
He added, "It's such a fun franchise so why not bring it to a new generation? The old movie is never going to not exist. It's not my plan to erase every copy! Hopefully they can all live together."
Will 2016 Be Hollywood's Year Of The VFX Blockbuster Meltdown?
(forbes.com) Just in May of 2016, we’ve got Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice, Captain America 3 on and Alice in Wonderland 2 vs. X-Men: Age of Apocalypse on . Universal has a Seth Rogen comedy for , which will arguably be a sleeper hit by default. June sees only The Amazing Spider-Man 3 and the head-to-head match-up of How to Train Your Dragon 3 and Finding Dory. Spidey may be splitting already and expect one of the two animation titans to jump from the date. Offhand we should expect Star Trek 3 to aim for June as well, especially if Spidey bolts, and Transformers 5 will probably stick to pattern and drop in late June.
In March of 2016, we’ve got seven major releases, all would-be big budget films that will be competing for the same domestic box office dollar. We have an untitled Disney animated film, an untitled Ridley Scott project from Fox that many presume is Prometheus 2, the big-budget Warcraft adaptation from Universal that was moved out of after Disney moved Star Wars Episode VII to that date, a DreamWorks toon called Boss Baby, the third entry in the Divergent series, a Dean Devlin-directed original called Geostorm, and the aforementioned Beverly Hills Cop IV. To be fair, the only major release thus-far slotted for April is Universal’s Mummy reboot for the 22nd, although one of the early-May superhero films may shift to early April and I would expect G.I. Joe 3 to not wade into deep summer waters and opt for April as well.
July is an absolute zoo of big movies, all of which have big budgets and big expectations. We’ll see if Fox actually makes Independence Day 2 in time for the launch, and Walt Disney DIS +0.09% dropping their Steven Spielberg-directed BGF onto that date means that they smell an opening. But there is still Sony’s Angry Birds and Warner Bros.‘ Tarzan to contend with. Although Warner Bros.’ two scheduled would-be franchise starters in July, Tarzan and the Guy Ritchie-helmed King Arthur reboot, both feel like potential placeholders for a Batman v Superman date change. But brings us the heavily anticipated “Marvel Untitled”, presumably directed by Cameron Crowe, while brings Ice Age 5 from Fox and the aforementioned Bourne sequel from Universal. brings a third Planet of the Apes movie from Fox. Oh, and don’t forget that we’re supposed to be getting a Shazam movie from Warner Bros. in July too.
August and September are pretty quite thus far. Sony has a Smurfs installment in early August and Warner has a LEGO Ninjago set for , or the same date as a Sony Pictures Animation enterprise to be named later. November and December are the usual flood of would-be blockbusters competing with the eventual Oscar bait. We get a DreamWorks Animation Trolls movie, a Harry Potter spin-off (Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them), a major Disney Animation feature in November. December closes things out with an alleged Sandman movie from Warner Bros., Alvin and the Chipmunks 4 entry from Fox, a Star Wars spin-off from Disney, and an untitled Illumination animated film from Universal.
There are a few months where it’s not wall-to-wall blockbusters and all of the above dates are subject to change in the next two years. But what you see in the above schedule are two specific situations. First of all, we have an absolute avalanche of big pictures that basically have to be mega-hits in order to be profitable. Second of all, as you can see, pretty much all of the major studios have their schedules mostly lined up for 2016 with the aforementioned franchise entries. With pretty much 3/4 of the year devoted to hardcore franchise scheduling, there is that much less room for smaller pictures beyond the stereotypical franchise/tent pole entries. Even on a per-studio basis, it looks like we’re looking at the bulk of the schedule from Paramount, Disney, and Universal, if not Fox and Warner Bros., along with the smaller distributors (Lionsgate, CBS Films, etc.).
So the issue is whether 2016 will be the biggest blockbuster year in history and if so at what cost? Can the market handle such a continuous run of relative mega-tent poles? And if it can, will there be any room to breathe in the marketplace for the so-called smaller movies that happen to sneak into the multiplexes? I’ve long defended against the notion of blockbuster meltdown by pointing to all the “regular” movies that studios were releasing even during the summer season. But with the slate above, there won’t be much room for the major studios to make smaller or more niche-targeted releases.
Summer 2011 was pretty crowded, and yet the industry survived. How will the marketplace and moviegoers overall react to a multiplex with the closest thing we’ve seen to what amounts to non-stop blockbusters? Summer 2016 is going to be the biggest summer we’ve ever had, while the rest of the year will be jam-packed too. The end result may well be what I’ve talked about before, with the hit franchises basically protecting the studio from the under-performing franchises, with the potential for a giant wash for any number of the major studios.
The end result will be basically every A-level franchise (Batman/Superman, Captain America, Star Wars, Harry Potter, Transformers), every B-level franchise (Amazing Spider-Man, Star Trek, Planet of the Apes, X-Men, Divergent, Bourne), and every animation Goliath (Finding Dory, How to Train Your Dragon 3, Ice Age 5, The Smurfs, Alvin and the Chipmunks, whatever else Sony Animation and Universal’s Illumination decides to drop), and goodness knows what else all competing in one uber-crowded year. The good news is that 2017 will have to be light on franchise fever by default, since most of these installments can’t knock out an entry every year. The emphasis thus far in 2017 is on untitled comic book installments and animated franchises.
I’m not predicting doom or industry implosion. But it will be fascinating to watch Hollywood basically throw everything it’s got at the audience in one long year and seeing how it transpires. Come what may, the box office reports will be incredibly exciting.
VFX Artemple-Hollywood Celebrates One Year Anniversary
(creativeplanetnetwork.com) Culver City, CA, January 27, 2015 - Artemple-Hollywood, a high-end, full-service Visual Effects and Design company specializing in the art of seamless and "invisible" visual effects work for feature films, television, commercials, themed entertainment, special venue projects, and original content creation, is marking its one year anniversary having produced visual effects work for one of last year's most successful films, is currently producing visual effects for an upcoming studio feature, is commencing work on new projects, and has hired a noted industry executive. The announcements were made today by Mr. Wei Zheng, Principal and Creative Director, Artemple-Hollywood.
Artemple-Hollywood is currently producing visual effects for Warner Bros. highly anticipated film, "Entourage," directed by Doug Ellin. Since its formation in January 2014, Artemple-Hollywood produced visual effects for the critically and commercially acclaimed blockbuster film, "Gone Girl." Both Wei Zheng and Marco Maldonado, the company's VFX Supervisor, have enjoyed long-standing working relationships with the "Gone Girl" director David Fincher, and have collaborated on several of his past films, such as "The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo," "Zodiac," "The Social Network," and "The Curious Case of Benjamin Button."
Independence Day 2 Moves Forward - Casting Begins
(comingsoon.net) With the much anticipated sequel having received the green light in November, casting is now underway on director Roland Emmerich’s Independence Day 2. TheWrap today reports that Liam Hemsworth (The Hunger Games, The Expendables 2) has been offered a leading role.
Set to hit theaters (almost exactly 20 years after the original), Independence Day 2 is looking to begin production in May with a script most recently rewritten by Carter Blanchard (best known for the short-lived 2009 series “G vs E”). Previous drafts were done by Emmerich and Dean Devlin, and then by James Vanderbilt. Although Will Smith will not be returning, both Jeff Goldblum and Bill Pullman are expected to reprise their roles as David Levinson and President Thomas J. Whitmore, respectively.
Hemsworth can next be seen in Kieran Darcy-Smith’s By Way of Helena, reteaming with Hunger Games franchise co-star Woody Harrelson. He’ll follow that with a role opposite Kate Winsley and Sarah Snook in Jocelyn Moorhouse’s The Dressmaker before returning to Panem for one last time in The Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part 2, hitting theaters on.
The original Independence Day opened on July 3, 1996 and earned an impressive $817.4 million worldwide. Emmerich is also set to produce the sequel alongside Devlin and Harald Kloser.
VFX Compensation and Working Conditions Continuing to Decline, in California and Elsewhere
(variety.com) The drought in SoCal production jobs is causing some pros to migrate to more favorable climes, while other once-plentiful entertainment specialties are becoming threatened in the region. At the Santa Barbara fest this year, below-the-line pros are the focus of panels as well as Variety’s inaugural Artisans Awards on .
Michael Cioni, CEO of digital post house Light Iron (recently acquired by Panavision) has some tough love for pros suffering in the new climate. “People miss the old days,” he says. “My advice to them is to lead or get out of the way.”
Cioni says the days of a production community mainly based in Los Angeles are gone for good. He blames the Great Recession and rapid technological change for squeezing below-the-line pros, but adds much of what feels like a squeeze is really uncertainty about the future.
“If you can see the future, you can see yourself in it,” says Cioni. “Today, you ask people to think five, seven, 10, , and people are like, ‘I don’t know what to think.’ ”
Even reliable corporate pillars of the old entertainment economy, such as Kodak and Sony, have seen their roles reduced or nearly eliminated, he observes.
But there is a reality alongside this perception. Subsidies draw work from one area to another — which is the rationale for offering them, after all. If there is such a thing as financial “greenhouse gases” changing the climate, government subsidies are among the biggest culprits.
“Subsidies have been pretty much decimating live-action and visual effects work here in Southern California, and in most of California,” says Scott Squires, a longtime visual-effects supervisor who has been active in the fight to improve the lot of vfx artists. And he sees vfx compensation and working conditions continuing to decline, in California and elsewhere.
Both physical and digital production have migrated to locales where governments subsidize film production. Jobs have moved with the shows, and some pros have followed the jobs.
The Assn. of Digital Artists, Professionals, & Technicians, or ADAPT, attempted to challenge foreign subsidies using World Trade Organization treaty rules, but that effort ended earlier this year. “After months of campaigning,” said the org in a statement, “we were only able to raise a minuscule amount, which would only cover 2% of the total legal costs.” The rapid collapse of the vfx industry in California may be a cause.
Some California pros are leaving the business rather than uproot their families and become global nomads. As a result, SoCal is becoming a gradually less hospitable place for productions that choose to remain there. Squires reports one L.A.-based post-production company recently got work on a studio release but had trouble finding compositors to do the job.
“The studios are tightening their belts,” says Squires, “and it’s not just the below-the-line people. I’ve talked to a producer or two that used to be hired on big projects and they’re now being offered half the amounts they used to be offered.” And they have some reason to cut costs: The collapse of DVD revenue, soft theatrical attendance, and the rise of digital distribution, which has lower margins than the studios are accustomed to.
“In our neck of the woods, there’s always a squeeze, and the studios are always behind it,” says Steve Kaplan, labor organizer for IATSE Local 839, the Animation Guild. He, too, cites subsidies, which helped drive offshore much “in-betweening” (the in-the-trenches part of animation).
Kaplan says in the generally lucrative feature animation sector, “you don’t see a lot of this work being offshored — yet. If the producers could think of a way to do it, I think they would.” But when DreamWorks Animation suffered a string of box office fizzles, it laid off 500 and announced plans to move production on “Captain Underpants” outside the U.S.
DWA didn’t specify where “Underpants” production would go. China and India are possibilities, but Canada is more likely.
“This has been attempted before,” says Kaplan. “It’s my understanding DWA had attempted to do feature animation at the studio in India that was owned by Technicolor, but the work had to be re-done, and that impacted the timeline.” Canada’s animation studios are non-union, but artists in the country’s western region are talking to Animation Guild Local 891.
It’s not all bad news for displaced pros, though. Cioni thinks there is hope, starting with the proliferation of new distribution outlets, which drive demand for production and post services. He urges pros suffering in the new climate to educate themselves and embrace the new digital world. “There’s ample food for everybody.” He points to digital companies like Netflix, Amazon, Hulu and Buzzfeed as examples.
“They come out of nowhere and they dominate. If you go to Netflix and Buzzfeed, do you think they talk about the good old days? Probably not.”
Amazing 3D CGI Hologram Comes To Vegas
This is one of the 3-D video segments at Center Bar inside SLS Las Vegas, formerly the Sahara.
VIDEO - Take a look: https://www.youtube.com/watch?
Jupiter Ascending Concept Art Better Than the Movie?
(moviepilot.com) The Wachowskis' Jupiter Ascending was originally scheduled to be released last summer. It was delayed to in order to fully finalize the massive amount of SFX shots used in the film. From its most recent trailer, Jupiter Ascending will be visually spectacular. Whether it will be successful financially is up to the movie-going audience to decide.
The film stars Mila Kunis as a space opera Cinderella who does not realize that it is her fate to be the Queen of the Universe and of particularly the mother planet whose inhabitants were the first to populate a small little blue planet known as Earth. Helping her in her quest to become Queen is Channing Tatum as a genetically engineered soldier cultivated specifically for this role. Eddie Redmayne (recently Oscar nominated for his Stephen Hawking portrayal in The Theory of Everything) is an ambitious royal eager who also has eyes on the throne.
The concept art is absolutely stunning, particularly the work done by Philippe Gaulier and Olivier Pron who were responsible for some of the space station designs.
Philippe Gaulier has worked on films such as Iron Man 2 and 3, Thor: The Dark World, and Avengers: The Age of Ultron. Gaulier is currently working at Method Studios in London as the art department lead concept artist where he splits time between Soho and the onset film studios art departments.
Olivier Pron has worked on movies such as Guardians of the Galaxy, Iron Man 3 , Cloud Atlas, Watchmen and X-Men: The Last Stand. He is a concept artist and matte painter currently working in the film and entertainment industry at Method Studio based in London as well.
Take a look: http://moviepilot.com/posts/
The VFX of Unbroken
(fxguide.com) For ILM visual effects supervisor Bill George, Angelina’s Jolie’s Unbroken proved to be chance to implement cutting-edge effects work in a story-driven tale. The film required complex plane battles, crashes, environments, crowd extensions and even sharks to help tell the story of bombadier Louis ‘Louie’ Zamperini imprisonment in a Japanese POW camp after his B-24 Liberator crew crash in the South Pacific.
“When we come onto a project, each project is different and we adapt our sensibility to whatever we’re working on,” George told fxguide. “It was really important that when we did our work, when it was finished it would fit into what was happening in the film. Angie and also Roger Deakins, ASC (the DOP) were the driving forces - the people we looked to for how the film is going to look and feel.”
We talk to George, who with producer Steve Gaub, oversaw work by ILM, Animal Logic, Rodeo FX, Hybride, Ghost VFX and Lola VFX, about ‘fitting in’ Unbroken’s effects shots. Taking on the lion’s share of the work would be ILM and Animal Logic. ILM dealt with many of the plane and ocean shots, outsourcing to Rodeo, Hybride and Ghost, with Animal Logic completing several prison camp extensions, the bomb to Tokyo sequence and some wide establishing matte paintings. Lola came on board to complete emaciation effects on the camp prisoners.
Full article: http://www.fxguide.com/
‘Imitation Game’ Director in Talks For Sony Space Tale ‘Passengers’
(variety.com) “The Imitation Game” director Morten Tyldum is in negotiations with Sony on space drama “Passengers,” written by “Doctor Strange” writer Jon Spaihts.
The studio bought rights to “Passengers” last month. Neal Moritz and Ori Marmur will produce through Moritz’s Original Film banner along with Michael Maher for Start Media and Stephen Hamel of Company Films.
Earlier this year, Focus Features had been in talks to acquire U.S. rights to “Passengers” with Keanu Reeves starring. “Passengers” went back on the market after the Weinstein Co. ditched the project after acquiring the rights with Reese Witherspoon attached; the actress later departed and was replaced by Rachel McAdams, who has also left the project.
Spaihts’ script is set on a spacecraft in the future with thousands of passengers making an interstellar voyage to a distant new planet. One passenger awakens from cryogenic sleep 90 years before anyone else and decides to wake up a female passenger sparking the beginning of a love story.
Tyldum has been nominated for an Oscar and a DGA award for “The Imitation Game.” He is repped by WME, Anonymous Content and Michael Schenkman.
Below the Line: Visual Effects of ‘Guardians of the Galaxy’
This series singles out behind-the-scenes players and their contributions to films competing during the movie awards season. Read More »
“The main focus was to get Rocket and Groot to be as real as possible,” said Stephane Ceretti, one of the Oscar-nominated visual effects supervisors on the film. “We didn’t want them to pop out.” Because these two characters were animated amid live action, the director James Gunn and his effects crew needed to make sure they didn’t cause a distraction. “James said to us, ‘We don’t want Rocket and Groot to look like Bugs Bunny in the middle of the Avengers.’”
The visual effects team decided to fully animate the characters rather than use the hybrid performance capture technology employed by another effects Oscar nominee, “Dawn of the Planet of the Apes.” With Rocket Raccoon, they used a real animal for reference and inspiration.
“We had a raccoon come into our offices in London when we were preparing to shoot,” Mr. Ceretti said. “His name is Oreo. He’s black and white like the cookies.”
They studied the way raccoons use their hands, they way they look at things, the way they eat.
On the set, they used stand-ins, including the actor Sean Gunn, the director’s brother, who wore a green suit to take Rocket’s place during the shoot. He worked to get the flow going between the actors so that the performances and reactions to Rocket would feel natural. “The funny thing is that Sean, when he sits, is the height of Rocket,” Mr. Ceretti said. “So that was convenient for people to know where to look.” They shot scenes with the actors and stand-ins, and another version of the scenes without them.
When Vin Diesel and Bradley Cooper recorded their dialogue for Groot and Rocket Raccoon, respectively, the visual effects team shot them with cameras, so some of their acting and expressions could be worked into the facial animation. For the large volume of animation work, the filmmakers turned to the firms MPC and Framestore. Mr. Gunn directed these animation teams to get all the elements together from the live-action shoot and merge them with the animated elements.
Groot is a more stoic character with fewer lines (though one of those, “I am Groot,” was especially memorable), so the animators had to figure out ways to show his expressions. “We worked a lot on the eyes,” Mr. Ceretti said. “We worked on how big they were to get the right amount of emotion out of his face.”
For the film’s colorful background, which required several blue-screen shoots for the actors, the team used references from Mr. Gunn.
“As he got into the movie, James started creating a visual bible of the kind of images he loves and wanted to get us inspired by,” Mr. Ceretti said. “He wanted a very colorful universe, mixing brightness, darkness and all these saturated colors.”
While many sets were built practically by the production design team, some elements were entirely the result of visual effects, like Knowhere, represented as a giant floating skull.
“We pretty much had to build all of that because we did a big chase inside the skull,” Mr. Ceretti said, “so as a CG asset we needed to build this entire environment. It was pretty huge.”
-H -A SWAT team raided the Budapest set of World War Z (2013) and seized 85 fully-functional automatic weapons. Paperwork for the guns claimed that they were non-fuctional, when in fact they were very much real, a real no-no for Hungary’s Anti-Terrorism Unit. -IMDB Trivia