(Source: xconomy.com) Gradually, Cambridge, MA, is emerging as one of the world capitals of a highly specialized industry: digital effects plugins for film and video post-production. These are small software packages that production companies such as Lucasfilm or Sony Pictures buy to extend the capabilities of commercial digital compositing programs like Adobe’s After Effects, Autodesk’s Combustion, Avid’s Avid DS, or The Foundry’s Nuke. One company at a time, plugin collections from companies small and large are being rolled up by Cambridge-based GenArts, which has a clear ambition to become the country’s leading plugin vendor.



(Source: latimesblogs.latimes.com) Are you ready for a trip down the rabbit hole? Tim Burton, Johnny Depp and Disney are adding a strange new chapter to the Lewis Carroll classic with their “Alice in Wonderland,” a film that presents a young woman who finds herself in the world of the Mad Hatter, the Cheshire Cat and the Red Queen. She is welcomed as a returning visitor — but is she, in fact, the same Alice who roamed the trippy realm as a child? Time will tell. Here at the Hero Complex, we’re counting down to the film’s March 5 release with daily coverage. Today it’s a chat with director of photography Dariusz Wolski.



(Source: variety.com) American helmer Eric Brevig and producer Charlotte Huggins have signed on to tackle 3D Korean war epic “17 Days of Winter,” the story of the 1950 Battle of Chosin Reservoir.

Pic would be the first war epic shot and released in digital 3D. Brevig and Huggins have ample experience in the format and worked together on New Line’s 3D sleeper hit “Journey to the Center of the Earth.”

With South Korea readying 60th anniversary observances of the war, project will receive unprecedented support from the South Korean government, including the Ministry of National Defense (which will provide equipment, weapons, locations and military assistants) and the Ministry of Culture, Tourism and Sports.



(Source screendaily.com) Andy Serkis, famous for pioneering motion-capture performance in The Lord Of The Rings, King Kong and the upcoming Tintin films, has revealed he will collaborate with musician Nick Cave on a motion-capture movie of The Threepenny Opera. The Brecht and Weill musical play was first performed in 1928 in Berlin.

“It’s nice to announce it in its hometown,” said Serkis this week. The actor is in town to talk about his bravura performance in sexdrugs&rock&roll as the late rock star Ian Dury



(Source: scifi.about.com) Do we really want to see Asimov’s second-most-important contribution to science fiction, the brilliant and so-complex-it-seems-utterly-simple Foundation trilogy, be converted into an Avatar-style 3-D CGI action-adventure blockbuster popcorn movie trilogy by the guy who made the worst Godzilla movie ever?

I’m being unfair to Roland Emmerich. His recent credits are empty-headed CGI-fests, sure (2012, 10,000 BC, The Day After Tomorrow), but he’s also responsible for Independence Day and Stargate, right? And those were at least partly-filled-headed CGI-fests.

Anyway, Emmerich was wowed by Avatar and the technology that made it possible, and immediately knew that his current project, Foundation, had to be approached in the same way.



(Source: blackbookmag.com) Early ‘Wolfman’ Reviews Don’t Bode Well for ‘Captain America’ Marvel’s upcoming Captain America movie is currently casting, but we’re still trying to figure out what the they were thinking by entrusting their last wide-appeal franchise to a director like Joe Johnston. He’s a hack, albeit one who usually gets the benefit of a big budget. His movies—The Rocketeer, Jurassic Park III, Hidalgo—are all spectacle, no spirit. So when Johnston took over The Wolfman from Mark Romanek (director of One Hour Photo and a genuine artist with authentically dark sensibilities ), we hoped against hope that Johnston would be able make that movie into the Gothic terror it was meant to be, and not a soulless CGI showcase. Well guess what, he didn’t, and Wolfman’s shabby reviews should have Marvel shitting in their spandex.



(Source: Variety.com) Though the WGA strike and the dramas among SAG and AFTRA leadership found their way into mainstream media, post-production labor issues rarely enter the consumer press.

So some in the biz perked up when the Huffington Post ran a blog item highlighting the plight of visual effects artists.

Political blogger Lee Stranahan, a one-time vfx artist and motion graphics artist for “Access Hollywood,” wrote an open letter to James Cameron asking him to speak out for “Fairness for Visual Effects Artists.”

In an article in the Sunday Mail, Bill Murray has confirmed that he will be appearing in Ghostbusters 3. He also revealed some spoiler-ish details of what he will be doing in the third installment of the sci-fi comedy franchise. You can read those details, after the jump. You have been warned.

(Source: homemediamagazine.com)

It’s not just about making 3D. It’s about making great 3D.

That’s the working theme at the Sony 3D Technology Center at Sony Pictures Studios, which was unveiled Feb. 5. First announced at the International Consumer Electronics Show (CES), the center offers 3D courses for various professionals, including film directors, cinematographers, live event producers and game developers. Individuals get hands-on training with 3D techniques and equipment to help them produce movies, sports, TV and games.

“This was born out of the belief that making 3D is easy, but making good 3D is hard,” said Chris Cookson, president of Sony Pictures Technologies and chief officer of the center.

(Source: HuffingtonPost.com)

To James Cameron,

I’m addressing this letter to you because you and your films have been such an inspiration to so many who either watch or work in the movies. I’m asking for your help in addressing a problem that few in your audience have probably ever given a thought to — the unfair treatment and working conditions of visual effects artists around the world.

Visual effects films were dominant commercial forces in 2009. Films like Avatar, District 9 and Star Trek all succeeded because they brought together visual effects with great writing, acting, directing and other cinematic elements. There are other films for which the visual effects seem to be the primary audience motivator. Without any slight, the reality is that people did not go to see recent commercially successful films like G.I. Joe or the Transformers movies for the script, music or the acting. They went in droves to see the spectacular visual effects – the “thrill ride.”

For all of these films that rely heavily on visual effects, the studios and theater owners made hundreds of millions of dollars. The writers, composers and actors all will receive well-deserved residual payments for decades to come. But the visual effects artists don’t receive royalties and residuals. And as one visual effects artist told me, “even in the credits, we’re listed after craft services.”

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