October 2009 Archives

A new week of excitement

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That's the way the beginning of the week starts. New problems to solve, new agendas to set, new things to do. Over the weekend we hit up the San Diego zoo. If you've never been, it is quite spectacular. Last year we went to the Wild Animal Park and bought a season pass for both parks. The Zoo is huge, the enclosures are very nice, and they put a lot of work into the park. If you haven't been, I highly recommend it.

The past week I've introduced the intern to keying in film. This is one of those topics that should be addressed in a vfx course, or at least some methodology, some examples, even some actual real moving film footage to try out. Unfortunately, long gone are the days of perfect bluescreen and greenscreen. Now we're lucky if we get screen at all! Often it's all up to the roto and paint department to help us through this. On this show we've gotten some good greenscreen, to an extent, and it really helps us out. Tom is deep into his third keying test, which amps up the difficulty a little. All the keys that he is pulling for his tests are also keys that the eventual compositor on the shot will start using.

Expanding into Florida.

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A news article from today.

Digital Domain Expands Into Florida

--Plans to Develop Original Content for Games and Animated Productions--

Venice, CA - October 13, 2009 - Following the recent announcement of its new visual effects studio in Vancouver, BC, Academy Award-winning digital studio Digital Domain announced today that it is expanding its business with plans to develop a digital production studio in Florida.

Digital Domain is working with parent company Wyndcrest Holdings to build a new digital production studio in Port St. Lucie, Florida. The new studio will create original content for animated feature films and video games. Plans are in the early stages, and Digital Domain expects to begin operations in Florida next year. Initial operations include building a creative development team as well as training and recruiting artist and production staff for animation and video game development.

The new studio project is being financed with a $50 million investment by Wyndcrest. The project is also receiving support in the form of a grant from the state of Florida's Office of Tourism, Trade and Economic Development and an incentives package administered by the city of Port St. Lucie and St. Lucie County.

Digital Domain CEO Cliff Plumer said, 'Developing original content has always been a key part of our strategy, and a natural extension of the artistic and creative talent that the company has developed over the last fifteen years. We have identified a set of promising projects that are ideally suited to the Florida studio and look forward to getting started.'

Digital Domain will announce specific projects and the leadership team for the Florida studio at a later date.

John Textor, Chairman and CEO of Wyndcrest, added, 'Digital Domain brings our studio a great breadth and depth of experience in filmmaking. Cliff and his team have experience building studios all over the world and we welcome them to Florida.'

There's more to read over on Variety.

Paying off?

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With all this news about the Vancouver office of Digital Domain opening up soon, I decided to check IMDB for any other news that might have been released about the company. The latest news just lists a new branch in Vancouver. Just for shits and giggles, I checked their main details page.

Wait.. What? I'm listed as third? How strange.. So I click to get into it for more detail.

Well, I'll be darned. How the hell am I ranked third in the company? Well, according to IMDB at least. How cool is that? Unfortunately (or fortunately, which ever way you look at it), I don't have as much say as any of the other listed executives at the company. It does show however, that I'm definitely putting my name out there! Is it paying off? Who knows, and to what end. I don't know what the payoff is. I just found it interesting! One thing I didn't realize is that DD has a Chicago office too? Wow.

We're about, oh, four (or is it five) weeks into the internship program here, and things are going pretty well.. Tom is on some color correction and roto duty on the show, and he's pulling his weight. One of the vital things that I've tried to do is let Tom try and work his own way, and fail in the process. He gets some direction from me, and then he's off to his own devices for half a day or so. It's not a bad thing. Only with failing in production will he learn how to cope with the problems, and will remember the solutions. Hand-holding is not something I do. A compositor must be self reliant and problem solving, but also be able to work well in a team, take direction, and know when to push the right buttons, as well as know when to not push the wrong ones.

DD Vancouver

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Yes, as some of you already know, Digital Domain is starting a Vancouver-based visual effects studio that is an offshoot of the main branch here in Venice. The Vancouver Sun has a post about it here. The employees here were notified a couple of weeks ago, after there was a rumor circulating around, and then the subsequent job postings on various boards.

What does this mean in the short run for me? Nothing, really. I'm still going to remain here in Venice for at least the short term. While DD VanCity is hiring local Vancouver talent, there are a couple seniors here that are going up to set up shop and the pipeline for Tron:Legacy. I still envision heading to Vancouver in the long run, but that's still a little ways away. The good (great!) thing is that there is now a Digital Domain in Vancouver!

A new update today as well.. VFXTalk has recently upgraded to the forums to a new version of vBulletin. Less spam, more goodness. Be sure to head on over and check it out! Lots of great discussion, a new look that's a little grayer than before, but it will insure that you don't get a flash of color while working in the dark!

Weekly happenings

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It's the beginning of October. Can you believe it? Time is just flying by. Let's start this post with purchases. I ended up buying the ZuneHD 32GB version off of Amazon a week or so ago. It was backordered a couple days, but got it last Friday. This is my first PMP, and I'm pretty impressed with it. Fast and responsible UI, great OLED screen and excellent sound quality, given the mp3s that I've thrown at it (320kbps)! It doesn't do OGG or AAC (that I recall) but I don't mind, as most of my collection is in mp3 format. A good tech purchase for me, and I don't do them very often.

Last Tuesday morning I was contacted by Lee from FXMogul, to redo an interview that we had tried a while back for FXMogul radio. It was their second interview, and there were some technical difficulties, if you remember the show. This time for their tenth interview, the tech was more stable, and we were able to have a good 30 minute talk about the work that I do and have done in the past. I talk a little about GI JOE, my schedule, interns, 3D and 2D environment integration, and the status of VFXWages. Click this link to listen to my lovely voice for 30 minutes! Feel free to post a comment here if you have any questions about what I talked about.

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This page is an archive of entries from October 2009 listed from newest to oldest.

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