Mr. Nobody, Official Competition at 66th Venice International Film Festival

Posted on July 30th, 2009 in Movies by Marc Bourbonnais

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The full line up of the 66th Venice International Film Festival is up, and Mr Nobody (121 VFX shots by Modus) is in the “Venezia 66” official competition! Congrats to all our colleagues who worked on the production and digital effects.

The 66th Venice International Film Festival is organized by the Venice Biennale and will run 2nd to 12th September 2009 at Venice Lido.



THE VES Production Summit and how Visual Effects Artists are Disregarded

Posted on July 26th, 2009 in CG Community, Working in CG, Movies by Marc Bourbonnais

Digital effects artists and technicians are still struggling to find their rightful place in the motion picture industry. VFX are perhaps still not fully understood by our colleagues in the other trades of cinema. Probably a subject to address in more details later; for the moment, some interesting comments from Visual Effects Society Chairman Jeffery Okun in today’s San Francisco Chronicle:

“Visual-effects artists in general are treated like interchangeable parts,” Okun says, “and are not regarded as an equal to the cinematographer, the editor, the writer or the production designer.”

…and farther down :

“The perception is that visual effects are driven by really smart computers with cool buttons that make things go faster or look better,” Okun says. “There’s a lack of understanding that the process is driven by artists.” The film industry’s faster-cheaper mantra has caused “tremendous stress and strain”

You can read the full article here.

Also mentioned in the short article, the Visual Effects Society is preparing this year’s Production Summit in Los Angeles where all areas of the industry can convene to discuss the challenges they face in an effort to open communication and move the industry forward.

The VES Production Summit will take place on October 24.



Blog – The Art of CG Supervision

Posted on July 16th, 2009 in Working in CG, Blogging by Marc Bourbonnais

Here’s a great blog to follow if you’re interested - even remotely - in the challenges of supervising a crew of visual effects artists. That’s the role of the “CG Sup”. The Art of CG Supervision is written by Isa A. Alsup, experienced VFX artist, supervisor and manager, and has been quite active since its start last June.

Some of the interesting topics posted include types of shot breakdowns, managing teams, roles of the CG Sup, the current labour situation… Very thorough and informative; definitely worth reading.  You can check out his blog here.



Shooting VistaVision for IMAX 3-D with the Gemini 3D Camera

Posted on July 12th, 2009 in Hardware, Technical by Marc Bourbonnais

Last month I had the opportunity of supervising the VFX of a one-day shoot. It is a teaser trailer we are working on at Modus. The trailer is for a large format 3-D feature, and the 1.5 minute teaser is produced to help build momentum as the larger project is in development.

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For this work the camera used was the custom-built Gemini 3D Camera, a remarkable piece of machinery. The camera uses standard 35mm film in VistaVision format, enabling easy film scanning at 4K and 8K resolution. I never thought I would see, let alone work with VistaVision scans in my career… The use of this format is a very inexpensive and productive solution. You get very detailed scans from 24mm x 36mm images without the hassle and costs of 70mm prints.

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The camera itself is very small and light weight. It is rather loud when the dual reels are rolling; that being said, I’m more used to quiet HD shoots. A series of pre-packaged twin lenses are ready to be fitted, it takes a couple of minutes. It was brought in by its creator, Sean MacLeod Phillips who was on set as Director of Photography.

Most of the shooting was handled with parallel lenses, with some specific shots in convergence. My experience with stereoscopic work was always with convergent cameras, it will be interesting to compare the results. The scans are already prepped at Modus, a good test of pipeline workflow for large 4K and 8K images; doubling the data for stereoscopy is like two cherries on top.