(Source: jimhillmedia.com) You all remember the Secret Lab, don’t you? That state-of-the-art CG character animation and visual effects facility that the Mouse announced with much hoopla back in October 1999? At the time, Mickey seriously thought that this digital movie-making operation would soon put Disney in the same league as Pixar and George Lucas’ ILM.

Less than two years later, Disney abruptly announced that it would be shutting down the Secret Lab. Why did Mickey pull the plug? Not because the top flight animators and FX artists who worked at TSL did shoddy work. But because poor planning and short sighted-ness on the part of Disney studio execs.

(Source: comingsoon.net) Peter Jackson talked to the UK press for the London Royal gala premiere of his new film, The Lovely Bones, about both writing the screenplays for The Hobbit films and bringing The Adventures of Tintin: Secret of the Unicorn to the big screen.

Peter Jackson mentioned that the “Hobbit” films will not be released in 3D. “Guillermo wants to shoot in 35mm, old-fashioned film, which suits me, because he wants to keep it in the same space as the original trilogy.”

(Source: latinoreview.com) At one point, William Shatner was going to be in the new “Star Trek” film, for just one scene, and now the original written version has appeared online. For those who have seen the movie, Shatner would’ve appeared during Old and Young Spock’s conversation near film’s end. Old Spock plays an Old Kirk hologram/transmission for Young Spock, that he had in a little disc thing that was hanging around his neck. 

Here’s an excerpt:

(Source: latinoreview.com) Producer Joel Silver updates us on the possibilities for a sequel to Speed Racer.

Do you think we’ll ever see another Speed Racer?

Silver: No

(Source: news.cnet.com) EA shut down Pandemic as a separate unit on Tuesday, laying off 200 employees, according to published reports, but moving a small core team to EA’s Los Angeles headquarters. Those exiting include Pandemic’s two founders, Andrew Goldman and Josh Resnick.

An Electronic Arts spokesperson confirmed the news to CNET, but called it a consolidation rather than a closing, saying that the company merged Pandemic with EA’s nearby LA campus. The core team of developers integrated into EA will continue to work on Pandemic properties.

An internal memo by EA Games Label Senior Vice President Nick Earl also confirmed the closing, as reported by the Web site Kotaku.

(Source: slashfilm.com) This weekend, the 28th and 29th of November, there’s a huge Beatles convention taking place in Stamford, Connecticut. Amongst all of the merchandise sales and other such typical expo shenanigans, there’s also set to be an open audition for Beatlemaniacs wanting to try out for casting in what they’re calling “The Fab Four.” Of course, that the film “will be shot as a motion-capture feature like the current Disney release of A Christmas Carol” tells us everything we need to know – this is Robert Zemeckis‘ remake of Yellow Submarine.

(Source: screencrave.com) If you’re a tech geek who’s been following the production of James Cameron’s Avatar, you’ll be glad to hear this news. According to MarketSaw, a reliable source tells them that Weta has officially finished their portion of work on the film, which means the project is near completion.

Avatar is scheduled for release on December 18th, and with less than a month until its debut, it’s still in post-production. If you think about it, the film has so many effects that need to be perfected before the general public can see it. With so much hype and pressure, can you blame them for working down to the wire? Weta is a digital visual effects company that’s based in New Zealand, and they’ve worked on several popular CGI heavy films such as the Lord of the Rings trilogy.

(Source: news.toonzone.net) The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences has announced the shortlist of ten films from which the nominees for Best Animated Short will be chosen.

The complete shortlist is as follows:

The Cat Piano – Eddie White and Ari Gibson
French Roast – Fabrice O. Joubert
Granny O\u2019Grimm\u2019s Sleeping Beauty – Nicky Phelan
The Kinematograph – Tomek Baginski
The Lady and the Reaper (La Dama y la Muerte) – Javier Recio Gracia
Logorama – Nicolas Schmerkin
A Matter of Loaf and Death – Nick Park
Partly Cloudy – Peter Sohn
Runaway – Cordell Barker
Variete – Roelof van den Bergh

(Source: variety.com) With motion capture becoming increasingly popular production technique, the Screen Actors Guild is investigating how thesps perform the work — a signal the issue may emerge as a factor in next year’s contract negotiations. In an announcement this week, SAG invited members and non-members who do the work to a Dec. 3 session at the guild’s Hollywood headquarters to discuss the impact of performance capture. The contract department staff and members of the TV/Theatrical Standing Committee will attend. It’s the first such meeting SAG has held on the issue.

(Source: mtbs3d.com) The Visual Effects Society (VES) has begun its invitation process for VES Awards entries.

For those unfamiliar, VES works with and recognizes the top special effects artists from around the world. Member fields include feature film, television, advertising, and of course, video games. MTBS is pleased to report that for the first time, VES will be accepting stereoscopic 3D entries for their eighth awards ceremony.

Reading through the application process, it is clear that the entries will likely be focused on S-3D in cinema, and since this is a new technology category, the rules of submission are a work in progress. It will be interesting to see if any video games are submitted for review, and what conditions qualify a video game for stereoscopic eligibility.

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