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Grounded: A VFX Short with some Heart

Grounded: A VFX Short with some Heart

In this day and age of huge Sci-fi VFX productions that really don't go anywhere (cough!.. Prometheus...cough! cough!) emotionally we find ourselves longing for some real substance with our entertainment.  Enter Grounded , a film short by Kevin Margo, a VFX vet from Blur Studio, about an Astronauts journey through space and life.  The short was a top award winner at multiple festivals around the planet and in true VFX fashion Kevin and his team created a process short along with the film to show all of those VFX hopefuls out there just how it was done.  Top notch work from a top notch creative, I do hope we see some more from Mr. Margo's mind!

0 Comments gareth morgan

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gareth morgan
Thu 4 Oct 2012: 7:07pm

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Escape Studios launch the VFX festival with star studded panel of industry experts.

Escape Studios launch the VFX festival with star studded panel of industry experts.

Last Thursday, Escape Studios launched the UK’s first VFX Festival with an exclusive panel debate made up of the industry’s top flag bearers!

0 Comments Robert Broadbent

Posted by
Robert Broadbent
Tue 2 Oct 2012: 1:38pm

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Prime Focus World – Dredd 3D

Prime Focus World – Dredd 3D

Prime Focus World is the VFX house behind another big box office success, delivering 650 stereo VFX shots for “Dredd” in 3D. To put that into perspective for you, that’s 90% of the VFX for the entire movie. What’s more, this was achieved over a 24-week production period. A massive achievement on an epic scale!

0 Comments Ellen Payne

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Ellen Payne
Mon 1 Oct 2012: 10:00am

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Looper – the next Matrix flick?

Looper – the next Matrix flick?

Described as ‘this decades The Matrix, the phrase alone has already set very high standards for it’s audience.  Possibly a bold statement to make, The Matrix was pretty groundbreaking for it’s time. At first glance, the statement seems a cheap marketing gimmick, and one with little to support it. But if ever a marketing gimmick was doing it’s job right, it is now… because it definitely grabbed my attention and intrigued me enough to find out more about the film.

1 Comments Ellen Payne

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Ellen Payne
Fri 28 Sep 2012: 5:00pm

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They call him, Machete

They call him, Machete

Those of you who have seen Robert Rodriquez’s grindhouse (destined to be) cult classic, ‘Machete’, will agree that after 105 minutes of semi naked women, full blown gun fights and next level gore, the best part of the film comes at the very end.

0 Comments Robert Broadbent

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Robert Broadbent
Fri 28 Sep 2012: 4:00pm

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Honorary Academy Award goes to DreamWorks' Jeffrey Katzenberg

Honorary Academy Award goes to DreamWorks' Jeffrey Katzenberg

The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences has announced that Jeffrey Katzenberg, the 'K' of DreamWorks Animation SKG, is to be given an honorary Oscar at the Governors awards ceremony this November.

0 Comments mark spevick

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mark spevick
Mon 24 Sep 2012: 9:05am

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The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey

The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey

First of all, there was the announcement of a cinematic addition to 'Lord of the Rings', the prequel The Hobbit. Great! Then there was the news that the prequel would be part of a trilogy, even more exciting!

0 Comments Robert Broadbent

Posted by
Robert Broadbent
Fri 21 Sep 2012: 9:30am

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Partysaurus Rex!

Partysaurus Rex!

Like many other film fans, my journey with Pixar’s original animation classic Toy Story, has been an emotional one. From the age of 5 I’ve watched every instalment of the Toy Story trilogy, each time within a week of its release at the cinema, even the third, which as a 20 year old I saw in 3D, twice.

0 Comments Robert Broadbent

Posted by
Robert Broadbent
Thu 20 Sep 2012: 10:00am

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The Economic Impact of the UK Film Industry

The Economic Impact of the UK Film Industry

Following a lot of doom and gloom surrounding the UK economy, it’s always nice to read something positive about an industry contributing towards economic growth. The BBC posted an article this week discussing an independent report examining the impact of the film industry on the UK economy. And we feel this report is just the thing we need to restore faith in the creative talent that exists this side of the pond, so it can be nurtured allowing the industry to flourish even further.

0 Comments Ellen Payne

Posted by
Ellen Payne
Wed 19 Sep 2012: 12:05pm

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A guide to CG animations from 1964

A guide to CG animations from 1964

We often take CG for granted in modern films—everything from sci-fi flicks to action-heavy blockbusters include plenty of computer generated visuals. But in 1964 the process wasn't quite so widespread.

0 Comments Brad Collier-Brown

Posted by
Brad Collier-Brown
Tue 18 Sep 2012: 5:00pm

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Right up our street!

Right up our street!

Good day film fans! Here’s something we saw online that is sure to tickle your pickle!

0 Comments Robert Broadbent

Posted by
Robert Broadbent
Tue 18 Sep 2012: 12:00pm

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The VFX Festival 2012 - Get your tickets now!

The VFX Festival 2012 - Get your tickets now!

Step into the mind-blowing world of VFX with The VFX Festival! Escape Studios has created the first ever four-day festival exploring the breathtaking world of visual effects, held in London on 10th-13th October.

Celebrating a decade of UK visual effects, the festival will be packed with the most respected VFX talent, visionaries and companies who have helped shape the industry. Offering inspirational insight behind the clever trickery in this booming VFX industry, with an exciting four-day programme packed with insider knowledge and information, showreel demos, hands-on workshops and exclusive premieres, it's perfect for those with a creative talent or thirst to develop their VFX Career.

19 Comments Bethan Lofthouse

Posted by
Bethan Lofthouse
Mon 17 Sep 2012: 1:30pm

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They don’t make films like they used to!

They don’t make films like they used to!

Who Framed Roger Rabbit? is one film responsible for inspiring a whole generation of animators. This is very much the case in the UK particularly, and largely because of the massive contribution from one very talented Brit, Richard Williams, and his team at Elstree Studios. And so, when I came across this posting on io9.com, I felt I should share the little nostalgic nugget with you all.

0 Comments Davi Stein

Posted by
Davi Stein
Mon 17 Sep 2012: 12:05pm

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Webseries spotlight: Red vs Blue - Part II

Webseries spotlight: Red vs Blue - Part II

Continuing on from Part I of this blog... then, at the start of season 8, and totally out of the blue, RvB started using action sequences, made with fully scripted fight scenes that involve stunts not possible with the previous game engine. CG had crept its way into the show, and in a big way; multiple people beating the incredible hell out of each other, huge explosions, space fights, giant weapons, and jaw dropping set pieces littered season 8, including a hilarious 8-minute sequence of Tex destroying the Reds and Blues, and flashbacks to Project Freelancer.

0 Comments Ash Miles

Posted by
Ash Miles
Mon 17 Sep 2012: 9:05am

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Webseries spotlight: Red vs Blue - Part I

Webseries spotlight: Red vs Blue - Part I
And here we arrive at the end of our spotlight on web series blogs that have cool visual effects. And fittingly, we will wrap up with one of my absolute favourite shows.
This show began with a few friends recording themselves playing Halo; Combat Evolved(http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Halo:_Combat_Evolved), and dubbed voices over the top to create humorous shorts. Now, ten years later, those few guys have become Rooster Teeth(http://roosterteeth.com/home.php), and are the proud owners of the internet's longest running webseries, Red vs Blue(http://roosterteeth.com/archive/?sid=rvb&v=more). RvB has won many awards, and now has a huge fanbase(http://rvb.wikia.com/wiki/Red_vs._Blue_Wiki) over the entire world. 
In the begining, RvB was a clever nod to the nuances of videogaming; two teams, of the aformentioned colours, trapped in a boxed canyon with two identical bases with no purporse or logical goal other than to kill eachother. There was a heavy emphasis on humour, specifically for gamers and Halo fans. Over the last decade, however, it has evolved. The length of the episodes has grown, the cast has greatly expanded, the plot has twisted and turned dramatically, and although they are split into seasons, the episodes actually tell one long continuous story from start to finish, which at this point clocks in at over 18 hours. It's basically one really, really long film. 
The comedy has continued - and improved - over the years. However what's more impressive is the story, and how, despite it being created on a year by year basis, it continuously managed to tie itself into past events to create on long complex yet sophisticated narrative.
Both visually and in terms of production value, you can see how the show has adapted over the years. In its beginning(http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9BAM9fgV-ts), RvB was filmed in an almost bootleg fashion, where large black bars covered the top and bottom of the screen to cover the Halo HUD, and the aiming reticule is always visible in the centre of the screen (They have since gone back and 'remastered' these episodes for HD quality). As the popularity of the show increased, Bungie(http://www.bungie.net), the creators of the Halo series, gave the guys at Rooster Teeth the means to record and render their exploits with their own in game cameras. Rooster Teeth have also cleverly used their stories to explain the visual differences that occur as new versions on Halo are released. For example, when they began to use Halo 2(http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Halo_2), the cast were blown into the future, where everything looked better and shinier. 
Then, at the start of season 8(http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VQ9pCqbwCFo&list=ELKa7KIIcrH8k&index=3&feature=plpp_video), and totally out of the blue, RvB started using action sequences have been made with fully scripted fight scenes that involve stunts not possible with the previous game engine. CG had crept its way into the show, and in a big way; multiple people beating the incredible hell out of each other, huge explosions, space fights, giant weapons, and jaw dropping set pieces littered season 8, including an hilarious 8 minute sequence of Tex destroying the Reds and Blues(http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ke9wtbzGjCI&feature=relmfu), and her epic final battle against Washington and The Meta (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZgweBtQLL5g&feature=relmfu).
Since then, the show has cleverly incorporated fully CG sequences by showing flashbacks to Project Freelancer(http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xQ3OZfPsP2E&list=ELYWB-pNdHjy0&index=2&feature=plpp_video) that tie into the current story. They've also built models for their characters underneath the suits of armour they wear, allowing their helmets to come off. It's important to remember that this is still a low budget show so the graphics aren't movie quality, but it's perfectly forgiveable considering the sheer amount of action and artistic direction used. 
For those of you who're desperate to follow RvB in all its glory after this extremely  thorough and well-written blog (which, I'm sure, will be all of you) it's important to point out a few things. The first 3 season's do look a little rough by today's standards, and it takes just a little bit of time for the cast to refine their voices. While it's fine to skip ahead to see the kind of quality you'll end up with, I urge you to start at the beginning, otherwise you'll fail to grasp most of the long running jokes. Also; it's totally hilarious, heartfelt, intelligent and constantly impresses with its ability to create a complex and intriguing story using just a few multilayer maps from a video game. So you should watch it anyway. 
It terms of visual effects, RvB delivers incredibly over the top sequences that rival any film this side of The Avengers(http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0848228/). In terms of the series as a whole, there's a reason this show has been running longer that most television shows, keeps winning awards, had it's fictional game Griffball incorporated into Halo 3 (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Halo_3), and generally keeps getting better every year (this has even seen the inclusion of Elijah Wood to the cast). It's the best and longest running webseries out there, and well worth you're attention. Now go; you've got 18 hours of webshow to watch this weekend. Enjoy!

And here we arrive at the end of our spotlight on webseries blogs that have cool visual effects. And fittingly, we will wrap up with one of my absolute favourite shows.

0 Comments Ash Miles

Posted by
Ash Miles
Mon 17 Sep 2012: 9:00am

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Union VFX's 'River Zoom'

In a bid to cure our post-Oylmpic blues, we've been re-watching Union VFX's fantastic opening sequence, comprising a mix of real photography, animation and CG elements, which helped to kick off the celebrations at the opening ceremony for the Games. 

0 Comments Taran Spear

Posted by
Taran Spear
Thu 13 Sep 2012: 5:30pm

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VFX Union

VFX Union

A subject that started off as an online murmur, has gathered a considerable amount of momentum over the last few weeks, as many VFX artists and industry professionals have begun to campaign, (or at least talk about campaigning) for the unionisation of VFX artists.

0 Comments Garreth Gaydon

Posted by
Garreth Gaydon
Wed 5 Sep 2012: 4:30pm

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Prime Focus Effects on 'Total Recall’... Part II

Prime Focus Effects on 'Total Recall’... Part II

Following on from Part I... Of course, the challenging work didn’t stop there. The team was faced with a range of tasks, including the China Falls sequence, creating multiple Synths for the Synth bay as well as getting the reflective metal and shiny plastic surfaces just right. To tackle this, the team customised their pipeline to help make the workload all the more manageable. Alex continued saying...

0 Comments Ellen Payne

Posted by
Ellen Payne
Wed 5 Sep 2012: 4:07pm

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Prime Focus Effects on 'Total Recall’... Part I

Prime Focus Effects on 'Total Recall’... Part I

If a movie is a massive studio blockbuster, then the Prime Focus World visual effects team have most likely had some involvement in its making. Prime Focus was responsible for creating the stunning effects for titles such as Men in Black 3, Dredd 3D, Mirror Mirror and Total Recall…to name just a few! And of course, every new VFX project comes with its own challenges. Len Wiseman’s remake of Total Recall was one such project that allowed the team to flex their creative and technical muscle.

0 Comments Ellen Payne

Posted by
Ellen Payne
Wed 5 Sep 2012: 2:00pm

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A Joker of a film?

A Joker of a film?

Here at Escape Studios, we’re all about the visuals. Cut us and we bleed visuals... I’m sure you’re well aware!

0 Comments Robert Broadbent

Posted by
Robert Broadbent
Wed 5 Sep 2012: 10:30am

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