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Old 03-08-2008, 03:06 AM   #41
minieffects
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Well I guess since the dollar isnt worth much more than the paper its printed on a lot of work is coming back this way. Not to say that the other countries arent doing fantastic work but we were the center for a long time and one day it was just gone. I realize the industry going global is inevitable but it would have been nice if it happened a little slower. Oh well. Im doing mostly set design these days so I dont build much anymore.

Last edited by JD; 01-09-2011 at 04:19 AM.
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Old 04-08-2008, 05:37 PM   #42
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Just found this thread. While I have no direct experience this same question came up on another model board I frequent. A teenage boy asked "how do I get to become a model maker for the movies". A couple people who work in Hollywood in the profession told him to "learn computers" as, it was their opinion, that should you just be starting out there was no career in physical model making.
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Old 04-08-2008, 08:15 PM   #43
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Doug_H View Post
Just found this thread. While I have no direct experience this same question came up on another model board I frequent. A teenage boy asked "how do I get to become a model maker for the movies". A couple people who work in Hollywood in the profession told him to "learn computers" as, it was their opinion, that should you just be starting out there was no career in physical model making.
Sadly this is becoming true. Its not to say that there is no work in miniatures for film its just that there is a lot less so those of us who are in the industry are grasping for what ever we can get. This poses a problem for people wanting to get into it because they are competing with 15-20 year veterans. The other problem is there is no money in miniatures these days. Budgets are getting smaller, crews are getting smaller and the need for motion control miniatures is really slim. Most of the work I have done in the past 5 years has been big fx gags, explosions,crashes etc. So I would say that if you really want to get into miniatures then you should go in expecting to be out of work a lot. As far as computers, well its good to have a back up.

scott
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Old 05-08-2008, 12:30 AM   #44
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Darn, I had a response posted, but must have hit PREVIEW instead of SUBMIT, and it got lost.

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A teenage boy asked "how do I get to become a model maker for the movies". A couple people who work in Hollywood in the profession told him to "learn computers" as, it was their opinion, that should you just be starting out there was no career in physical model making.
That's pathetic!
I've really grown tired of how CGI-happy producers & public have become. While I understand (having read an interview a few years back) that model-making was 'feast or famine' endeavour wth sometimes long bouts of inactivity, it was good work when one could get it, and looked good (and inspiring) onscreen.
Sadly, it seems nobody wants to use their imaginations to bring physical things to life anymore, and are all too willing to pull the plug on this art form.
In a way, though, the public's to blame, what with it's 'video game' mentality. Doesn't anyone use their imaginations anymore? Do children even play with toys these days? You know, the kind that aren't motorized, don't light up, don't make sounds? Half the fun I had as a kid with, say, my Space: 1999 toys & models was creating scenes in the sandbox for them to explore, or making main mission desks out of Brick Blocks (an old American version of LEGO) to go with the figures from my Mattel Eagle.

Sigh. I'm feeling much older than I actually am, talking about how 'computerized' things have become. I sound like an old geezer saying "In my day, we only had dirt to play with, and we liked it!"
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Old 05-08-2008, 02:33 AM   #45
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It is very sad that the use of practical effects has suffered such a decline. What hurts more is when we do build something for a film and the credit for the miniature or full size set is automatically given to the digital teams. Lucas is to blame for this on Star Wars episodes 1 thru 3. They had more miniatures then all of the original films combined yet you ask most people and they are convinced its all cg. Lucas even stated in an article that most of the fx were digital with a few models used, a few! Now you take Richard Taylor of Weta and ask about LOTR, he makes it a point to let people know just how much miniatures are used and how valuable their contribution is.

The problem is for a time there was this myth that cg was cheaper than miniature, still haven't found this to be true. In fact many times ive seen digital crews spend months trying to do something we can do in miniature in a matter of weeks and it will look real when we are done. Now this isnt to say that cg doesn't have its place but it cant be used simply because its in fashion. Its a tool just like miniatures and needs to be applied where applicable, unfortunately the latest batch of VFX supervisors come from DIGITAL backgrounds and know nothing of miniature or practical effects. This coupled with whats "in" and producers crying pauper has put a dent in our small part of the industry.

But things are slowly changing, we are seeing a slight return back to the way it was. Will it stay for good, no, but if we can get a good run out of it maybe it will keep miniatures alive a little longer.

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Old 05-08-2008, 09:08 AM   #46
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Welcome to the board Scott!

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The problem is for a time there was this myth that cg was cheaper than miniature, still haven't found this to be true. In fact many times ive seen digital crews spend months trying to do something we can do in miniature in a matter of weeks and it will look real when we are done. Now this isnt to say that cg doesn't have its place but it cant be used simply because its in fashion.

"simply because its in fashion. "

Thats the way I've always seen it. I think alot of people use it because its "modern" "hi-tech" and other silly reasons. Its like when they made the new Thunderbirds film... I can imagine them sitting saying "oh, we'll now be able to do the Thunderbirds with that really amazing hi-tech CGI stuff!!"

I've been reading the Cinefex issue about the Titianic Special effects. I think the way they did the effects for that film is the perfect mix for this day and age. You have miniature sets, full size sets, miniature ships in CG water, miniature ships in real water, full size ship sets in real water, real stuntmen, CG stuntmen, real practical effects, CG effects - everything in the book was used.

The whole break up sequence was done with a huge miniature in real water, with CG people and elements added later. I am sure that sequence wouldn't have been half as stunning had the whole shot been animated on the computer. We might as well watch a pixar movie when they do things that way.

I realise that this way of making effects is expensive but I think film makers should strive to do things this way.

Having said that, I'm still looking forward to James Cameron's entirely digital film Avatar
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Old 05-08-2008, 09:24 AM   #47
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I've said this before but once something becomes easy, it loses it's value. One of the traps that many directors/producers fall into is that because now they can show infinitely big battles or solar system destroying explosions, they do. Sometimes, less is more. They also sometimes seem to fall in love with the technology. Many FX in films nowadays you feel are a cool effect looking for somewhere to be used. Similarly clever camera moves become easy but too many forget to ask themselves if it's appropriate.

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Old 05-08-2008, 05:23 PM   #48
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Quote:
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Many FX in films nowadays you feel are a cool effect looking for somewhere to be used. Similarly clever camera moves become easy but too many forget to ask themselves if it's appropriate.
In my opinion...

Every emergent technology gets over-used at first. I hope there's soon a balance between practical and virtual material. I'd much rather light a practical minature than a CG model, but if you have to show a major land battle, CG can be a useful tool. A lot of CG houses use movies to 'showcase' their prowess, with ever more elaborate camera moves and sensational scenes which I find distracting personally (Mr Lucas, I'm looking at you). Good CG should look like no CG, just like good practical minature effects should integrate seamlessly into the whole.

Incidentally, I know of traditional animators who have also lost out since most series are now using CG. Motion capture is another currently overused tool, often needing tweaks from an experienced animator anyway...

CG can save time and money, and look good if it's used properly. But then so can practical photography. Each looks OK on it's own, but I think they're better used together.
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Old 05-08-2008, 05:30 PM   #49
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I totally agree with what you said about "over used" and the crazy camera shots that are the result of a new technology about CG. I hate it when there's a battle shot that takes me "inside" the battle so I'm flying and looping through all these ships and stuff...I can't tell what's going on, that just makes me sick to my stomach. Give me a good wide-angle shot so I can see the tactical situation and I'm a much happier viewer.
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Old 12-08-2008, 09:31 AM   #50
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I must admit that I am not in agreement about all miniature effects being wonderful, particularly as far as the 1990s and the LORD OF THE RINGS movies are concerned. Both had an excess of completely unnatural looking, motion control photographed, multi element bits and bobs that always have a fake "collagey" look to them. All scanned at 2K as well, or having gone through an optical printer pre-digital. I remember in the mid 1990s thinking how stale visual effects had become, when everything was done by either Digital Domain or ILM, and always photographed in the exact same fashion. TITANIC or ID4 may well have been the nadir for me. It looked like a bunch of low res, mis-matched elements of varying quality had been shot over-rigidly on a motion control camera and then glossed over in post. It was all horribly artificial, and that look was EVERYWHERE. You never believewd that the practical elements like explosions were ever in the same frame, because everything was shot at a clearly different frame rate (and on a different lens).

Don't get me wrong, I love the multi element approach when it's the only way to get a shot. Weightless objects for example, think 2001, BLADE RUNNER and CLOSE ENCOUNTERS (STAR WARS and dozens of others, mainly pre 1990s as well), but at least they had a pot pourri of creative approaches and would opt for an in-camera approach if it worked best.

The LORD OF THE RINGS movies for me had largely awful miniature work, most of which was supposed to be in the world shared by the actors but shot again rigidly and unnaturally at low fps on motion control, loads of greenscreen and naff lighting, etc. The second film particularly looked really dodgy. That giant castle looked like it was bought at Toys R Us and composited into a cartoon. I walked out of that movie.

What turns me on and what was lacking for so long in the 1990s is in-camera model work. Original negative, high speed photography, etc. Foreground models as well. Think of the likes of Meddings and Emilio Ruiz. Truly timeless visual effects. I literally cheered watching the climax of BATMAN BEGINS.

in my opinion only the forced perspective in-camera work with the actors will stand the test of time for LORD OF THE RINGS.
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Old 12-08-2008, 10:38 AM   #51
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Just for the record: WETA have never had a 2K scanner, or an optical printer. Even 'Heavenly Creatures', their first project featuring digital work, was done at 4K resolution.
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Old 13-08-2008, 12:12 AM   #52
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Thanks for the correction. The DIs at least for those LOTR films looked really low res, very 2Kish. Didn't help the effects in the slightest.
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Old 13-08-2008, 05:49 AM   #53
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DX-SFX:
Quote:
Sometimes, less is more. They also sometimes seem to fall in love with the technology. Many FX in films nowadays you feel are a cool effect looking for somewhere to be used.
Skiffy:
Quote:
Every emergent technology gets over-used at first.
Reminds me of this:

'Graphic Designer's Judgment Clouded By Desire To Use New Photoshop Plug-In'
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Old 02-12-2008, 12:12 PM   #54
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l dont recall the minatures looking bad in LOTRs ? great blend of both arts l thought

l cannot stand the over use in many films of CGI god the hulk got on my nerves and l also hate water effect cgi.

lve yet to watch iron man properly at l was on a plane to LA when l watched parts of it and thought it seemed ok, l did a signing last year with Adi Granov amonst others.(who designed the iron man look) and l was impressed with the costume.
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Old 26-03-2009, 12:11 PM   #55
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JD View Post
Just for the record: WETA have never had a 2K scanner, or an optical printer. Even 'Heavenly Creatures', their first project featuring digital work, was done at 4K resolution.
First post here, just found the place, but is this a definite? When WETA was boutique-like, yeah, they could do everything at 4K. But if LOTR was 4K, I gotta wonder what else needs to be done to an image. Cuz I couldn't even make it through all three movies, in large part due to objections Tim already mentioned.
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Old 26-03-2009, 01:57 PM   #56
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trevanian. Glad you found our little corner of the cyber-world.
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Old 26-03-2009, 10:12 PM   #57
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Thanks for the info. I thought about it and now I remember talking to some WETA guys for an article about CONTACT where they said the work was 4K (and it looked it!), but I figured when Jackson scaled the operation up to handle greater volume he did a Lucas and 2K'd everything.

When I did some stuff about PHANTOM MENACE for Cinefex, I had to interview 43 people in three days, and they wound up not even printing the R&D end of the piece (about half those interviews, 16,000 words) in the English edition of the mag, only in a Japanese edition I've never even seen! But that is when I realized ILM wasn't going full-out on the renders (probably cuz GL didn't feel it was necessary.)

The only really high end show I know of domestic is SOLARIS, where everything was 4K, down in some cases from various 8K maps and elements. it is still about the only space show where I've found the ship hardware really really convincing throughout (but then again, they only had a handful of shots.)
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Old 27-03-2009, 10:29 AM   #58
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I was wondering if this, described below was an early one-off transitional technology (I think the images were stored on big magnetic tape reels) when everyone else was still using traditional optical printing. I believe this system was also used on Dune (1984). Maybe it contributed to its... er... interesting opticals.
(from an American Cinematographer article)


During that era, computers and their encompassing “digital” aspects became the basis of experiments within the usually time-consuming realm of optical printing. Over 17 years, Barry Nolan and Frank Van Der Veer (of Van Der Veer Photo) built a hybrid electronic printer that, in 1979, composited six two-element scenes in the campy sci-fi classic Flash Gordon. Using both analog video and digital signals, the printer output a color frame in 9 seconds at 3,300 lines of resolution. If optical printing seemed time-consuming, the new methods weren’t exactly lightning-fast, either, and the look couldn’t yet compete with the traditional methods.
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Old 27-03-2009, 11:41 AM   #59
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CINEFEX #6, the one with DRAGONSLAYER on the cover, had a little bit on that particular VanDerVeer printer in their first early CGI article.

Is that quote from a JURASSIC era issue of AC? I seem to remember them doing some looking back at birth of digital stories from the early to mid 90s. I had no idea their system did 3300 lines, I figured it was more like 1K.Guess it is time to watch DUNE again (like I need an excuse with the Ruiz FG miniatures.)
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Old 27-03-2009, 04:18 PM   #60
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The extract is from an online AC article entitled 'The Color Space Conundrum'

http://www.theasc.com/magazine/jan05...rum/index.html


I mention it as I was recently watching in full hi-def on the computer from the Dune HD-DVD and the colour shifts between layers of imagery in the bluescreen shots are very noticeable particularly in the sandworm rider shots in the climactic battle. Maybe its the curse of the early adopter.

As for the Ruiz FG miniatures, just totally epic images.
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