April 2007 Archives
Saturday! A day of rest. But not for me, unfortunately. A couple shots came back that need addressing, and since the previous artists have left the buildng, I've been tasked to hit the directors notes this weekend. We're getting down to the wire here, and with a skeleton crew! I've had a great time here at Digital Domain, working for the past year and change. Hard to believe! The first month here was the hardest, acclimating myself to the atmosphere, learning a new package, and jumping into the fray of an Eastwood film. It didn't help that it took five plus weeks for me to final my first shot! It was doozy of one too!
Fortunately everything worked out, and I've finished four films while here.. Flags of our Fathers, Letters from Iwo Jima, Meet the Robinsons 3D, and Pirates of the Caribbean: At Worlds End. During this time, I completed 128 shots; 24 shots in Pirates of the Caribbean, 41 in Meet The Robinsons (in stereo!), 44 in Letters from Iwo Jima, and 19 in Flags of our Fathers. On average, each shot was five seconds, for a total time of 640 seconds. 14 months of work for almost 11 minutes of screen time!
During the month of May I'll be resting and recuperating for the next big show to come! And of course, finishing all these silly projects that I have on the backburner!
This week is my last week on Pirates of the Caribbean. As it stands, my last shot was finalled over the weekend, and today it goes off to Gore Verbinski for approval. That makes 17 shots completed, and an additional five that I started on and handed off to other artists to complete. Unfortunately, you'll never know which shots I've worked on, until the movie comes out and I point them out! Very invisible effects. It's both a plus and a minus, as I love to do extravagant, spectacular ones, and also love the challenge of invisible effects, making the fake look real and seamless. The movie comes out in a little more than a month, and there is still a lot of work to be done! Color grading and sound, and film printing to be shipped off to places around the world; the 19th of May for the Disneyland premiere, and a staggered release around the globe, starting May 23rd and ending May 25th in the states.
What's next for Aruna? Who knows.. The summer is coming up, and I'm taking a month off here in May to finish up some personal projects unrelated to vfx. No word on the next project I'll be jumping on, but I'll be sure and let you readers know! I'll be back to postings at regular intervals very shortly..
It's Saturday already! My goodness.. The past week has flown by. I've still got about six shots on my plate to finish up before I head out from DD.. They're hopefully straightforward, but things do change, don't they? Earlier in the week Michael Bay dropped by the office and presented us with 30 minutes of footage from Transformers, most of which was shown at ShoWest earlier this year. He showed us a little bit more than the crowd there, but of which scenes, I don't know. Most of the effects work is pretty close to being done.. Looks like some comping and cleanup still need to get done, and certain scenes lit, but overall, this movie is going to kick ass. If you do a Google search for ShoWest Transformers, you'll get a bunch of reviews about the 20-25 minutes of footage that was shown. From an internal perspective of one company that's doing the work, there was a lot of talk about how it looks to be a good action film, with some humourous dialog throw in as well as some crazy overly dramatic dialog as well! Shia doesn't piss me off as much in this film as he did in Constantine, so that's a good sign. The female heroine, Megan, is easy on the eyes as well, which should make this film a must see.
A great scene that was touched upon in the original trailer was of Blackout transforming on the army base. While we see a glimpse in the trailer, the ShoWest reel has the full transformation, and the ensuring battle sequence. Let me tell you, this is going to be awesome when the sound and visual effects are complete. Holy Crap. Do you remember when you first saw the aliens emerge from the ground in War of the Worlds (the Spielberg one) and vaporize the first humans? Well, these scenes are on par with that one. We do get to see a bunch of the Autobots as well, and the voice work by Peter Cullen (Optimus Prime) is just as I remember it, and it's eerily exciting to see him perform his talent on a huge mechanical rig. The other Autobots we see, but don't really hear, and we don't get a glimpse of any of the other Decepticons except Scorponok, who, in the last sequence of the ShoWest reel, wrecks havoc on a small group of special forces, which we glimpse in the trailer (when he emerges from the sand behind the guys). Later in the same sequence, the C130 pounding the area with shells is an awesome sight to behold.
This week has been quite eventful. Lots of crazy work hours, even less sleep, and lots and lots of caffeine. A bit earlier in the week I received a big package, and my wife knew what it was, as most of the time when they send something it's in a pretty big case. It's the very first of the Emmy goodies, and Showtime doesn't disappoint. Check out the pics below.
Those are full episodes in there of Dexter, Weeds, and The Tudors. Last years first package was from Showtime as well, and I ended up received two; one of their popular series, the other of movies of the week and miniseries. As usual, SHO packs the box with some full seasons of their popular shows and miniseries, and things that they'd like nominated for an Emmy in any of the categories they decide to submit to. They can afford to do this, unlike some of the smaller stations. It does make it easier when the nominations and votings come up in August.
And with this entry, that's three full updates in one day! Crazy.. I'm making up for the fact that next week is going to be one hell of a week, and I won't get a chance to pipe up here for a little while. If you're on the RSS feed or on the email list, you'll get notified as soon as I post something. You can subscribe using the field up above, or copy the RSS link to your favorite RSS reader.
Oooo.. So I get back from lunch today, and I see a new email from the VES, our quarterly newsletter called Visions. In it are the basics, what the VES is planning for this year, the 2007 VES Festival, and a couple nice updates. They include a fancy new VES members layout, which I really quite like, and a discussion forum and improved job board!
I do hope that the discussion forums become a big hit. If you can't already tell by my contributions to the VFXtalk site, I like the nature of forums. It's a great way to share and spread knowledge, as well as learn and network from your peers from around the world. It makes the community even smaller than it currently is! And you can lurk or contribute at will. Of course, you can also ignore it whenever you want.
Another perk, I guess you could say, is the inclusion of the VES into the Below The Line (BTL) screenings, of which there are more than 80 a year, as well as a Q&A after the screening with some of the below the line people involved in the production.
In an energized atmosphere, Below the Line gathers key department heads from the crew responsible for the film. After viewing the finished movie, imagine a roundtable where you have a seat. Filmmakers interact with each other and with you, their peers.
Ah.. A couple more weeks to go on the show! It's been a hectic month so far.. I think the last time I mentioned my shot count, it was hovering around 17 or so.. Well, in the last two weeks or so, I've managed to final 12, so five left! The remaining couple vary between bluescreens and skyscreens, of which I've done a majority of the work.. I'm hitting the shots in the order of the more difficult to the easiest, and it should be pretty straightfoward to finish them off before our deadline. I did, however, get handed a couple of extra shots which were assigned to other artists, but they had to leave for a short time.. These couple shots are more elaborate, and while one is pretty difficult, the other is almost a wholly CG shot, one of the only ones that I'll get to do for this film!
The last several days have found me spending close to 15 hours at work.. These were pretty necessary hours, given that usually we have client reviews on Wednesday and Friday, and I like getting up early enough to get some shots out so I'll be able to have feedback on before lunch!
Where you disappointed with the Flags of our Fathers DVD? Well, here's the Letters from Iwo Jima one, which also has the Flags of our Father film, as well as other goodies! It spans five discs. Check it out at DVDActive.