May 2006 Archives
I managed to catch X-Men on Saturday night, and while most of it was good, some of it needed more work. And I'm not talking about the effects, which were spectacular for the most part! It was lack of story and character development. As well as with the termination of several big characters in the film, which I guess, were appropriate for the story, means that there hopefully won't be an X-Men 4.
Even with the lackluster story, the film still managed to break $120M this weekend.
As this is a visual effects blog, I've got to hand it to the guys and girls that accomplished so much on the show! From the de-aging of two of the main characters (will we be seeing this in future films?), to beautiful water and fire simulations and renderings, to some sweet work on the Dark Phoenix, it was all good.
From the Hollywood Reporter:
Shattering boxoffice records faster than Magneto can bend metal eating utensils, 20th Century Fox's X-Men: The Last Stand sat in first place at the end of the four-day Memorial Day holiday session, debuting with an estimate of a staggering $120.1 million -- the biggest opening weekend in history. The third film in the Marvel comic book X-Men franchise, helmed by Brett Ratner this time out, vaulted past even the most optimistic expectations heading into the holiday frame. The PG-13 Last Stand bolted past the previous holder of the opening-weekend title, Sony's Spider-Man 2, which bowed during a four-day July Fourth holiday frame with $115.8 million from 4,152 theaters. Last Stand was in fewer theaters with 3,690 sites and had a per-theater average of an out-of-this-world $32,547. On opening day, Last Stand grossed a sensational $45.5 million, marking the biggest Friday of all time and the second-biggest single-day gross ever, behind only Fox's Star Wars: Episode III -- Revenge of the Sith, which took in $50 million on its first day in theaters. The Friday-Sunday share of the holiday bounty for Last Stand was an impressive $103.1 million.
So, I was more busy than I planned on the weekend, and didn't really have as much time as I would have liked to finish up the new updates to this site.. So, it'll be done when it's done. :) I did, however, manage to finally convert the blog over to MovabeType 3.2, a much more stable, quick, and secure version. Unfortunately, those of you that subscribe to the site will have to sign up again, as soon as I set up that capability! Keep checking. As you may have also noticed, the banner images have slightly changed.
Well, it's been a full week since I've really updated the site with any meaningful visual effects insight. And today, being the last weekday before the Memorial Day weekend, I thought I would just post something, anything..
I'm doing some behind the scenes work on the website here, so expect something sweet come Monday afternoon, just in time for the after BBQ celebrations. Most of the work will be visual, and a little bit more pretty. I'm keeping the color scheme darker, just because I don't want to ruin the vision of you guys working in the dark out there. I hate it when I hit a extremely bright and white website in the middle of working in a dark room! I'm hoping it'll entice you to come and peek around the site a bit more, and comment. I don't have much time these days for Tips of the Week, but maybe a Tip of the Month? We'll see how it goes.
Ah, so here I am, a nice Friday night, hanging out at home at 1am in the morning, working on this webpage. What am I doing?! Well, after a frustrating two days rebuilding my home machine (a couple of hard drives failed, thank goodness for RAID!), I'm pretty much back up and running. I have a feeling it was just my power cabling inside the case, since I replaced the drive and it still failed. Time for a new power supply system.
Anyway, as you can tell from the title of this entry, I've added a VFX Comp Map, which is listed in the sidebar. Click on the Map O' Compers, and add yourself to the list! As you can see, there are a couple of people already on, and a bunch of studios listed so far. At the moment I have it centered in the LA area, since I'm working here, but it'll follow me where ever I go! At the moment it looks like it can't resolve street or postal code addresses for people outside the states, just city and country it seems. Boo. Hopefully in the future it should do that. I mean, Google Maps already has that capability, right? Thanks to David over at Meyemind for undertaking the task of setting it up.
Since the news of Digital Domain's buyout by Wyndcrest Holdings is almost on the front of every vfx page, I thought I should talk about a link that's been floating around. It's actually from Ain't It Cool News, and I'm not going to link to it, because well, AICN isn't the top of my list of places to visit. It looks like someone decided to just puke up some HTML onto a website and decided to review some movies.
The topic of discussion is Bay's buyout, and the resulting forum discussion/flame war that's happening over there is ignorant at best. Some of it is just too funny. I, personally, am excited to be a part of this occasion! After being here for two months, there is definitely a good vibe here. Lots of insanely talented people, who know what they're doing. I also think the buyout is good because it will enable D2 Software to grow and compete with the other compositing packages out there. Let me tell you, it's a great package, and some of the features are pretty advanced over other, well-used softwares. In addition, regardless of who actually owns DD, there are now some senior management people that have similar visions, and this can only make the company grow and mature back to the top of the heap of places to be and work.
For all you bay area folk, I urge you to go and see ArnoCorps live for their last US show before they go on tour in the UK. A coworker at Tippett is a member of the band, and they've been slowly growing for the past several years. They have an album out, and they really know how to rile up a crowd! I saw them last year, and they were excellent.
Another article, from the Animation Flash newsletter.
DIGITAL DOMAIN ACQUIRED BY INVESTMENT GROUP LED BY MICHAEL BAY.
Digital Domain, the Oscar-winning vfx studio and production company based in Venice, California, has been acquired for a reported $35 million by South Florida-based Wyndcrest Holdings Llc., a group led by director Michael Bay, former NFL quarterback Dan Marino and investor John Textor.
Finally. After close to eight weeks down here, some of my shots have entered the finals phase. It's a great relief to get a final after numerous changes and close scrutiny. It's all part of the process, but the supervisors are quite diligent about the shots going out, and everything is perfect.
There have been a bunch of updates on this site over the past two weeks, as I'm just getting settled back into the swing of things. I've received some more Emmy DVDs, and the shows are slowly piling up. Recently I just started watching Sleeper Cell, starring Michael Ealy and Oded Fehr. This 10 episode miniseries is pretty good so far, we're on episode six at the moment. It seems to have been popular enough to warrant another eight hour miniseries this year as well. The show reminds of the 2003 Kingpin miniseries with Yancey Arias. The brief TV.com synopis of the show:
Showtime™'s new drama unveils the war on terrorism to reveal a riveting and unfiltered view. Sleeper Cell™ stars Michael Ealy as an African-American undercover F.B.I. agent who is seduced into joining an Islamic sleeper terrorist cell in the United States by the cells ruthless leader played by Oded Fehr.
From the Hollywood Reporter this morning.
Bay master of Domain in special-effects stunner Tue May 16, 2006 3:12am ET8 By Sheigh Crabtree
LOS ANGELES (Hollywood Reporter) - George Lucas has Industrial Light + Magic, Peter Jackson has Weta, and now Michael Bay has Digital Domain.
The "Pearl Harbor" director and private investment firm Wyndcrest Holdings, in which Bay is a principal, are set to announce Tuesday the acquisition of the 13-year-old visual effects studio. Financial terms were not disclosed.
Today we had a special presentation at Digital Domain, in one of the huge stages in the main building. When I say huge, I mean, it's huge. Imagine a greenscreen four to five stories high, with enough room to seat almost 600 people. The interior, I think, was about 50x50 meters.
It's definitely an awe-inspiring sight, and not only that, that was only half of it! Some of you may have read the Wall Street Journal on Friday, but if you didn't, there was a front page article entitled Budget Busters: With Special Effects the Star, Hollywood Faces New Reality.
With the introduction of the article, our presenters on our stage revealed the following. Digital Domain has been bought by the principals of Wyndcrest Holdings LLC. Michael Bay, Carl Stork, and John Textor were on hand to describe how the acquisition of Digital Domain will promote us to the forefront of visual effects and animation.
For more information:
Digital Domain's Outside PR Contact to whom all press inquiries should be referred.
John W. Spelich Senior Vice President -- Fleishman-Hillard
Debra Hotaling Senior Vice President and Partner -- Fleishman-Hillard
Yep, that's right, more fancy boxes arrived in the past couple of days. A full season of Monk, some Mind of Mencia, Showtime's second boxed set and more! Check out the pictures in the extended. I should be getting a primary list in the near future of possible voting categories, and now that I'm in the LA area, I might be able to actually vote in my peer group for once! Every year it's always tough to get to LA, but now I think it might be possible.
If you haven't read it yet, check out a fellow Vancouverite and Emmy nominee, Bruce Woloshyn. He's one of the many VFX artists featured in this quarters Cinefex #105 roundtable, showcasing TV visual effects. We were nominated together back in 2000 for Stargate, and he's continued the trend of getting nominated every year since then, except 2003.
I was just checking out my other vfx links, and thought I'd point you to a couple that are worth checking out. Ari has finally put up a great breakdown of the various stages of production that occur during the production process. It's well done and pretty detailed, given what you can put on a web page! Chris and Kenn have changed their site, so I've updated the link. It now goes to their excellent Mondolithic sketchbook, an offshoot of their Mondolithic Studios site. There's David's meyemind blog, a northern California look at the vfx industry.
Hugh over at MPC and Dom in NY haven't updated their sites in a while, but that's because work always gets the better of them. Kent and Kern are the same, nice websites, but no blogs. Check them out to see some great images from past films and interesting art.
Jeff's Giraffe is doing well up there in Norcal, which contains much more than just VFX talk, almost an insight into existentialism. Lee and Alec are hanging in there, up in Canada, and their frequent updates are good to see.
Upon moving into the run-down Spiderwick Estate with their mother, twin brothers Jared and Simon Grace, along with their sister Mallory, find themselves pulled into an alternate world full of faeries and other creatures.
The film will be an adaptation of the books of the same name.
What the.... Interesting change from last week, when it was 317,000. Not as cool as the 38,000 back in September. I wonder where all the hits came from? It'd be neat to see!
And I have no idea why the keywords to my name are the way they are. I guess I don't work on childrens movies all the time.
It's nice to relax on a weekend. We're all moved in, all the rooms are pretty much done, in terms of being unpacked, and I don't have any worries.
The weeks at Digital Domain have been flying by, actually. I think I've been there around six weeks now? I received my first final last week, which was good news! I was wondering when it would get finalled. The director of the show was in the studio yesterday, but I just missed him when he walked around to all the desks in our area. Yesterday was also the annual Cinco de Mayo celebration at DD, which I missed, but am celebrating today with some displaced Canadian friends!
I'm in the midst of things these days, hence the reason why there hasn't been a copious amount of updates! As soon as the weekend comes, I promise I will update you all on the situation. Last Friday was another DD monthlies screening, which I unfortunately missed. Things have been so hectic, from learning nuke, getting acclimated to the LA area, and in general, moving from one big city to another, that I am so tired at the end of the day that I just want to crash.