VFX News 06/24

“Asteroids” Movie The Next Star Wars

(darkhorizons.com)              Out doing promotional rounds for “RED 2,” producer Lorenzo di Bonaventura says that the proposed film based on the classic arcade game “Asteroids” is still very much on the table.

As previously indicated, the story follows two estranged brothers who are forced to team up to save Earth from invading aliens. Now, in a video interview for Screen Rant, di Bonaventura reveals a few more details:

“Really, Asteroids is the one we’re spending our time on now. The truth is, I love the title… when I look at that project, that’s what I think about it, is I think about the scale of it and I think about the possibility of it.

It’s not a disaster movie. If we’re successful at getting it made. It’s much more of a space opera. It’s like a great sci-fi movie if we get it done right.

It is not at all what people think it is. People think, ‘Oh, the asteroid’s gonna hit the earth,’ and I have no interest in doing that. That’s been done exceedingly well before. No, this takes place in an asteroid belt, the whole movie.

VIDEO Interview:    http://www.darkhorizons.com/news/27552/-asteroids-movie-the-next-star-wars

‘Monsters Univercity’ Scares Up $82M

(hollywoodreporter.com)           Disney and Pixar’s long-awaited sequel Monsters University opened to a sizzling $82 million, the No. 2 Pixar opening of all time after Toy Story 3 ($110 million). Overseas, Monsters U took in an early $54.5 million from 35 markets for a worldwide debut of $136.5 million.

Monsters University occasioned several milestones for Disney and Pixar. It’s the second highest June animation opening ever (behind Pixar’s Toy Story 3), the second highest June opening ever for Disney or Pixar, and the eighth biggest premiere in Disney history. Globally, the prequel’s debut came in at $136.5 million.


“World War Z” Sequel Back In Development

(darkhorizons.com)           The epic zombie apocalyptic antics of Marc Forster’s “World War Z” hauled in an impressive $111.8 million in its worldwide debut this weekend, $66 million from North America alone.

That is the highest opening for an original live-action tentpole since “Avatar,” not to mention the biggest debut of star Brad Pitt’s career.

Originally planned as a trilogy adaptation of the Max Brooks novel, those follow-up plans were scrapped after the project ran into trouble and required extensive reshoots.

Now, Paramount chairman Rob Moore says the studio will “actively turn” to develop further installments, reviving those plans they had previously put on ice.

Pitt aggressively helped with the marketing of WWZ, showing up at numerous early screenings ranging from suburban American cinemas to various star-studded global premieres from Moscow to Sydney.


Marvel Studios Schedules Third Mystery Project

(comingsoon.net)            Just a week after Walt Disney Pictures and Marvel Studios revealed release dates for two mystery projects in 2016 and 2017, a new update has set a third mystery Marvel film for release on July 8, 2016.

It has been hinted in the past that Marvel has plans for new characters in Phase Three like Doctor Strange and The Black Panther. Either of those could take on these future release dates as could a Marvel’s The Avengers 3 (likely for 2017), another sequel to an existing film or even a completely new surprise. Only time will tell, so check back for updates as they become available.


Are We Seeing The Demise of Pixar? Is Disney’s Influence Good or Bad?

(truthoncinema.com)          Long ago, in a galaxy far, far away, I watched Mary Poppins live in a sit-down movie theater upon its first release.1 I was a first-grader, and I was mesmerized. There were several indelible scenes for me: the pulling of the lamp out her purse, the animated penguins and the word supercalifragilisticexpialidocious, the floating in the air at the uncle’s house, the rooftop chimney-sweep serenade of Mary, and most of all how sad I was at the end when Mary went away and left the children on their own. I thought it was horribly unfair.

But thirty years later, watching the movie with my wife and daughter, I discovered something startling — although all of the scenes were exactly as I remembered them, they were in a very different movie than I saw as a child. As a child, the movie was about Mary Poppins and wonder and whimsy. As an adult, I was shocked to find that the movie was not about Mary at all, but about parenting and the worth of children and how the time goes so swiftly with them that not a moment can be wasted. I discovered that Mary had to leave when she left, because her job was done, her charges (the parents, not the children) had learned what they needed to learn, and she needed to move on to the next set of parents.

The truth is, the movie is that most amazing of things: it is both movies at once, and it does them both so brilliantly that a six-year old and thirty-six year old can sit in the same theater at the same time and watch the same movie and both come away with a magical experience.

And that is all you really need to know about Disney in its heydey. It turned out movie after movie that was magical, and magical to almost everyone of every age. But after Walt Disney died, they lost their way. Their movies were no longer magical; they were barely watchable, in fact. It was twenty years before they recovered: The Little Mermaid, Beauty and the Beast, and The Lion King captured some, but not all, of the missing magic.

But the year after The Lion King was released, we discovered there was a new Disney in town, and its name was Pixar. Toy Story had everything going for it that Mary Poppins did — it was magical for young and old alike, it had toys for young and old alike, and most of all it had a story for young and old alike. For the first time in maybe thirty years, a six-year old and thirty-six year old could sit in the same theater and watch the same movie and both could experience — magic!

Meanwhile, Disney lost the small path they’d found (it wasn’t big enough to call it a way). They began churning out cheap straight-to-DVD ripoffs of their successful movies, with cheap animation, cheap music, and cheap voice talent. They couldn’t compete with Pixar’s computer magic, so they threw in the towel and counted on the Disney name to carry them. It didn’t.

Pixar, on the other hand, proceeded to reel off one of the best ten-year periods for a studio in movie history. Not only were their movies all phenomenonally successful, they all had great, and in some cases brilliant, stories.2 They were all (say it with me) — magical.

And then came Cars 2, and suddenly the streak, and the magic, was over. Cars was easily the weakest movie of the streak, and it had the same level of magic as one of GOB’s shows3. Yes, I know four-year olds love it, obsessively even, but I know of no thirty-four year olds that do. Had it been the first Pixar movie, it would have been OK, but just as fast-food pizza isn’t too bad before you’ve had my wife’s homemade pizza but inedible after, so Cars suffered greatly in comparison to what had gone before it. Making a sequel of it was a decision of disastrous (dare I say Biblical?) proportions.

Something else happened to Disney while Pixar went on their tear — they turned into the Galactic Empire. They became more concerned with franchises than art. They decided they needed consistent characters to populate their theme parks. They began consuming studios like I consume chocolate. Marvel Comics — gone. Lucas Films — gone.

And in between, Pixar, gone. Cars 2 was a Disneyesque decision, because it was actually a Disney decision, because independent Pixar was no more, enveloped into the Empire in 2006. (The year Cars came out, in fact, although we don’t get to blame Disney for it, as much as I’d like to.)

I’m afraid the Disneyification of Pixar might be complete. This year saw the release of Brave, a derivative story if ever there was one, and a mediocre movie at best. Next up is a sequel to Monsters. A sequel to Finding Nemo has just been announced. A possible third sequel to Toy Story is rumored but not confirmed (this by itself would be the last nail in the coffin for me), as is a potential sequel to The Incredibles.

What do all of those things have in common? They’re franchise-builders, cheap knockoffs intended to further the brand, not further the state of the art. They’re more concerned with characters than character, with the familiar rather than the inventive. And they’re the exact opposite of what we saw in Pixar’s ten-year run.

I am not judging movies I haven’t seen, I’m interpolating based on movies I have seen. It is possible the new sequels will be good movies, and stories, in their own right. But based on the last two, I doubt it. The Empire has consumed them, and all that’s left is a bloated mess.

And not even a spoonful of sugar will help that medicine go down.


Small VFX Shops Rewrite Rules

(variety.com)            While the visual-effects industry has been jolted by two high-profile bankruptcies and infighting over unionization, some houses have been steadily sending in shots — and making a living at the same time.

These are the boutique operations — often micro-setups that maintain a permanent staff of about five to 10 people and then staff up to as many as 25 to 30 people when demand dictates. They also eschew fancy digs for more affordable facilities, and resist the temptation to grow too big too fast.

“I watched some guys buy incredible buildings and then go out and put $3,000 couches in their offices,” says Rob Hall, owner of Almost Human. “When you have to make the monthly payment, it’s got to be hard because you know if work slows down you could be in real trouble, real fast.”

Hall, who worked with low-budget icon Roger Corman when he first moved to Hollywood, has built a large part of Almost Human’s business by pairing practical makeup effects with visual effects on small- to mid-budget films like “The Crazies.”

“Having a specialty gives you an edge,” says Hall, whose previous credits include work on TV genre shows like “Angel.” “You become known for a particular thing and then other people will come to you for those skills.”

Visual-effects houses such as Almost Human and Drawn by the Light — which has done work for “Fringe,” “CSI,” “Mad Men” and “Revolution” — bank on their skills and relationships to keep the work coming in season after season, even as international competitors nip at their heels.

Small shingle owners also note that they have to rely on a bank of highly skilled freelancers to take on the overflow in times of plenty. Those relationships can easily make or break a company as well.

“You definitely have to be able to do the work at a very high level, regardless of the deadline, if you want to stay profitable,” says Rik Shorten, one of the founders of Drawn by the Light. “Producers want to know that they can trust you, especially when TV deadlines are involved, so there’s definitely room for someone with great skills to work a lot as a freelancer.”

The boutique business model relies on a steady stream of work for the most invisible kinds of vfx rather than the splashy — and expensive — shots that dominate summer tentpoles.
Instead, the boutique owners lean toward TV work or films in the $40 million budget range or below. Many realize that despite the glamour and prestige that comes with a big-budget vfx blockbuster, there is a downside when you’re a smaller operation.

“We saw the volatility of the features business and we realized that if you ask someone if they’ve got a release date and they don’t have one, that can mean trouble,” says Tom Mahoney, a founding partner at CoSA VFX, which has done work on more than 50 feature films and a dozen TV series. “With television there’s steady work on a specific deadline, which is very good.”

These strategies don’t surprise Jenny Fulle, CEO of the Creative Cartel, a company that manages vfx production and has worked on films like “Ted” and “After Earth.” She believes the industry is shifting and that companies will have to develop new business models to survive.

“It’s definitely not like it was before,” Fulle says. “These smaller houses are able to adjust more easily when there’s a down period like now — all the blockbusters have been done for the summer and TV production is down.”

Boutique vfx houses are able to fend off some international and incentives competition by staying close to where much of the post-production work is still done and be available to clients for face-to-face meetings.

“We’ve established a lot of trust by getting shots done on time, on budget and being right here in everyone’s back yard,” says Dan Schmit, owner of Engine Room, which has done work on “The Mentalist.” “Some people want to know you’re just a few miles down the road.”

Or, in some cases, just down the road in someone’s garage.

“For years we worked out of the back of a house until we started using enough freelancers that we needed a place where they could come and do work for us,” says Mahoney. “We went into this knowing we didn’t want to grow too big too fast because we primarily wanted to be artists who got to keep making art for a living.”

“Pirates 5” Hires Production Designers

(darkhorizons.com)            Producer Jerry Bruckheimer has started his promotional rounds for “The Lone Ranger” and he has spoken about the decision to hire “Kon-Tiki” helmers Joachim Ronning and Espen Sandberg for the fifth “Pirates of the Caribbean” feature.

Speaking with The Playlist, Bruckheimer says that the pair arrived in Los Angeles last Friday and started working on it. Production designers are now being hired and the film is moving forward.

Asked about their hiring, he says: “We saw their movie early on, maybe six months ago, and I saw some of their other work, which I thought was terrific. That convinced me. They were interested in doing it and they flew over and we showed them a script that we were working on and they had really amazing ideas.”

He also confirmed that the film will retain the “adventure and supernatural” mix, and that part of the film will be set in New Orleans. He says: “We’re certainly going to be filming in Louisiana because of the tax breaks and I think there might be a sequence there. But it will also be set in the Caribbean, obviously.”


Steve Carell Explains 3D Animation

VIDEO – Take a look:      http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LDogpuChe94&sns=em

“World War Z” Over-Performs With $66 Million Open

(hollywoodreporter.com)           Brad Pitt zombie pic World War Z, from Paramount, also overperformed in opening to $66 million, the top launch for an original live-action tentpole since Avatar. It also marks Pitt’s largest opening domestically, easily outpacing the $50.3 million launch of Mr. & Mrs. Smith in summer 2005. Internationally, World War Z debuted to $45.8 million from its first 25 markets for a worldwide total of $111.8 million.

World War Z’s performance is a notable victory for Paramount, considering many in Hollywood left the film for dead after its release was pushed back from December 2012 in order to allow for numerous reshoots required to reshape the ending. Directed by Marc Forster and co-financed by Skydance Productions, World War Z was a passion project for Pitt, who produced the tentpole.

Domestic box office revenue for the weekend reached an estimated $236 million, the second best of the year after Memorial Day weekend and among the top 10 weekends of all time.

Heading into the frame, box office observers believed World War Z would end up in a closer battle with Zack Snyder and Christopher Nolan’s Man of Steel, with many giving Superman an edge over zombies.

George Lucas Marries Fiancee Mellody Hobson

(aceshowbiz.com)             Good news comes from “Star Wars” creator George Lucas. The 69-year-old director married his fiancee Mellody Hobson in a ceremony attended by family and friends over the weekend. “Cinderella Man” director Ron Howard took to Twitter on June 23 to congratulate the couple for the union.

“George Lucas Melody Hobson wedding was joy to behold Bill Moyers service was beautiful, nothing short of profound. Congrats Mr&Mrs Lucas,” Howard wrote. “Django Unchained” star Samuel L. Jackson said in an excited-sounding Twitter post, “Let’s give a Galactic shout out to Master George Lucas & his Bride Melodie on This their WEDDING DAY!! Congrats!!!!!!”

There were no details available concerning Lucas and Hobson’s wedding. However, multiple sources suggested back in April that the pair would tie the knot at the Peninsula Hotel in Chicago, Illinois.

Lucas and Hobson have been together since 2006. The movie maker announced his engagement to the Princeton alum back in January. The wedding is the second for the movie director. He was previously married to film editor Marcia Lou Griffin before splitting in 1983.


Exploring the World of Weta with Daniel Falconer

(capsulecomputers.com.au)            Weta Workshop and their SFX division Weta Digital are basically the kings (and queens) of props and practical/special effects in film and TV. Based out of Miramar, New Zealand, the company became a household name after their amazing work on The Lord of the Rings: the Fellowship of the Ring back in 2001. They have since also become synonymous with director Peter Jackson, working on numerous of his other projects thereafter.

At this year’s Supanova Pop Culture Expo, designer Daniel Falconer – who joined Weta Workshop in 1996 – held a presentation looking at the history of the company in the business, and exploring the processes of some of their most recognisable works. It was great to attend for anyone interested in the field or movie-making in general. Here is a rundown of what was covered, including some quotes (partially paraphrased) to help convey what is better translated through visual language.

I apologise in advance for not being able to capture good shots of the powerpoint slides, but I have included some examples of Falconer’s work. At the outset, Falconer gave us all a digital tour of Weta’s fine work; mostly films that we will all recognise: The LOTR Trilogy, The Last Samurai, Master and Commander: The Far Side of the World, The Legend of Zorro, King Kong and many more, before explaining how a gig is typically landed for the team and other SFX houses;

Full article with pics:         http://www.capsulecomputers.com.au/2013/06/exploring-the-world-of-weta-with-daniel-falconer/

‘Lone Ranger’ Holds Premiere at Disney Park

(ocregister.com)               ANAHEIM – Arianna Almaraz of Santa Ana waited 10 hours on Saturday in the beating sun to wait for actor Johnny Depp to pass by her bleacher seat along the red carpet for “The Lone Ranger.”

Just as the sun was going down, Depp stopped and signed a homemade poster, writing “Beautiful Love, Johnny.”

The Lone Ranger star Armie Hammer, center, smiling, is surrounded by fans and photographer’s on the red carpet at the movie’s premiere at Studio 27 inside Disney’s California Adventure theme park Saturday.

The Disneyland Resort has hosted some red-carpet movie premieres before. Here are the big ones in recent years:

March 18, 2001: “Spy Kids,” Disney California Adventure.

June 28, 2003: “Pirates of the Caribbean – The Curse of the Black Pearl,” Disneyland.

June 23, 2006: “Pirates of the Caribbean – Dead Man’s Chest,” Disneyland.

May 20, 2007: “Pirates of the Caribbean – At World’s End,” Disneyland.

Aug. 14, 2007: “High School Musical 2,” Downtown Disney.

May 7, 2011: “Pirates of the Caribbean – On Stranger Tides,” Disneyland.

“I’ve been in love with him for 10 or 11 years,” Almaraz said. “I really wanted to get the autograph.”

Full article wtih pics:          http://www.ocregister.com/articles/carpet-514031-park-depp.html

Man Of Steel Joins $400 Million Club

(deadline.com)           The Superman reboot continues as a super-hit internationally. Here and overseas, Warner Bros’ and Legendary Pictures’ holdover 3D Man Of Steel (4,207 theaters in the widest release) went into this weekend as still the big #1 leader in the worldwide marketplace. And then Superman had to battle the zombies from World War Z through today. MOS broadened out to 52 markets outside of the U.S. and Canada and now has amassed an international cume of $188.3M. With $210M from its domestic gross in just 11 days, this third Superman franchise now has a huge worldwide total of $398.3M. That includes nearly $35M on exactly 600 worldwide IMAX screens, including the $3.2M opening weekend in China where IMAX screens represent 12.5% of the country’s movie gross. The pic has played very strong throughout Asia (see Korean poster) and, in China alone, grosses were an outstanding $25.5M from roughly 5,631 screens, taking a lion’s share of the market. Opening day took almost 80% marketshare for Warner Bros’ 2nd highest opening day behind only the Harry Potter finale.

This weekend, pic overall did $89M foreign with nearly 12M admissions from over 18,800 screens as the #1 film internationally. “Considering the massive openings last weekend and the hot weather impacting the business in many European markets, the film sustained a reasonable holdover drop of 59%,” Warner Bros said today. Man Of Steel is currently #3 in North America after doing $12.7M Friday (-71% from a week ago) and +29% for $16.2M Saturday and another huge tally around $41.2M (-65% from a week ago). ”We’re in great shape moving into the 4th of July holiday playtime with such an iconic character at the helm,” said Warner Bros Domestic Distribution President Dan Fellman. “Hoping we have a similar result to the strong day we had on Father’s Day.” The Christopher Nolan-Zack Snyder-David S. Goyer-Henry Cavill pic had 27 more markets opening this weekend, including the major countries France, Germany, Italy, Spain, Russia and China.


Join The Campaign to Support VFX Workers in the UK

(bectu.org.uk)              BECTU is campaigning to support VFX workers in the UK. The project has made the front page of the union’s latest journal Stage Screen and Radio which also includes a three page feature.

Read the article (also attached to this page) to find out more about the skills involved, and their impact on films from Star Wars to Life of Pi.

Today VFX is an increasingly important part of film production however this is not reflected in the industry’s treatment of the workforce where condiitons are marred by excessive hours and scant attention to staff welfare.

Gerry Morrissey, BECTU general secretary, comments:

“The race to the bottom where, with each new contract, the VFX companies impose more work on a shorter timescale and with unlawful working hours, cannot continue.

The rest of the film industry fights its corner and this benefits the companies, which can keep more realistic margins and the workforce, who get their lives back.”.

Orig article with active links:       http://www.bectu.org.uk/news/1952

‘Star Wars’ To Shoot At Pinewood

(deadline.com)             We already knew that, like its six predecessors, Star Wars: Episode VII was going to shoot in the UK where expectations were that it would end up at Pinewood Studios. Now we know for sure. Pinewood isn’t talking publicly about the news that was first reported by Screen, but a source close to the production tells me the movie will indeed set up camp at the iconic facility that’s also home to James Bond.

Director J.J. Abrams recently said production would start at the beginning of 2014 and that “Most likely we are going to be moving to London at the end of the year” for the film. Pinewood currently has Kenneth Branagh’s Cinderella in residence along with Marvel’s Guardians Of The Galaxy. Along with those two films, Star Wars will mark the latest in recent collaborations between Disney and Pinewood. Angelina Jolie-starrer Maleficent shot there earlier this year. But it’s not all Disney business. Fox’s Exodus, the biblical epic from Ridley Scott, will also shoot at Pinewood later this year. With all those movies in residence, will there be enough room? I’m assured that even with a massive project like Star Wars moving in, Pinewood will be able to have two or three other films at the same time.


Schwarzenegger Battles Zombies In “Maggie”

(darkhorizons.com)           Arnold Schwarzenegger has scored leading role in Henry Hobson’s zombie feature “Maggie”.

The story begins as a ‘walking dead’ virus spreads across the country. A family on a farm must help their eldest daughter come to terms with her infection as she slowly turns into a flesh-eating zombie.

Chloe Grace Moretz was previously linked for a role in the project, but has had to depart due to scheduling conflicts.

Schwarzenegger is also planning to serve as a producer on the film which boasts a script by John Scott III that made the 2011 Black List.

How A Dream Job Comes True

(makeuseof.com)            It’s not every day that I get to pick the brain of a world-leading 3D artist — but that’s exactly what I got to do with Rafael Grassetti. You may not recognize Rafael’s name, but you have no doubt seen his work on massively popular games like Assassins Creed 3, Mass Effect 3, and others. You may have even held one of the toys he designed for toy giant Hasbro. In short, Rafael is one 3D artist who made it big, and I wanted to find out more about how he made it, and what it takes to become a leading 3D artist and work for companies like Sony.

Full article with artwork pics:    http://www.makeuseof.com/tag/what-does-it-take-to-design-characters-for-mass-effect-3-and-other-hits-interviewing-world-class-3d-artist-rafael-grassetti/


How technology Has Changed Animation: a Brief History

(memeburn.com)             For many years, the use and growth of technology has facilitated animation’s development. From the early ages of the phenakistoscope disk (spindle viewer) or flipbook, to the invention of the zoetrope and current creations of graphic animation, technology has helped animation evolve from two — to three-dimensional format and even on to stereoscopic 3D.

More recently, technology tools facilitating computer animation include for example the digital pen, tablet and digital sculpting tools. In addition, high-end 3D animation software enables most of what one would see in a conventional animated movie such as modelling, rendering, animation, and lightning. And for certain animated sequences requiring an extra edge, there is always the opportunity to develop custom-made proprietary software to add that extra element to the final product.

But be it video games, movies or television — all of them carry the tell-tale signs of modern animation techniques facilitated by the use of technology. Yet long before the invention of computers, animators made use of hand drawings to create their animated characters which brought with it the tedious task of keeping track of each and every physical drawing making up the animation sequence.

The advent of computer and graphic processing hardware has fundamentally changed this process. However, whereas the length of time it takes to make an animated movie has remained relatively the same, it is the quality of the end result which has significantly improved as a result of this technology.

It was during the 1980s, however, that the newer technologies became more widely used allowing the animation industry to evolve and change the manner in which traditional animation was created. The new technology meant that, much like with the use of robots in manufacturing, machines could do more of the work. With the introduction of computer animation, people were afraid that computers would take their jobs.

However, thanks to a short animated film produced by Brian Jennings and Bill Kroyer, entitled Technological Threat, this fear was reduced as it was clearly illustrated not only how computer animation integrates with traditional animation, but how there is a place for both. Not only can and does traditional and computer animation coexist, but often a combination of both is needed.

Traditional animation remains a prominent form of animation to this day and continues to grow with new animators joining the industry each year. Computer animation is not meant as a replacement for traditional hand-drawn characters, but rather viewed as another tool in an animator’s box of tricks. Just because one owns a drill, it does not make a screwdriver obsolete! Each has an important role to play, together with their unique pros and cons. After all, a tool is only as good as the person who is trained to use it and the same holds true for computer animation. In order for this technology to reach its full potential, a key starting point still needs to be the animator’s natural creative ability and learnt skill.

To date, traditional animation still continues to receive both nominations and awards. An example of this is The Princess & The Frog which has been nominated for “Best Animated Feature Film” at the Golden Globes. Other examples include the all-time epic Beauty and the Beast, French animated film Triplets of Belleville and Paperman which recently received an Oscar for Best Animated Short Film. But traditional animation is not limited to the big screen only, with hit prime-time cartoon show The Simpsons being a very well-known and loved example.

But as mentioned earlier, technology has a definite role to play. It is creating a virtual 3D space for animation processes and together with the animator’s talent, producing results previously not possible. The Bengal Tiger in the latest blockbuster, Life of Pi by Ang Lee being a perfect example. Technology enabled the art of animation to create and enable the tiger’s performance to be as life-like as possible without needing to stage a real animal.

Not only has this never been done before, and in that an animation feat, but as animators and animation studios continue to combine the latest technological advances with natural-born creative talent, they continue to push the envelope and raise the bar of possibilities. And it is this which keeps audiences spellbound and on the edge of their seats, but most importantly, coming back for more.

‘Transformers 4’ Movie Closing Major Highway Near Adrian

(AP) – The makers of the next installment of the “Transformers” movie franchise plan to shoot this month near Adrian.

The Daily Telegram of Adrian  reports that wheat fields along Michigan 52 in Lenawee County’s Fairfield Township will host the shooting of an action scene for the movie “Transformers 4” later this month.

In March, the Michigan Film Office said the state approved for a $20 million incentive for “Transformers 4” and said and shooting would take place in the Detroit area.

The newspaper says moviemakers will use a 2 mile stretch of M-52, about 65 miles southwest of Detroit.

The Michigan Department of Transportation says it’s approved the closing of the roadway from June 25 to 29 for the shooting.


Freelancing in South Africa’s Visual Effects and Animation Industry

(bizcommunity.com)             Let me start by saying that I am not an animator per se. I can, model and rig a character, and, nine times out of ten, convey the intention needed in a creative brief, but the subtle, challenging demands of emotion through performance via a computer generated character? No.
My strengths and expertise lie further down the animation pipeline. I shade, texture, light, render and composite images, to produce what are hopefully considered good-looking images. As a Supervisor or Technical Director I am also involved in look-development and much of the technical planning needed to execute shots successfully later in the schedule, and further down the pipeline.

I have been fortunate to work abroad on major feature productions (Aardman’s Oscar nominated ‘Pirates! Band of Misfits’ & Animal Logic’s ‘Legend of the Guardians’), as well as locally on many commercials. I’ve been doing this for a few years now, and I’ve managed to acquire a healthy perspective of the South African animation and visual-effects industry.

There is a lot going on in the film and animation industry, both in S.A. as well as abroad.

I’m tempted to label some of it ‘good’ and some of it ‘bad’ but experience has taught me that these terms are simply the point of view of the writer. So I will attempt to take a balanced point of view in the interests of both the ‘Captains of Industry’ as well as its ‘Crew’.

I hope this article will be a straight-forward and honest appraisal of the state of visual-effects and animation in South Africa and will be of some value to young artists and technicians entering, or considering a career in, animation or film in South Africa.

One disclaimer I must make up front is that this article does not include the production service industry in South Africa. I have not worked in that part of the industry and know little about it. This article applies to the animation, post-production and visual effects industry in South Africa.

Full article:   http://www.bizcommunity.com/Article/196/17/95316.html


‘The Avengers 2’ Finally Signs Iron Man For Sequel

(enstarz.com)           Marvel has solidified their relationship with Robert Downey Jr and managed to coax the actor into another two-film deal.

As Joss Whedon assembles his team for The Avengers 2, many feared that Downey would not return to the cast. Following Iron Man 3, Downey’s four-film contract as the suave Tony Stark came to an end. Getting the iconic actor back into Iron Man’s suit meant that Marvel had to meet his high costs.

Although Downey was paid upwards of $50 million for the previous Avengers flick, Whedon previously stated that he did not want to make the second installment without his original Iron Man.

‘I’m what’s known as ‘a strategic cost,'” Downey told GQ of how he managed to finagle so much money in his contract while other members of the Avengers only walked away with around $2 million.

However, Downey’s new contract is only for two films, The Avengers 2 and The Avengers 3. This still leaves the question of further Iron Man stand-alone films up in the air.

If Downey is not in a future Iron Man 4, Marvel Studios president Kevin Feige is perfectly willing to cast another actor in his role.

“I believe there will be a fourth Iron Man film and a fifth and a sixth and a 10th and a 20th,” Feige said, according to EW. “I see no reason why Tony Stark can’t be as evergreen as James Bond.”

For now though, Downey will continue to be the face of Marvel’s “billionaire, genius, playboy, philanthropist.”

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