(Source: effectscorner.blogspot.com)  The International Cinematographers Guild magazine has an interview with a DP regarding visual effects:

“It’s definitely true that the technology is improving constantly.  But I don’t understand why it still costs so much. I don’t know why so often we are at the mercy of shots being delivered late when we are trying to make a deadline or timing an answer print or DI.”

Yeah, it’s those darn VFX people!  Don’t we know that they’re trying to make a deadline?  Gesh.

Cameras continue to improve as well but you don’t see us wondering why it costs $70-100 million to make an average film.  We know better.  Time + people = money.  Add creative complexity, changes and compressed schedules to explain not only the money issue but the running late part of the quote.  There’s no magic involved. As much as we provide the illusions for a film, in the end we can’t defy time and the reality of costs, despite what some studios think.

In VFX it’s not unusual to have as many or more people than on the live action shoot. A VFX company is like a mini-studio with all the departments – props, set construction, scenic painters, wardrobe, stages, acting, cameras, etc. It may involve the computer but it still takes a lot of people skilled in all of those areas. The VFX may take 6 months to a year to do. Yet many in the film business assume that the computers are getting cheaper and faster so the costs and times should now be lower.  Oddly they don’t hold this same view of writers or DPs when their tools get faster.  There’s no magic buttons for us to press just like there’s no magic button in Final Draft to create a blockbuster automatically for the the writer.  And of course on each project we’re required to create something new and different, never before seen.

I do think it would be an eye opener for most in the film industry to spend a real day or week at a VFX company.



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