VFX News 06/10/15

‘Star Wars: Rogue One’ to be Filmed With Arri’s 6K Large Format Camera

(hollywoodreporter.com)             Parts of Star Wars: Rogue One and Mission: Impossible – Rogue Nation were shot with Arri’s Alexa 65, a large format, 6K resolution model of Arri’s popular Alexa camera that is available exclusively through Arri Rental.

Many cinematographers are in line to get their hands on one of the still limited number of the new cameras, which really dazzled when unwrapped last fall, using test footage lensed by cinematographer Greig Fraser (Zero Dark Thirty), who’s using it on Rogue One (the production is also using film).

Oscar winning director of photography Robert Elswit (There Will Be Blood) used the Alexa 65 for an underwater sequence in the upcoming Mission Impossible film, which is mostly shot with 35mm and 65mm film.

The Great Wall is in production with director Yimou Zhang and Oscar nominated cinematographer Stuart Dryburgh (The Piano), who’s using the camera, possibly, for the entire movie.

Also as previously reported in The Hollywood Reporter, Emmanuel “Chivo” Lubezki—who won back to back Oscars for Gravity and Birdman—used the Alexa 65 for part of Alejandro G. Inarritu’s The Revenant.

As part of a partnership with Imax, Arri is also co-developing a version of the Alexa 65 for Imax production. Avengers: Infinity War is set to be shot with it in its entirety, and Captain America: The Civil War will also use the Alexa 65 for an Imax format.

Last weekend, Munich-headquartered Arri — which celebrates its 100th anniversary in 2017 — was awarded a technical lifetime achievement award at Cine Gear Expo. Presenting the award, American Society of Cinematographers past president Daryn Okada said, “It’s pretty undeniable what their impact will be in the future. They keep innovating.”

A Visitor’s Guide to ‘Jurassic World’ Dinos

(USA TODAY)        (If you’re going to open up a dinosaur-filled theme park, go big or go home.

Same thing goes for making a dinosaur-filled movie such as Jurassic World, the new movie (in theaters Friday) that director Colin Trevorrow has populated with genetic creations great and small — some with ancient pedigree, some made-up, and most of them deadly.

The Jurassic World theme park in the film is “a massive corporate entity that’s creating entertainment for people all around the world,” Trevorrow says. “They want to make sure these things are as big and bad and exciting as possible, whether they should exist or not.”

The filmmaker gives USA TODAY a rundown on dinos to look out for in the new movie, from fresh species to old favorites from the three previous Jurassic Park outings.

Full article:    http://www.usatoday.com/story/life/movies/2015/06/10/jurassic-world-dinosaurs-visitors-guide/28752763/

TONIGHT: BFC Post and VFX Event

(visualeffectssociety.com)     The British Film Commission (BFC) invites VES members to an informal discussion about the UK post-production and VFX landscape with speakers from the US and UK, followed by a drinks reception.

Tuesday, June 9, 2015 from 5:00PM to 7:00PM
The London Hotel (Complimentary valet parking)
1020 N. San Vicente Blvd., West Hollywood, CA 90069
Click here for a map.

Speakers will include BFC Chief Executive Adrian Wootton, BFC EVP US Production Kattie Kotok, Post-Production Supervisor Emma Zee and VP Post Production at Focus Features Ben Urquhart, moderated by Bruce Hendricks, President of Dick Cook Studios

RSVP:   https://www.visualeffectssociety.com/events/event/event-bfc-post-and-vfx

200+ New Artists At  DreamWorks Animation Shanghai To Crew “Kung Fu Panda 3”

(latimes.com)               On the 16th floor of a Shanghai office building, dozens of fresh-faced young animators are studying painting, sculpting and acting.

They’re participating in film-appreciation workshops — Woody Allen’s “Match Point” was a recent pick — and learning the latest software tools. Teaching them via video connections were some of the most experienced artists in Los Angeles, veterans who brought to life hits such as “Shrek” and “Madagascar.”

But it won’t take years for these newbies, many of them recent art-school grads, to get their big break working on a Hollywood blockbuster. As employees of Oriental DreamWorks, they’re already staff artists on “Kung Fu Panda 3,” set for release in January.

Reel China: Covering entertainment in China

The runaway success of the “Kung Fu Panda” franchise inspired both awe and envy for Chinese who wondered how Americans came up with a billion-dollar global phenomenon that combines two quintessential elements of Chinese culture — a bumbling black-and-white bear and martial arts.

That sense of admiration and frustration helped smooth the way for DreamWorks Animation Chief Executive Jeffrey Katzenberg to create Oriental DreamWorks in 2012, a $330-million joint venture without precedent in the entertainment industry.

Modeled on agreements that have given American companies like General Motors expanded access to the restrictive Chinese market — in exchange for sharing their technology and know-how — the Shanghai-based entity is 45% owned by DreamWorks Animation.

Other partners include a government investment fund; private equity firm China Media Capital, which has invested in Imax’s China business; and Shanghai Media Group, a multimedia television and radio broadcasting company.

“Being able to be a bit of a pioneer in that market, I think could be incredibly and uniquely valuable for us,” Katzenberg said in an interview. “If we succeed, it could be a game changer for us.”

Hollywood studios have been scrambling to expand their business in China to capitalize on a booming box office, which is expected to overtake U.S. box-office receipts by 2018. DreamWorks is in an enviable position: The $96.3-million haul for the second installment of “Kung Fu Panda” in 2011 still stands as the highest gross ever for an animated film in China.

It also reinforced Katzenberg’s belief that the Middle Kingdom could be a mega-market for his Glendale studio.

Full article: http://www.latimes.com/entertainment/envelope/cotown/la-et-ct-china-dreamworks-20150609-story.html#page=1

Maker of ‘Jurassic Park: The Ride’ To Create Mixed Reality VR Entertainment Destinations

(hollywoodreporter.com)     Landmark Entertainment Group — The L.A.-based producer of such attractions as “Terminator 2 3D” and “Jurassic Park: The Ride” — is getting into the virtual reality business.

The company intends to develop virtual reality experiences for VR goggles such as Samsung VR Gear or Oculus Rift, as well as open mixed reality entertainment destinations that it calls L.I.V.E. (Landmark Interactive Virtual Experience) Centres.

The L.I.V.E. Centre concept includes an interactive museum, a virtual zoo and aquarium, a digital art gallery, a live entertainment stage, immersive movie theater and themed-experience retail.

Landmark Entertainment Group recently formed a partnership with a group of Chinese investors to build L.I.V.E. Centres in China. The first is expected to break ground within the next 12-18 months.

“The majority of what exists in the VR market today is shortform content, whereas our goal is to work with brands to create longform VR entertainment destinations.
What we’re creating is the equivalent of taking your family to a theme park,” said CEO and founder Tony Christopher.

Speaking with The Hollywood Reporter, Christopher said the concept for L.I.V.E. Centres involves combining entertainment with an education component. “We believe we can do something exceptional,” he said, adding that programming could include animals, art and space exploration — all in expected 200,000-square-foot locations.

Oscar Winning Special Effects Artist Rick Baker has Closed Shop Because CGI Has Made His Job Redundant

(news.com.au)               I love technology, although I like my profession a little more. Source: News Corp Australia

OSCAR winning special effects and makeup artist Rick Baker has showcased his work on some of Hollywood’s biggest sets over the past 35 years.

With credits for his work on Men in Black, Star Wars, Planet of the Apes and Michael Jackson’s Thriller, Baker has long been considered a master of his trade.

So, why exactly is he closing his studio and auctioning off 400 of his best-known props?

“When CG (computer generated images) first became popular, we instantly became dinosaurs,
” he told Vice.

“The whole business has changed.”

Full article:   http://www.news.com.au/technology/innovation/oscar-winning-special-effects-artist-rick-baker-has-closed-shop-because-cgi-has-made-his-job-redundant/story-fnjwucti-1227391567108

Animation Companies to Watch

(animationmagazine.net)       Our subscribers will be receiving in the next few days something special: The 250th issue of Animation Magazine!

For this special issue, we compiled a special list of 250 companies, people, products, events and projects that have — and will continue to — define the worlds of animation and visual effects now and long into the future.

We’re very excited about this monumental event and want to make sure our digital readers got in in the fun. So we’ll be rolling out the list online by categories — there are 10 of them — over the next two weeks. The categories are:

Take a look:   http://www.animationmagazine.net/events/the-animation-magazine-250-animation-companies-to-watch/

‘Become Legend’ Wins Best Visual Effects at AICP Awards

(awn.com)         VFX house Digital Domain was honored at the 2015 AICP Awards for Best Visual Effects for its work on the Destiny “Become Legend” commercial. Directed by acclaimed feature filmmaker Joseph Kosinski, Digital Domain collaborated with agency 72andSunny and live action production company Reset to create this breathtaking piece for one of the year’s best selling games. The piece for the first-person shooter video game features a stunning blend of cinematic live action and visual effects.

“We at Digital Domain are thrilled for the Destiny team,” said Rich Flier, Digital Domain’s President of Advertising and Games. “The artists here continue to produce the best work in the business and this is a well-deserved recognition.”

A longtime collaborator with Director Kosinski (Tron: Legacy, Oblivion,) Visual Effects Supervisor Eric Barba and the live action production company Reset sought to create a visually cinematic narrative that brings the game world to life with a seamless integration of photo-real CG and live action footage. Shot in exotic locations such as Tampico, Mexico and Moab, Utah, the production sought to capture as much in camera as they could so Digital Domain could work their magic. Augmenting everything from characters to environmental elements such as fire and landscapes, the Digital Domain team took the exotic Earth-bound locations and transformed them into the pulse pounding game locations of Mars, Venus and the Moon.

“This project exemplifies our ability to deliver commercial clients the same caliber of VFX that our Hollywood studio clients are accustomed to,” said Digital Domain CEO and Senior Visual Effects Supervisor Eric Barba. “We used a lot of the same techniques from our features VFX pipeline.”

The piece delivers the promise of action packed game play from beginning to end. Adding to the adrenaline pumping pace is Led Zeppelin’s “Immigrant Song.”

“72andSunny had a strong idea of what music they wanted going in,” Barba said. “Anytime you get to create a piece of cinema to Led Zeppelin, you’ve already got a strong foundation for a visual piece like this. You just have to make sure the picture lives up to that classic track.”

Godzilla Actor Hiroshi Koizumi Dies

(bbc.com)              Hiroshi Koizumi, a Japanese actor who appeared in several early Godzilla films, has died at the age of 88.

According to reports, he died in Tokyo on 31 May from pneumonia.

Koizumi played the human lead in 1955’s Godzilla Raids Again, the sequel to Toho Studio’s first Godzilla film, which was released the previous year.

He went on to appear in a string of monster films, including Mothra, Godzilla vs The Thing and Ghidorah the Three-Headed Monster.

Koizumi’s other Godzilla films included Godzilla vs Mechagodzilla (1974), The Return of Godzilla (1984) and Godzilla: Tokyo SOS (2003).

His other credits included 47 Samurai in 1962, which also starred Toshiro Mifune, and 1963 war film Attack Squadron.

Indian Films that Spend Millions on Special Effects Just Don’t Make Good Business Sense

(qz.com)          Despite their mega budgets of around $250 million (Rs1,600 crore), Hollywood’s special effects blockbusters—from Avatar to the Twilight and Harry Potter series—often make good business sense. They’re served up to a massive global English-speaking audience, and their first-rate visual effects keep moviegoers glued to their seats.

Now, an Indian film—perhaps the most expensive ever made in India—wants to take on Hollywood, but with a budget of only about Rs175 crore ($28 million). Directed by S. S. Rajamouli, Bahubali will release on July 10 in multiple languages, including Hindi (backed by Karan Johar’s Dharma Productions), Telugu and Tamil.

“Hollywood is much ahead of us in writing and execution. There’s no need to compare our work with theirs. I think getting 80% of their quality in our content with 20% of their budgets will be an achievement,” Rajamouli said in a recent interview. Some 15 visual effects studios and 600 artists have worked on the film over a period of more than two years.

But big budget Indian films, heavy on special effects, typically just don’t deliver the goods.

Producer Rob Cain, writing in Forbes, had this explanation:

…Hindi speaking Indians buy an enormous number of movie tickets each year, but with average ticket prices of just a dollar or two, and movies that gross only a few millions dollars on average, with little audience appeal outside their home turf, it would be foolish in most cases to spend more than a few million dollars to make an Indian language film.

“Indian cinema, including Bollywood, is popular only among people who know about it and sadly most of the world does not,” Tula Goenka, a filmmaker and professor at Syracuse University, told Quartz. “There is a mixture of genres in many films; the aesthetics are not reality based; the song-and-dance routines need getting used to; and most importantly the films are not readily available or widely shown anywhere.”

And apparently, films with special effects are even bigger losers.

“The big VFX-driven films, which are more westernised in their content, tend to alienate the mainstream audience in the smaller towns and rural areas,” Goenka explained. “And the multiplex audience in the cities stay away from these films because they can easily see the real ‘Hollywood’ production.”

Nothing special

Last year, for instance, Tamil film Kochadaiiyaan was made on a budget of Rs125 crore—and ended up with a net box office collection of Rs81 crore.

Tamil superstar Rajinikanth-starrer Enthiran (Robot in Hindi and Telugu) and Shah Rukh Khan’s sci-fi film Ra.One cost about Rs150 crore each, with heavy spending on special effects. And though both delivered big bucks at the box office, the return on investment was dented because of the high cost incurred on the making of these films.

Enthiran—released across 2,250 screens worldwide, with tickets costing up to Rs2,000 in Indian theatres—clocked a revenue of Rs179 crore, including Rs8 crore from satellite rights. (An unofficial estimate, however, is that the film collected Rs350 crore in worldwide box office sales.) Ra.One‘s return on investment was also low, with the film just about breaking even.

Other films with special effects like Drona, Blue, Love Story 2050, among others sank without a trace.

“Jurassic World” Set For Gigantic Bow

(darkhorizons.com)        Universal’s “Jurassic World” is looking set to score the third biggest opening of the season so far following “Furious 7” and “Avengers: Age of Ultron”.

Early estimates for the domestic box-office haul for this coming weekend were at around $100 million a few weeks back. Those have been upgraded with the latest being around $110-140 million.

Overseas, the film is looking to do anywhere from around $240-300 million in around sixty-six international territories where the film is opening at the same time as the United States. The film is also expected to have legs as there’s little real competition in the same genre until “Terminator: Genisys” in three weeks time.

The first reviews have also started coming in with a very mixed reaction to the film with some stern critics either praising it or ripping it to shreds. Check out the reviews so far at Rotten Tomatoes.