In Annapurna Pictures’ Her, director Spike Jonze tells a story, set in the slight future, of Theodore, a complex, soulful man who becomes intrigued with a new, advanced operating system that promises to be an intuitive and unique entity in its own right. Starring Joaquin Phoenix, Amy Adams and Rooney Mara, and featuring the voice of Scarlett Johansson, the film has attracted extraordinary critical praise as well as Academy Award nominations for Best Picture, Best Original Screenplay, Best Production Design, Best Score and Best Original Song.
Great movies are defined by great stories and increasingly great storytelling is being empowered by digital technology. Autodesk’s media and entertainment staff and software played a starring role in the creation of many of this year's Academy Award nominees across many categories and were recognized by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences with two Scientific and Technical Achievement Awards.
Kevin Xu, CEO of Mebo International believes he has come up with a novel way to introduce audience to the achievements of organ regeneration science. Visitors to the California-based company’s campus website (www.regeneration2013.com) find themselves in a computer-generated floating city that’s home to a towering library, a giant rotating sphere and other iconic wonders. Visitors can choose to tour the city on foot or from the seat of a translucent shuttlecraft while a narrator describes “a revolution in science that will change our lives.”
Lightcraft Technology and SolidAnim have agreed to combine their Previzion and SolidTrack product offerings in order to provide a full range of virtual production tools for the entertainment industry.
The industry doesn’t do as many pilots as in years past, which is a shame, because they can be a valuable format for testing not just story ideas and actors but new technology. In my role covering new cinema technology for the Digital Cinema Society I am often offered gear to test and evaluate, everything from new lighting units and cameras to various digital cinema recorders. Since I need to keep busy earning my living as a director of photography, I honestly don’t have time to run scientific tests, so I prefer instead to use the gear in real world productions I’m hired to work on. You could call me a technology test pilot. I get a better sense of how these tools perform where the rubber hits the road, and it’s a good way to help out the productions I’m working on, pulling in items they might not otherwise be able to afford. The perfect opportunity to put many of these items through their paces came up recently when I was asked to shoot a feature length pilot for a new action/adventure show aimed at young adults entitled, Tribe of the Wild.
Barcelona creative shop Trizz is known for its unconventional work, directing and designing for a mix of 3D, VFX and experience design, including multi-touch, interactive and projection mapping. Its work appears in TVCs, art galleries, publications and even during concerts and other live events. Chris Vulpi and Oriol Puig, who co-founded Trizz in 2009, say they have identified inefficiencies in the VFX and post industry and applied a more streamlined, workable model to their business.
Alexis Nelson, co-founder and executive producer of Hoax Films, will take part in a panel discussion focused on careers in digital media in an event hosted by the Los Angeles chapter of ACM SIGGRAPH and Otis College of Art and Design. “Careers in Digital Media 2014” will feature managers and recruiters from some of the visual effects industry’s leading companies. They will offer insights into the career outlook in games, broadcast, television, film and other media, and provide the inside scoop into where the jobs are and where they aren’t.
LipSync Post provided grading, online editing, sound, VFX and titles for BBC One’s three-part drama Death Comes To Pemberley, based on P.D. James’ acclaimed sequel to the Jane Austen classic Pride and Prejudice. The dramas, produced by Origin Pictures for BBC One, are scheduled for broadcast on December 26-28.
Producers are the unsung heroes of the visual effects industry. Working on the periphery, their contributions aren’t always acknowledged, but their role as project manager, budget overseer, client advocate and cheerleader to the visual effects team is essential to the success of the project. If artists are the gears that drive the visual effects engine, producers are the grease that allows the gears to turn smoothly.
Thinkbox Software has acquired code to bring its particle renderer, Krakatoa, into Maxon’s Cinema 4D modeling and animation software. Initial efforts to link the plug-in with Cinema 4D were led by Ugly Kids artist Daniel Hennies, who collaborated with a developer to program a bridge to the stand-alone version of Krakatoa. Leveraging the C++ API of Krakatoa SR, Hennies and a small team were able to fully integrate the particle renderer with Cinema 4D and first demoed the technology at SIGGRAPH 2013.