(blog.wired.com)  Powerful new tools like the ones used to make Monsters vs. Aliens give filmmakers unprecedented power to manipulate imagery and create immersive cinematic experiences.

High-end filmmakers aren’t just making movies these days. They’re building virtual worlds before shooting a single frame of film, using digital tools that blur the lines between animation and live-action, virtual sets and physical soundstage, photorealistic cartoon characters and motion-captured human beings.

Over the past few years, digital moviemakers have mastered new technologies and learned to micromanage massive teams in order to bring complex collaborative visions to the screen. The goal: to create truly immersive movies that knock the socks off even the most jaded moviegoer.

(Source: variety.com) France is well known for its world-class animation and effects shops, including Buf, Eclair Studios, Mac Guff Ligne and Mikros Image. And yet, these have been at a disadvantage compared with studios in the U.K., Canada or Eastern European countries — studios that offer generous tax incentives.

But now, thanks to the 20% tax rebate plan approved by the French parliament in December, foreign CG and toon producers doing business with Gallic houses will be able to seek tax breaks worth up to million.

For all those job-hunters in creative fields who need a strategic edge in the salary negotiation process — or who simply could benefit from the motivation salary knowledge can provide, Industry Wages Inc. has delivered a powerful new tool. The company has launched the website VFXWages.com (http://www.vfxwages.com) as a free way for these professionals and students to determine the latest information on salaries and hourly wages in their market. Currently VFXWages.com provides pay information for individuals in the visual effects industry, particularly film and television visual effects, gaming, motion graphics, and animation.

Two movie trends have converged and brought us a project that had been rumored for years that almost no one thought would actually happen.

Right now, remaking ’80s comedies is hot (“Arthur” and “Beverly Hills Cop”) and anything supernatural is really hot (“Twilight” and, uh, “Twilight”). To capitalize on these trends  or maybe just because it’s not fair to deny longtime fans any longer \u2014 Columbia Pictures announced that a third “Ghostbusters” movie is in the works, two decades after the last one came out.

Skype, the Internet phone division of e-commerce giant eBay, has confirmed plans to introduce a version of its Internet telephony software for Apple’s iPhone and iPod touch users on Tuesday.

The free application, which will be available for download from the App Store, will let users place phones calls to other Skype users on computers or supported mobile phones at no charge. An option to place calls to traditional telephone landlines will also be available for about 2.1 cents per minute, according to the Wall Street Journal.

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