If you, like me, were the owner of a PS1 back in the late 90’s, (or as we called it back then, simply ‘the Playstation’) there’s quite a high chance you would have owned stealth action game ‘Metal Gear Solid’, the successor to Konami’s MSX2 tactical action espionage game, ‘Metal Gear’, which this week celebrated its 25th anniversary.
Our visual effects and compositing students have gone on to work on some pretty awesome projects over the years. These include the many studio blockbusters that light up cinema screens around the world. Seeing escapee names in the rolling credits at the end of such films never fails to give us that warm fuzzy feeling of pride – proud to see they have achieved the goal they had when we first met them on our courses. And this was very much the case when some of the Escape team went to an exclusive screening of Snow White and The Huntsman at Framestore a few months ago.
“Big things have small beginnings”, was an idea acknowledged in Ridley Scott’s Prometheus, released earlier this year. And for us, this statement couldn’t be more true. Taking the art of visual effects as a prime example, the spectacular CG you see on screens today was born from the most basic of concepts, and the people who created those effects invested significant time and energy to become the talented artists they are today. Every creative talent has to start out somewhere, and with the right levels of care and determination, it can evolve into something magnificent.
This year’s remake of cult classic ‘Total Recall’ has sparked some serious controversy in the world of film. Here at Escape Studios we are PUMPED for its release, given the fact that a number of our graduates have worked on it over the last year, on the VFX side of things.
Mortal Kombat is a franchise everyone's familiar with. Along with Street Fighter and Tekken, it's one of the classic beat 'em ups of early arcades and game consoles, pitching several outrageous competitors against each other in an excessively violent fight to the death for...well who cares what the reason was, it was awesome! Spawning a huge list of games from 1992 all the way to the present day, MK has helped taint innocent childhoods for 20 years. It had two major films, one acceptable, one classically woeful, and last year, around the release of Mortal Kombat 9, came a pleasant surprise; Mortal Kombat: Rebirth.
Today I discovered a VFX themed collaboration which includes one of my favourite YouTube faces, Harley Morenstein of ‘Epic Meal Time’. He joins competitive gamer, filmmaker and part time VFX technician ‘Freddie Wong’, making for an outright ridiculous, (yet entertaining) couple of minutes of VFX action.
Escapee Hasraf Dulull's fifteen-minute film is a true work of art! Set in an alternate reality with cats and dogs, it mixes some intense action with some serious drama, all emphatically enhanced by a unique animation visual style.
A film currently bringing an interesting element of humour to cinema screens in Ireland has been described as the heir to the “Shaun of the Dead” throne. This statement may not be far wrong. I won’t lie to you, the plot is a tad mental, but in that great tongue-in-cheek way that makes it the kind of film that will surely cheer you up at the end of a tough week. The film in question is Jon Wright’s Grabbers, and it’s one I hope you’ll all get a chance to see.
Despite all its woes over the first season, AMC's The Walking Dead amassed a huge following during its second season. Even though the story has arguably dragged at times, there is no doubting the fantastic special effects work that goes into each and every episode of the zombie thriller. Based on Robert Kirkman’s popular zombie apocalypse comic book series by the same name, The Walking Dead has captivated TV audiences for two seasons and is already whetting appetites for its highly anticipated third season, scheduled to air in the UK in October. The story follows a group of survivors, lead by police officer Rick Grimes (Andrew Lincoln), who band together in the midst of a gruesome zombie apocalypse. The creative concoction that is The Walking Dead blends real-world and CG elements, characters, and environments. Artists at Stargate Studios, an international production services and postproduction company, merge that which is real and imagined, as well as dead and undead, into a convincing, cohesive whole on a rather impressive weekly basis.
Is your mind a whirling dervish of creativity? Do your ideas formulate out of the blue, and evolve from non-existence to intrinsically detailed visions, in a matter of minutes? Channeling these skills can be an adventure, especially if you enter an industry where the boundaries are seemingly limitless…
I had the opportunity to watch a VES (Visual Effects Society) preview screening of Pixar’s Brave, a few weeks back. And this screening, like many VES screenings, was a very special one. We were greeted by two guest speakers who had come all the way from the US to answer questions from the London professional visual effects community, and well as some kids along for the ride to see the amazing red locks of the heroine, Princess Merida. Director Mark Andrews and Producer Katherine Serafian provided fascinating trivia about the whole process of making this film.
The art of filmmaking has come a long way over the last 100 years. The technology we use today to create breath-taking scenes continues to push the boundaries of high-definition and realism, but we should never forget the genius of film crews who didn’t have the opportunity to ‘fix it in post’ or rely on computer graphics to set the scene. As lots of you know, some of the best moments in film history were created by filmmakers having to think on their feet, making the best of an impossible situation. And of course there are certain skills that were essential to the filmmaking process back then that will start to be forgotten due to the rise in post-production capabilities and accessibility.