Archives for spectacle 场面

Project Kronos
电影《Kronos》

Huge Kudos to Haz who did this great short and looks like he’s got a feature gig off the back end.  He’s a good friend of VisPop, and hopefully we can work together someday down the track.  Anytime VFX guys get films off the ground we should all give a standing round of applause!  Well done man, sincere congrats!

 

Project Kronos from Hasraf HaZ Dulull on Vimeo.

 

Dullul, a VFX artist on “The Dark Knight,” “Hellboy 2″ and the mini-series “The Bible,” will direct from his own screenplay. Shot as a faux-documentary, Dullul’s 14-minute short chronicles a space agency of the near future and its first contact with intelligent life on an interstellar space mission.”

Producers are Chris Lemole and Tim Zajaros of Armory Films, Chris Bender, JC Spink & Jake Weiner of Benderspink and Scott Glassgold and Raymond Brothers of IAM Entertainment. Glassgold and Brothers developed and produced the original short film, which debuted earlier this year…

Here’s the article in Variety about his movie deal!

Keanu’s Directing Debut

keanu

I’m not sure how big of news it is in the west, but Keanu Reeves just release his Directorial Debut film:  The Man Of Tai Chi.  It’s a Chinese film for Chinese audiences with the intent to make distribution in the west.

I saw the film and it’s ok… some great action, but way too much of it.  It has moments where you feel like you’re watching a Hong Kong film of the 70’s…  The movie’s main failing is Keanu’s casting choice for his hero,  Tiger Chen, a stunt man who has to be questioned for his acting chops.  I don’t want to review the film, so I’ll shut up about it creatively.  If you want to read reviews there are a couple here:

Variety

Hollywood Reporter

What’s interesting is the business end of the film…  It’s a western film / filmmaker spending money in China to make a Chinese films.

Unfortunately it tanked!  Less then US$3mil on opening weekend which means probably less than US$10mil for all it’s Chinese run.  Reportedly the film was picked up by the Weinstein Co. so hopefully it’ll have a good global run.

There’s a little article about the movie at chinafilmbiz.com

The movie is about a young martial artist’s unparalleled Tai Chi skills land him in a highly lucrative underworld fight club.

Here’s a link to the trailer.

 

Pacific Rim Making Of Video

pacific_rim-wide

I’m really excited about the new Guillermo Del Toro film:  Pacific Rim.  I’ve been a big fan of Del Toro’s films since Pan’s Labyrinth and it was great to have a couple meetings with him for a potential project a few years back.  He has always has a great eye for effects and he’s at the forefront of making films international.

 

PACIFIC RIM

 

This one has a great international, multi-cultural ensemble cast!  This summer is showing that A-list actor’s don’t open summer tent-pole films any more.  I hope this one does well in China…

Here’s a link to the very cool Pacific Rim making of video.

 

 

Project Cars

游戏车项目

large

I hadn’t heard about project cars before seeing this video floating around on the web, but once I saw the quality of the vfx I decided to take a look at the project site.   It seems to be a crowd created and funded video game that has 80,000 members and has raised over 3.5million Euros.

在我浏览这个网页之前,我从未听说过 《project CARS》,但当有一次我看到了vfx的效果,我觉决定去看一下这个project site。这是一个 拥有80000会员,并由一批广大群众自主研发并斥资打造的一款视频游戏,其价值已经上升为3.5亿欧元。

Slightly Mad Studios is an award-winning game developer known most recently for its work on Electronic Arts’ Need For Speed franchise with the successful SHIFT series.

Slightly Mad Studios 是一间英国的独立电子游戏公司。它经由美国艺电发行《极品飞车:变速》。

 

Fantastic work to these guys!  They’re doing great creative and using a new business model.  The hard work is paying off, big kudos to the people responsible!  Best of luck!

非凡之作!他们有着很棒的创造性,并运用了新型的商业模式。不过真正实现上还是有难度的,希望大家有良好的反馈!祝好运!

 

Watch the video here on Vimeo in the west.

点击这里看视频

VisPop speaking at FMX

 

FMX 2012 will attract industry leaders, digital innovators and creative researchers from the animation, games and visual effects industries for four days in Stuttgart. FMX has quickly become the largest conference of its kind in Europe that reunites the industry annually to discuss the most important issues. FMX invites artists, industry leaders and decision makers to speak in the conference about the latest trends and innovative approaches featured in the year’s most influential movies, games and transmedia.”

I’m so stoked we’re doing two talks at FMX this year!  It’s such an incredible venue, and such a pleasure to be taking part.  The last time I was there was to give a talk on Charlotte’s Web.  If you’re gonna be around FMX2012, find me around the conference or drop me a line and let’s arrange to chat.

The first talk I’m giving is about the work I supervised on Hunger Games at RSP.  A link to the fmx description is HERE in the online program.

The second talk is about what we’re doing here at VisPop and how it pertains to the vfx industry.  A link is HERE.  I’m just gonna get into the state of the union of vfx, and how we’re taking our knowledge in the industry and apply our experience into the entire filmmaking business.  Now that we’re into our second year, I’ll discuss how it’s going and what we’re learning!

Here’s the details:

The state of the union in Visual Effects is well documented. You can read many articles about vfx becoming a commoditized industry on the web. Hard work, unfair conditions, low cost of entry, to unionize or not to unionize , pressure from clients in an industry with very few buyers, vendors undercutting each other and on and on. We at VisPop spent many years on the front lines, in all roles on the vfx vendor side. We fought just like everyone else to make ends meet in a low margin ball game. Sometimes we were successful, sometimes we weren’t, just like everyone else. We learned from our mistakes, we implemented processes, we got better, and we eaked out our living/existence!

So what makes VisPop different? We’re broadening our scope outside of traditional vfx. We’re teaming with independent filmmakers to push the innovation of the entire filmmaking process. We want to change the perception of where vfx and spectacle fits in the filmmaking process and parlay that into leverage in our filmmaking negotiations. We’re using our vfx backgrounds to co-produce low-med budget high spectacle films.

So can VisPop make a difference? Can a couple of long-timers from the vfx industry change the way films are financed, made, even distributed? Hopefully we can help get things rolling. If we can get more talented people from the vfx industry believing they can be involved in the entire filmmaking process then we’ll consider that a success. So just ask yourself: “are you a film-maker or a shot-maker?”

VisPop selected as an official Australian delegation member for Industry Forum in Beijing

 

It’s so encouraging for VisPop to be chosen for this forum.  It’s great to be recognized for our hard work building relationships and projects in such a high potential region like China.  Momentum is gaining for our high spectacle independent films!   Thanks to the Aussie Embassy and Screen NSW for organizing the event!  Here’s more info about what the forum is all about:

Building on the success of the inaugural Australia‐China Film Industry Forum in December 2010, the second Australia‐China Film Industry Forum will be held on Monday 23 April 2012 in Beijing. The Forum will be organised by the Australian Embassy Beijing, with the assistance of a wide variety of related Australian government agencies. This Forum, with a feature film focus, is aimed at further reinvigorating the relationships between the film industries in Australia and China. It will include panel sessions, presentations, and both bilateral and multilateral networking opportunities.

The Forum aims to capitalise on an increased awareness of the Australian film industry in China and the Chinese film industry in Australia, by bringing together key industry players from both countries, with the following objectives:

• Stimulate formally-accredited co-production activity following the coming into force in December 2008 of the bilateral Film Co-Production Treaty;

• Boost commercial prospects for the Australian film industry through joint industry collaboration;

• Expand cultural cooperation and understanding through the medium of film;

• Promote two-way capacity-building and training opportunities between Australia and China in the film industry.

The film industry is expanding rapidly in China. Film production is now attracting heavy Government investment, and office-box takings are increasing dramatically year-on-year, creating demand for resources and expertise. The Forum will endeavour to create lasting links between industry professionals from both countries, whilst also providing a platform to promote the Australian film industry as cutting-edge, modern and diverse, highlighting key strengths including feature film production and financing, documentary, digital animation and design, cinematography and post-production.

The Forum will also provide Australians with the chance to learn from Chinese counterparts about local industry resources, development and emerging opportunities, providing a platform for effectively engagement with Chinese film industry representatives in a sustained and meaningful way. The ultimate goal is to provide a platform from which to help build lasting creative, industry and production links between the two countries which will develop long into the future.

Of course we’ll be meeting with our partners in the region! If you’re interested and in VisPop and our high spectacle independent films AND you’ll be or know someone who’ll be in Beijing, drop us an email and let’s try and arrange a meeting!

 

“VisPop” in Hunger Games Credits!

I’m never one to be that much into credits, but man am I proud of VisPop being up there on the credit-roll of The Hunger Games.  After a year of VisPop being a company, With James, Jim, Ann, and myself working so hard to make things happen, it’s such a great feeling to see VisPop up there on the big screen for the first of MANY times to come!!  With the huge Spectacle surrounding the film, it makes it all the better with our focus as a company.  James, Jim, Ann I’m sorry your names aren’t up there, but VisPop’s is!  WOOOOOOoooooo!  Thanks Rising Sun, Chantal and Lionsgate for doing it, that’s very cool!

VisPop’s work on The Hunger Games 维斯泡泡与《饥饿游戏》

So VisPop just finished up working with Rising Sun Pictures on the “The Hunger Games”.  We came in to help supervise on 209 of the film’s more difficult shots.  We worked closely with the filmmakers and the artists at RSP to execute some amazing visual effects work on what will become one of the years biggest High Spectacle films.

Our main responsibilities for the Hunger Games were the Mutations, the Capital City and the full Tribute Parade sequence including Katniss & Peeta’s Fire wings.  We also worked on a whole load of other cg environments, misc 2d/3d work and Katniss’ kick ass fire dress.  The Capital City was a huge challenge!  The design process went on for a long time, but it is well worth it in the results.  It was very clear that nothing like The Capital has ever existed so it had to be created in cg.  The closest reference was probably Welthauptstadt Germania which we came back to a lot for ideas.  The next biggest challenge were the mutations!  Anytime you get into creature work it’s great and the concept here made it all the more kick-ass.  The hardest part, not unlike any creature work, was in working out how anthropomorphised the critters were.  In this case how much of the characteristics come from the tributes and how much comes from a dog?  I’m really proud of how they turned out, I think the guys did some fantastic cg on the Muts.  It was great to work with Daniel Jeannette again.  He did an amazing job directing the animation!  The other big challenge was the Tribute Parade.  The Tributes, Snow, and some of the close-up crowds were live action, but the rest of that entire sequence is cg.  We did all the Presidential Palace and Avenue, lots and lots of crowd work, all the fire wings… man, just a lot of work.  But when you sit down and see that sequence pieced together it nails the aesthetic of the Capital.  Anytime the visual effects pound home that tone in a smart way you feel proud to have brought that work to the project.

We really do feel privileged to have been part of such an amazing high spectacle film that is clearly destined to have a huge impact on society and culture.  We’ve just returned from Hong Kong where the media storm for Hunger Games is as big as it is here in Sydney.  We haven’t been in North America while the marketing frenzy has been ramping up, but we’re hearing the scale that Lionsgate is pushing the film is almost unprecedented, particularly for a mid-major studio.  It’s all well worth it, the film stays really close to the book and the book is fantastic.  My personal opinion is they have really nailed the empowerment angle for kids.  In the Narnia films, for example, the kids become kings and queens and their empowerment comes through the responsibility those roles bring.  In Hunger Games the kids are thrown into a more gritty and real context where self survival (and all of society’s survival by proxy) becomes the empowerment.  I can see that extra edge being attractive to kids and teens.  Combine in high spectacle action and dystopian, anti-government themes for an entertaining experience for the older demographic  AND of course there’s plenty of romance and elegant dresses.  It’s a cool concept for a film (actually 3-4 films) and no-doubt will cane it at the box office!

VisPop is incredibly proud of the people we collaborated with on the show and would like to think the visual fx work will stand out as some of 2012′s best!  It was great to work with RSP again.  We always have a lot of time for the folks over there in Adelaide who continually are working on some of Hollywoods best!  So go drop the $18AU for a movie ticket, another $10 for some popcorn and sit back to be entertained by High Spectacle Film at it’s best.  Ohhh, not to take sides but VisPop is definitely team Gale… (and Peta sucks.)

Vispop will be @ Filmart!

WE’VE DONE A NEW FOLIO OF OUR 2012 SLATE FOR FILMART HERE  (we’d love feedback!)

Hey folks…  Vispop is traveling to Hong Kong for Filmart from the 19th to the 22nd of March.  We’re looking to build relationships for our English language, High spectacle Independent films to be co-produced in Asia.  Our background comes from Hollywood blockbuster films like the Harry Potters, Terminator Salvation, Wolverine and many more.

Take a look at our newly released  2012 slate  of films and see if you’re interested!  Just drop James or myself an email (james@vispop.com & jdietz@vispop.com) if you’d like to get together and chat about us or yourselves.  We’re looking forward to all the great events at Filmart and the list of attendees looks fantastic.  We can’t wait to be back in Hong Kong!  Hope everyone has a great Show!

cheers!

(We’re gonna try and tweet quite a bit from the show, so follow us on twitter!)

John Carter of Meh

I have a question for Andrew Stanton.

I just came out of John Carter of Mars…  I’m a huge Andrew Stanton fan and a huge Pixar fan, but I was really bummed out about this film.   This past week Stanton’s Ted Talk on storytelling has been going around the web.  It’s a great watch!  In that talk he goes on about a number of storytelling techniques he’s learned over the years.  Two of his tips kept ringing through my head while sitting in an empty Imax theater watching John Carter.

  1. No matter what, give the audience a reason to care.
  2. Make your Hero likable.

That leads to my question:

How does one of the better storytellers of our generation set out on his first live action film with a budget around $250 million and not follow his own storytelling rules? How does this happen??

Hey, I’m a spectacle guy… (hell, who isn’t into some popcorn munchin space opera?) but Stanton didn’t take his own advice:  Does amazing cg give me a reason to care?  No… Does a huge weepy score give me a reason to care?  No…  Does a giant battle scene where JC is buried in the dead bodies he’s carving up make me care?  Well… Kinda…  BUT, over the top film-making techniques alone don’t make us care!  You know what makes us care?  Stanton’s rule #2:

Make the hero likable.  Repeat: Make the hero likable…  Man, after Stanton’s Ted Talk the last thing I thought would happen was that John Carter would be such a dick!  In the Ted Talk Stanton showed a board-amatic of early days Toy Story.  Tom Hanks is a total dick!  He’s berating and bullying the toys, and he’s being a full on dick.  That’s right, Woody was a dick (no pun intended).  Stanton tells the story of how they had made Woody a dick so that his arc could be more dramatic.  The story wasn’t working but through hard work they (Pixar) figured out they needed to write him likable.  That lesson, Stanton says, was one of the main things they took away from the Toy Story experience.   It’s ironic: With $250mil, armies of technicians and artists, years of planning and execution he couldn’t make John Carter likable.  BUT with half of the budget, less time and nowhere near the crew; Brad Bird was able to make Tom Cruise likable in Mission Impossible 4.  You would of thought it would of taken the $100mil vfx budget to make Tom Cruise endearing (post 1980’s of course).   I guess we know who of the Freshmen Brainstrust has successfully crossed over out of Pixar.

I don’t wanna be a hater, I love Stanton’s films!  Wall-E is one of the classic stories in filmmaking.  Pixar and Stanton have balls down to their ankles to make the first half of Wall-E a silent film.  It set the benchmark for this years Oscar winner “The Artist”.  Pixar and the Braintrust have always had balls, going all the way back to Toy Story.  As far as story goes, Pixar and their directors would not be denied.   As far as John Carter goes:  I didn’t care.  There was nothing new.  AND it was flat out on the nose…  John Carter has no balls.

We still love you Andrew!  But next time, please, give us a reason to care.