February 2010 Archives

Back in the Saddle

| Category: News | | Comments (1) | Views: 202
City of Vancouver

Image via Wikipedia

It's that time again, back to work on another show!  This time it's of another old Television show from the 80s. It's a small crew, about eight compositors, for a short run. I just got back from a nice vacation in Vancouver, where we got a chance to see how the city copes with a massive influx of people from around the world for the Winter Olympics. While most of the snow events took place in Whistler, there were a number of events in the city at Canada Hockey Place (formerly GM Place) and BC Place, where the opening ceremony and medals ceremonies are being held.  The picture above is of Vancouver during the summer time, and is missing a large amount of the Yaletown high rises which have been built up over the past ten years!

The Olympic Flame downtown is really nice to see, but the crowds were another matter entirely!   It was pretty insane. I'll hopefully have pictures up from the trip sometime this week. During our time in Vancouver we had a chance to see some figure skating practice and a womens US vs. Finland hockey game.  Prices were pretty affordable, $30CAD for the figure skating and $68CAD for the hockey game. Both were bought the week of the events at the official Olympic ticket office! Of course, there were your typical scalpers out there trying to sell more tickets at outrageous prices, but we didn't buy those.

The month of February is slowly drawing to a close. It's an amazingly short month!  In addition to being in Vancouver and seeing the sights and sounds of the Olympics, I've spent a large amount of time cutting a new 2009 reel. This reel will contain everything up to last year. I had a test reel with no sound that I showed to several VFS students when I was up there last week. I also noticed that one of the students had one of my scripts that I use as a background for my Twitter account up as his desktop background!  Pretty cool. I saw several short clips from the latest term students doing their thing. The work has progressed so far in the last decade! I hope to have my 2009 Reel in its final glory up online before the end of the month. Stay tuned!

If you haven't checked it out in a while, head on over to VFXWages and take a look at some of our Wages. They've been pretty accurate over time. I've included a graph here that shows the overall compositing wages. The red line is the one you want, which stretches from around $20/hr USD for a starting wage, up to a median of about $63.50 for 14-16 years of experience, before heading down to $52/hr for 20+ years experience (this is most likely a drop because those rates could be salaried). Who says that wages couldn't be quantifiable? 

This data is aggregated from 545 compositor wage points from around the world, and include freelance rates as well, as you can see from the blue high line. I'm going to be writing another article on rates on the VFXWages News section later tonight, so I hope that'll be up for your reading pleasure tomorrow!
Reblog this post [with Zemanta]

Donations and Prizes!

| Category: News | | Comments (0) | Views: 98

Recently I've changed a little about how content on this blog is displayed. I've removed links to reels and the bio and filmography, and while the content is still available if you bookmarked the specific page, there is better, more recent content located at the root structure, which is located here. I've also decided to add a Paypal donate button, which will help run the site (It costs about 300USD/yr to run this thing, with all the bandwidth that I use). I also have an idea to give back to you loyal readers and those who donate.  My idea is to give an item away to a lucky person with the funds of the complete donation for the month. This item will be physical in nature, maybe a book if the funds donated are small, or a software package or larger electronic item if the funds are larger.

Don't be misled, all content on the site will remain freely accessible! From the Tips of the Weeks (which I need to get back to creating), to what professional artists are doing in the vfx industry.

So on this note, for the month of January which has just passed and I didn't have any donations (of course), I am giving away a new copy of The Art and Science of Digital Compositing: 2nd Edition! Eligible entrees are any donations to the digitalGypsy fund for the month of February. Donations can be of any amount. Funds received during the month of February will help decide what I give away to a lucky contributor at the end of this month! So you get two chances to win something this month! I'm going to try this for the month of February and see how it goes, and hopefully I can have small prizes given away during the year and at the same time, keep digitalGypsy up and running for you guys and girls.

The Oscars

| Category: Film | | Comments (1) | Views: 130
District 9

Image via Wikipedia

Like everyone in the entertainment industry now knows, the 2010 Oscars have been announced. I haven't commented yet on the list, as I'm going to let conjecture and speculation reign for a little while before I add my two cents (or more!).  I'm also not going to discuss any other awards like best picture or best director, as they are out of my knowledge base.

However, I will comment on the top three visual effects nominees, Avatar, District 9, and Star Trek. Avatar of course was the blockbuster of the year. Currently raking in a total of $2.05 billion worldwide, with a domestic gross nearing $600 million, this is one huge film, budgeted at $240 million. Lots of my friends in the industry have seen this multiple times. It's definitely a 3D film not to be missed, and this is a film that did stereoscopic films correctly (shooting in stereo, rendering with two cameras). District 9 was an underdog, powered by a $30 million budget, a fledging director (whom I acquainted with at VFS), an interesting story, and top notch vfx. This film went on to earn $200 million worldwide with a $115 million domestic gross. Great job Neill! Star Trek was a franchise reboot done correctly by JJ Abrams and his team. This film went on to make $383 million worldwide with a $257 million domestic take home while costing $140 million.

All in all, these three films had wonderful visuals. But what about the other four that didn't make it? Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince, Terminator Salvation, Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen, and 2012.   As any industry professional should, I saw all seven films in the theatre. These films were made for being seen on the big screen. What did I think of all seven? Here's my quick recap on the vfx.

  • Avatar: Spectacular CG environments and multiple completely CG creatures that the audience empathizes with.
  • District 9: Seamless character work with integrating CG characters and live action performers.
  • Star Trek: Lots and lots of CG FX work in bringing characters and locales to life. A couple CG face augmentation shots, lots of environments.
  • Harry Potter: A number of complete CG shots, well integrated FX.
  • Terminator: Big and new terminators, miniature and stunt work blended well with CG environments and characters. Many great matte paintings.
  • Transformers: Big metal robots fighting. Oh, and small metal robots too. Spectacular destruction sequences.
  • 2012: Amazing FX destruction sequences, completely CG water sequences (both above and below).
    Avatar (2009 film)

    Image via Wikipedia

Judging from the selections, I can only guess that the three finalists were chosen because they had a simple and decent story, and the characters (both CG and live) brought the film to life.  In many of the non-nominated four, I didn't really care for the characters or how they would end in the movie, even while they were very FX heavy and some of the best work this decade, the characters fell flat, and I think the nomination committee chose their finalists not on the complexity of the work, but on the characters portrayed in the films and how they brought them to life.  You empathized with Neytiri and crew in Avatar. You felt Chris Johnsons rage and sadness in District 9, and you were blown away by the reimagining of the traditional characters in Star Trek. You realized that the vfx was a part of the story, not that the story  was written around the vfx (which is more evident in 2012 and Transformers 2). I'm glad that the three were chosen the way they were! I do have to give a shout out to Neill (congrats man!) and Bob (a vfx supervisor who I worked with up north on Outer Limits) representing Canada at the Oscars this year in VFX.
Reblog this post [with Zemanta]

Nuke X and Foreign Competition

| Category: News | | Comments (1) | Views: 524
Long base line image showing prominent foothil...

Image via Wikipedia

Over the past couple of weeks I've been using NukeX, which is just Nuke6 with some fancy additions like lens distortion tools, 3D camera tracking, and the new rotopaint additions. They are all pretty powerful! I've also started using the integrated stereoscopic system, which makes it pretty simple to create impressive 3D comps! It's most likely that I won't be using Nuke 6 on the next show, it's just too soon and all of our productions are currently underway with other versions.

NukeX will work wonderfully with smaller studios and independent operators, as the combination of both lens distortion tools and integrated camera tracker will really help a compositor output more. Like I mentioned before, the realm of 2D and 3D is slowly blurring, and the responsibilities of a compositor have been increasing.

I posted an article over on VFXWages about foreign competition last week, I'm eager to hear your throughts. I've tried to make it relevant to all foreigners, so it should be applicable whether you reside in the EU, USA, AU, or Asia.

I'm nearing 500 readers for the blog, and I thank you all for your patronage! I'll keep writing and hope that you keep reading. I'm always open for topics and suggestions on what you'd like to hear about the vfx industry, so drop me a line in the comments below!
Reblog this post [with Zemanta]

About this Archive

This page is an archive of entries from February 2010 listed from newest to oldest.

January 2010 is the previous archive.

March 2010 is the next archive.

Find recent content on the main index or look in the archives to find all content.