As most of you know, the UK Visual Effects' industry appears to be in a very healthy position at the moment. Many of the large post houses in Soho are in the middle of long term projects and most studios are commenting on the lack of available freelancers. As a result, the Recruitment team here at Escape has never been busier!
The chances are, if you’re reading this blog, you’ve got more than a passing interest in the film industry. Alright, specifically the VFX part, but still, you’re keen to know as much as you can about the industry, and possibly how you can break into it (hopefully with our help…).
I came across an interesting little article yesterday on PodcastFilmReview.com about the top ten uses of special effects for story telling. It was refreshing to see someone looking at this from the angle of the story telling rather than just for the special effects themselves.
The BBC have announced that they are to broadcast a new series of famous dinosaurs documentaries. This will be a much shorter series than the original Walking with Dinasaurs - only 3 programs - but will feature all the 3D and visual effects wizardry you would expect from this program. According to Broadcasting News, it will feature photo-realistic fight scenes to give a "whole new perspective on dinosaurs".
No doubt you’ll all be looking forward to the Oscars this weekend. It's particularly significant if you’re a VFX fan, with five nominees in the Visual Effects category this year rather than three.
On Tuesday I attended the launch of the Livingtone-Hope report which was undertaken to address the skills issues facing the UK's games and visual effects. Escape Studios staff have taken part in a number of the surveys which went into building the data for this report as well as speaking directly to Hasan Bakhshi and Juan Mateos-Garcia from NESTA, who did a large amount of the work of pulling the data for the draft report together. In essence the report lays out 20 recommendations across the talent pipeline from schools through FE and HE to the industry. All these parties as well as the government and other skills and training bodies such as Skillset are called on to do their bit. All of this whilst being realistic about the funding and resources available, the recommendations had to be about the focus of existing funds not calls for large sums of new money.
I just wanted to point you towards this article which discusses the amazing title sequence for Scott Pilgram. When I was a student wanting to get into the industry I found out about Shynola (a collective group of visual artists who have collaborated on a variety of projects) when a brilliant but very strange music video was produced by Unkle called "eye for an eye". When I came across this article of how Shynola worked with the Edgar Wright the director of Scott Pilgram, I decided to have a look.
So when an academy awarded influential film editor like Walter Murch makes very detrimental comments about 3D stereo some people should take a long hard look at it. What does 3D really add to the whole film experience except expense and a headache? You can find his comments here - all of which are very observant and true.
It's that time of year when everybody makes a multitude of New Year's resolutions. I am of the opinion that they are not worth doing unless you are going to stick to them. Having said that, we have actually decided to start the year with a resolution. It’s a fairly simple one: we are resolute in our wish to give you more of the free tutorials that you want. There you are, I told you it would be an easy one.
Here's a link to a fantastic reel from our friends at Displace Studios, they worked with us earlier this year to create some eye popping 3D brand furniture for our new website and other collateral. They did an amazing job for us and I wish them every luck with this new venture.
As the end of 2010 approaches we're filling up fast for our next round of courses in January 2011. The last spot on our Compositing course has just gone, so the next seats available for that are now in April. We have also just filled our Character Animation course with Alex Williams so we now only have a few seats left on the two Visual Effects Production courses, taught by Mark Spevick and Dan Shutt.
According to Variety we have been saved from yet more badly converted stereo films - check out the story here. Warner Brothers have canned the release of Harry Potter Deathly Hallows part 1 in 3D. This is due to quality issues, that were mainly due to time constraints, and Warner have come to the conclusion that the converted film was not high enough quality. I can only applaud them for not releasing yet another stereo nasty.
It's been a few years since Paul Debevec produced his paper with Jitendra Malik, Recovering High Dynamic Range Radiance Maps from Photographs, at SIGGRAPH. Since then, people all the world have begun to generate high dynamic range still images and probes - essentially capturing all the light information from a scene in mulitple passes using digital cameras and then merging these into a single HDR image. A simple web search for HDR Images in google images will present you with an array of hyper-real looking images, or try here for some examples.
Here's my final post showing some work from the courses which have just finished. These clips are from escapees who were on the Visual Effects Production course taught by Dan Shutt. Again these are 'work in progress' and need a little more polishing but you can see they are both great ideas that have been really well executed.
Absolute genius on the part of the creatives at Leo Burnetts for Norton.