Since 2002’s 28 Days Later, the world has seen the return of the zombie film - in a massive way, and in the last 10 years we have been witness to films of this genre in all manner of shapes and forms.
Last Wednesday we sauntered down to our friends at Saddington Baynes, devoured some gourmet Pizza, washed it down with some ice cold beer and cleansed our pallets with some invigorating VFX related conversation, all in the name of our second graduate reunion…who says you can’t mix business with pleasure? And with a high calibre of industry employed attendees from the likes of Double Negative, Framestore, The Mill and MPC London, conversation was rife.
There is a lot of nonsense out there on the internet, and often the line between fact and fiction is a blurred one. For the VFX industry however, the net provides a sturdy back catalogue of fact based webinars, tutorials and breakdowns, with many of the key players in the business regularly exhibiting online what they do. The internet is truly a tool that when utilised, can inspire and educate.
Success stories about our escapees are always a pleasure to write up. What's even better though is the opportunity to write another, on the same person, just a year later! Mark Pascoe recently answered some questions for us, explaining his journey from studying Sports Science at University to working on the VFX for an Emmy nominated TV Show for the Discovery channel.
It’s fair to say that the world of VFX is a bit like a tardis, a tardis that escapee Allyn Lawson knows all about.
We’ve been catching up with lots of the escapees from over the years, and one story in particular has been hugely inspiring to us. Having studied a ten week Maya comprehensive course at Escape Studios back in 2003, Alenka Abraham has paved a very exciting career for herself. Taking on an R&D software project at Glassworks, Alenka met her future business partner, Adam Cubitt. Together they set up Existential Ltd., a company that develops both real-time and off-line computer visualisation and animation technology. Collaborating with leading post-production companies like MPC, and many others across the UK, they’ve been involved in pioneering projects and are making quite a name for themselves.
NATIVITY is a pioneering digital art project by Martha Fiennes, a moving-image interpretation of the Christ Nativity inspired by a canon of Renaissance paintings on the story. Martha’s idea for this project was brought to life through the process of SLOimage, which is the process of random and perpetual image self-generation. It slowly transforms through a wide range of alternative pictorial content in a way that is unpredictable to both the artist and the viewer. In a way, it is as though this technique has its own level of consciousness, allowing the artwork to generate meaning in new and very unexpected ways.
When you consider the people who work in animation and VFX, many are guilty of picturing the stereotype in their minds; a bunch of geeky men working in a cramped computer room to produce the stunning images we see on screen. And I write to you now, with a sigh of relief, knowing that this is actually not the case. The Visual Effects Society (VES) has uploaded a video to their website which shows the NAB 2012 panel, consisting of five women, sharing their views, opinions and experiences working in the industry. The panel includes: questions from Randi Altman with answers from Jenny Fulle, Gabby Gourrier, Joni Jacobson, Jody Madden and Sarah McGrail.
Doing a VFX course can lead your career in many directions. For many of our students it has been the launching pad for a career in post-production, for film, TV and commercials. Many students have also gone on to work in other areas such as games and architectural visualisation. We teach the fundamentals and practicalities of working in CG, paving the way for what you will eventually specialise in.
This year, Escape Studios is ten years old, and it’s a pretty big deal for us. It’s also a big deal for all of the students who we’ve trained over the years and are now dotted throughout the world of VFX. So, from now on, every week, we’re going to be launching a story from our escapee Wall of Fame which will showcase all of the escapees who have gone on to work on the biggest and boldest films, TV shows, commercials and games over the years. It’s a chance for them to step up and take a bow, albeit a virtual one.
Pixomondo has expanded their impressive global network of VFX studios yet again. Recently they established their twelfth facility at the Celtic Media Centre in Baton Rouge, Louisiana to service local film and commercial productions as well as provide support to the other international studios. With over 150,000 square feet of design-built stage spaces, the Celtic Media Centre is perfect for meeting the demands of any production. This is the largest studio facility in Louisiana state, and with the generous tax incentives currently in place in that region, this looks to be a great move for the Oscar winning VFX company.
Our friends at Hoxton Redsox recently completed a very fun job for one of their clients, Fox. This is the viral video for the upcoming release of Ridley Scott’s latest feature, Prometheus. Happy Birthday David was designed and directed by Johnny Hardstaff and shows the unboxing of Weyland Industries robot David 8, played by Michael Fassbender. A great addition to a range of teasers produced for the lead up to this film, we recommend you all take a look.
A recent venture undertaken here at Escape was to invite established post production houses in Soho to coach our students, to offer them direct feedback on their work here at our studio, and subsequently helping them prepare for what is expected once they enter the industry. On Thursday, 12th April 2012, the alumni class of Studio 5 attended the final coaching session with Framestore commercials, where they got to present their ‘end of course’ project to the VFX producers for feedback. Charles Downman was among the group presenting work that day, and here’s what he had to say about the experience...
Every year Sci-Fi London runs a competition inviting Sci-Fi fans and filmmakers to take part in a 48hrs film challenge. Armed with a title, a line of dialogue, a scientific theme and a specified prop, competing teams have two days to develop and make a 5 minute short film. The winning film is premiered during the London Sci-Fi Film Festival, and also benefits from a promotional platform through The Guardian newspaper website, as well as a development deal with independent UK production company, Vertigo Films.