September 2006 Archives
While this movie opens to the general public on October 20th, the cast and crew will be seeing it nine days earlier, on October 11th in Beverley Hills. It'll be my first cast and crew screening here in LA, and I'm not sure what to expect. Red carpet and Clint Eastwood? Subdued mayhem? WWII fans protesting or cheering? I can't wait. We've got a couple more weeks on Letters, and even though it contains less gratuitous effects shots, there are a significant amount of visual effects that we did add into the show. Nope, not gonna tell ya what they are. You'll have to see the film to find out!
Last night I got the chance to see Open Season over at Imageworks.. While the VES turnout wasn't great (Imageworks crew had their screening on Monday night), we still had a good time. We saw it in the De Mille theatre, which is a smallish theatre located on the Culver City Sony lot. I was hoping that it might be digitally projected, but nope, regular old film. The great part about screeners is that there are no commercials or previews! Yay for getting straight to the movie. The humor in the film was spotty, some great laugh out loud moments, dispersed with copious amounts of silence. I wasn't a huge fan of the character design, but the fur rendering and water effects were excellent. The environments were nice, but sometimes lacking in detail. The voice talent was adequent, but I still could picture Martin Lawrence playing a bear, as opposed to a bear talking, if that makes any sense. I guess that's the problem with getting recognizeable voices, you picture the actor, not the part they're playing. I had the same problem with Owen Wilson in Cars, but had no trouble with the actors in The Incredibles.
More Flags of our Fathers pictures. These are from a french site located here. There are about 80 pictures or so from the film. Some really interesting color grading going on, and I'm looking forward to seeing how it all plays out . See a couple more vfx shots in the below link! If you haven't found it yet.. This forum here at The Pacific War contains details about these two upcoming films.
Oh, what a special day.
DIGITAL DOMAIN RECRUITS TRIO OF TOP CREATIVE SENIOR EXECUTIVES IN THE VISUAL EFFECTS INDUSTRY
Mark Miller, a 22-year veteran of Industrial Light & Magic (ILM), named president of Digital Domain
Cliff Plumer named chief technology officer of Digital Domain
Kim Libreri named vice president â€“ Advanced Strategy of Digital Domain
Venice, Calif., September 20, 2006 â€“ Digital Domain, the Academy AwardÂ®-winning full-service digital studio and production company responsible for jaw-dropping visual sequences in such films as â€œTitanic,â€ â€œDay After Tomorrow,â€ â€œI, Robotâ€ and the upcoming Clint Eastwood film, â€œFlags of our Fathers,â€ as well as commercials such as the recent Budweiser Super Bowl â€œSuperfanâ€ spot, has hired a trio of executives that have served as instrumental leaders of one of the visual effects industryâ€™s most accomplished companies.
Mark Miller, a 22-year veteran of Industrial Light & Magic (ILM) whose credits include overseeing such visual effects works as â€œPirates of the Caribbean: Dead Manâ€™s Chest,â€ â€œThe Hulkâ€ and two installments of â€œJurassic Park,â€ has been named president of Digital Domain, reporting to Chief Executive Officer Carl Stork. Cliff Plumer, who joined ILM in 1996 and was promoted to chief technology officer for all of LucasFilm two years ago, will become chief technology officer of Digital Domain and will lead the companyâ€™s planned expansion of its own technological resources and in the convergence of films and video games. Kim Libreri, the architect behind the visual effects company ESC Entertainment and a key force behind all three â€œMatrixâ€ movies as well as â€œPoseidon,â€ will join Digital Domain as vice president â€“ Advanced Strategy.
â€œMark, Cliff and Kim have distinguished careers in the visual effects industry and we are delighted that they share Digital Domainâ€™s vision and will join forces with our talented artists and technologists,â€ said Carl Stork, Digital Domain chief executive officer. â€œWhether itâ€™s developing photo-realistic computer-generated humans or exploring digital technology pipelines capable of producing commercials, video games and feature films, Mark, Cliff and Kim will play key roles in ensuring Digital Domainâ€™s industry leadership for many years to come.
â€œWe believe our photo-realistic computer-generated technology, with the assistance of Mark, Cliff and Kim, will revolutionize the entertainment industry and will change the way we think about live-action and will even allow directors to bring back personalities of the past to `performâ€™ new material,â€ Stork said.
John Textor, Digital Domain co-chairman, noted that as well as being a testament to Digital Domainâ€™s leadership position in the industry, the addition of the three executives will help the company execute on the growth strategy laid out when Textor and his partners acquired Digital Domain earlier this year.
â€œWhen we acquired the company earlier this year, we clearly communicated our goal to build on the companyâ€™s continuing success in the creation of visual effects in both feature films and commercials, while also establishing a first-of-its-kind digital production studio for the worldâ€™s leading filmmakers. The addition of these three distinguished industry leaders will have a profoundly positive impact on these efforts,â€ Textor said. â€œThe talented team at Digital Domain is now well positioned to take advantage of rapidly evolving digital visual effects technologies and games technologies to allow the most forward-thinking filmmakers to tell even more compelling and visually stunning stories in the future.â€
â€œILM has been a true pioneer in visual effects and really the best place for us to have established ourselves within this industry. Cliff, Kim and I had the pleasure to work with great people in an environment that was responsible for the creation of so many visual effects standards and breakthroughs,â€ Miller said. â€œSince its founding, Digital Domain has also remained at the forefront of the visual special effects business and, for us, represents an opportunity to try some new things in an entrepreneurial environment that will contribute greatly to the continued innovation of our craft while continuing to be focused on the needs of filmmakers. Digital Domain has a team with a reputation for high quality, cutting-edge work and the ability to deliver stunning visual imagery through commercials and feature films. Weâ€™re all pleased to be joining Digital Domain at the beginning of what we believe will be an exciting growth phase for the company, especially given the new technology in the pipeline, as well as for the visual effects industry. Our vision is to help directors and artists bring creativity to life on screens of all sizes.â€
Miller, Plumer and Libreri will join Digital Domainâ€™s executive leadership team alongside Stork, Ed Ulbrich, who heads the companyâ€™s industry leading advertising business unit and oversees select feature films and alternative media projects; and Jeff Stringer, who leads the digital studio group.
Digital Domain was acquired in May 2006 by an affiliate of Wyndcrest Holdings, LLC, an investment group whose principals in addition to Stork and Textor are director Michael Bay, NFL football great Dan Marino and Jonathan Teaford. Wyndcrest Holdings is a Florida-based private investment and acquisition firm focused on technology-related opportunities in entertainment, telecommunications and the Internet.
ABOUT DIGITAL DOMAIN
Founded in 1993, Digital Domain is an award-winning full-service digital studio and production company that creates special visual effects and other visual imagery for feature films, commercials and music videos. A pioneer in digital effects, Digital Domainâ€™s business units have been recognized with awards from the top industry organizations. In its 13-year history, Digital Domain has won five Academy AwardsÂ®: two for Best Visual Effects (â€œTitanic,â€ â€œWhat Dreams May Comeâ€); and three for Scientific and Technical Achievement for its proprietary imaging software. The company has also been nominated for three other Academy AwardsÂ® for Best Visual Effects (â€œApollo 13,â€ â€œTrue Lies,â€ â€œI, Robotâ€). In addition, its excellence in digital imagery and animation has earned Digital Domain multiple British Academy (BAFTA) Awards, and Prix Arts Electronica and Prix Pixel INA awards.
Digital Domainâ€™s Commercials division provides digital imagery and animation for television commercials, working with the top commercial directors. Serving Fortune 100 companies, the division has built a reputation as an innovator and industry leader in television commercial production and is the largest and most-awarded creator of digital imagery in its field. To date, it has been awarded 34 Clio Awards, 22 AICP awards, 8 Cannes Lion Awards and numerous other advertising honors. The Commercials division has also produced multiple music videos working with artists that include The Rolling Stones, Faith Hill, Creed, Janet Jackson, Busta Rhymes, Bjork, Celine Dion, Michael Jackson and Nine Inch Nails, and has earned GrammyÂ® and MTV â€œMusic Video of the Yearâ€ Awards.
Digital Domainâ€™s D2 Software subsidiary was established to productize the software tools developed by Digital Domain, such as the companyâ€™s Academy AwardÂ®-winning Nukeâ„¢ compositing package.
Using high-end digital software technology, Digital Domain capitalizes on the companyâ€™s extensive industry relationships and years of production experience to develop films of exceptional quality for an international audience. For more information about Digital Domain, please see www.digitaldomain.com.
ABOUT WYNDCREST HOLDINGS
Wyndcrest Holdings, LLC, is a Florida-based private investment and acquisition firm focused on technology-related opportunities in entertainment, telecommunications and the Internet. Wyndcrest actively supports its portfolio companies to assure the optimal positioning and deployment of associated technologies as well as the efficient execution of related business plans.
Wyndcrest is comprised of five investment principals with significant financial and legal expertise in the closure of public/private mergers, acquisitions and investments, and in the operation of large, small and start-up companies. The principals, John Textor, Michael Bay, Jonathan Teaford, Carl Stork and Dan Marino, have extensive direct experience in the disciplines of management, technology development, strategic planning, business development and investment banking. For more information on Wyndcrest Holdings, please see www.wyndcrest.com.
Mark Miller is president of Digital Domain. He joined the company after 22 years with Industrial Light & Magic (ILM), where he was vice president and senior executive in charge of production and marketing. Miller began his career at LucasFilm in 1984 as a production assistant on â€œIndiana Jones and the Temple of Doom.â€ In 1991, he started his visual effects producing career on Oliver Stoneâ€™s â€œThe Doors.â€ During his career at ILM, Millerâ€™s impressive visual effects credits included: â€œSleepy Hollow,â€ â€œThe Hulk,â€ two â€œJurassic Parkâ€ films, three â€œHarry Potterâ€ films, â€œPlanet of the Apesâ€ and â€œMighty Joe Young,â€ which was nominated for an Academy AwardÂ® for best visual effects.
Cliff Plumer is chief technology officer for Digital Domain. He joined the company after a 10-year stint with Industrial Light & Magic (ILM) and LucasFilm Ltd., ILMâ€™s parent company. Plumer, who most recently served as chief technology officer of LucasFilm, has more than 20 years of experience in digital entertainment and media technology and has a proven track record of establishing leading edge technologies and operations. At LucasFilm and ILM, he provided the strategic technical vision and executed the technology planning and updates for the companies, including in connection with the recent move to new office space in San Francisco from Lucasâ€™ previous headquarters in Marin County. A graduate of Ithaca College, Plumer began his career in 1984 as a computer graphics artist, camera operator editor and technician.
Kim Libreri is vice president â€“ Advanced Strategy for Digital Domain. He joined the company from Industrial Light & Magic (ILM), where he was a visual effects supervisor. Libreriâ€™s credits include â€œWhat Dreams May Come,â€ all three â€œMatrixâ€ films, two â€œMission: Impossibleâ€ installments and â€œPoseidon.â€ He also was an architect of ESC Entertainment. Libreri graduated from the University of Manchester (England) with a bachelor of science degree (with honors) in computer science. He began his visual effects career as a senior software engineer at the Computer Film Company in London.
Who is this guy? Yesterday, Friday, I was asking around the office, trying to figure out what to do over the weekend. I've got a bunch of side projects happening, but I needed something invigorating and exciting, that wasn't really work related. One of my fellow compositors, Joel, pointed me to Banksy, a UK graffiti artist who happens to have an exhibit in town, with an pink/orange elephant (yep, it's real)! I decided to drop by. His exhibit is running until tomorrow, the 17th, so if you're in the LA area, I highly recommend dropping by! I quite like the tagged SWAT van. :) I enjoyed it, and you can run through the entire thing in about a half hour if you're so inclined. His work is excellent, and I can see why. There's an element of rebellion in his work, as well as a humorous jab at capitalism as a whole, even though his limited prints sold out within a day and a half! I can see why. Here's one example of how he's doing. I shot a couple of pictures, so check them out below! There's an article in the LA Times today (this Saturday, 9-16-06), about the animal activists which are protesting the use of an elephant in his exhibit. It's an interesting read as well if you get the LA Times.
Last year I worked on several spots for Chevrolet, for their Impala SS commercial campaign. I had some free time during the week, so I decided to put what I could find and remember up into a little case study over in this thread at VFXTalk. While it's not as sexy as some of the other projects I might have worked on, hopefully you glean some tidbits from it. If you have any questions, feel free to post them here or on VFXTalk.
Cinefex 107 is out, covering Pirates 2, A Scanner Darkly, The Fountain, and Flags of our Fathers to name a few! I happened to be browsing through it at work today, and while we don't have as impressive a spread as Pirates 2, we do have a couple pages with some juicy screenshots from the film.. Be sure to pick it up when you get the chance! One of my shots appears in the issue, and it looks much better than I remember it. Not sure what sort of print magic they did to it, but it's on page 46 if you're so inclined. If I can get a scan of it I might be able to put it up for you to see. Here's what Cinefex has to say about Flags.
The iconographic photograph of six young soldiers raising the American flag during World War II's bloody battle of Iwo Jima serves as the focal point of Flags of our Fathers, director Clint Eastwood's latest film, based on the bestselling nonfiction book by James Bradley. Production visual effects supervisor Michael Owens and a team of artists at Digital Domain were challenged to re-create the famous battle and flag-raising, as well as views of 1940s-era New York and other period settings for scenes of the surviving soldiers on a cross-country tour to promote the sale of war bonds. Seeking a gritty photorealism, digital artists augmented live-action, shot mostly in Iceland, with everything from CG environments and set extensions, to virtual ships and assorted atmospheric effects.
Layer organization. Channel management. These two (or four) words represent quite a bit to compositors these days, as comps get bigger and bigger, and supervisors and directors want more and more. There must be a way to organize your scripts and trees into organized bits of information that can be readily adjusted days, weeks, or months down the line. Today I'll explain my methodology of organization, which you may have seen on sites like VFXTalk. If you've delved a bit into my gallery, you'll notice that most of the scripts I present are organized, or at least start off that way, and then they blossom into some kind of freak, mangled tree. Once in a while the tree gets trimmed, and it gets back into some semblance of order. Follow the link below to read how I organize my mind, and how I can get through some of the more difficult comps I've been tasked with.
The Flags of our Fathers US trailer is now out for your viewing pleasure. Unfortunately it's streaming only, and I can't find a direct download version just yet.. Check out the trailer here, and be sure to comment with your thoughts!
It's been a while, and I want to get back into talking about Tips of the Week for both professionals and beginners. Some of these tips are focused on one or the other, but today marks another return to Tips of the Week for both. Today I'll be going into networking. This isn't your computer networking via LAN or WAN, this is social networking with actual people. One of the things about this industry, and almost any other industry as well, is your networking and peer group. Visual effects, and filmmaking as a whole, involves a huge number of people. Depending on your interaction with these people and your professionalism towards the job will make people want to work with you and respect you. This is advantageous as you move up the ladder, from either a comper to supervisor, or a runner to manager.