Creating movie effects on a TV Schedule – ILM’s work for Agent Carter.

Wired/FX Guide have posted a very concise look at the VFX work done by ILM, on the TV show, Agent Carter.

The television VFX work looks spectacular, but it’s even more interesting to see that these grandees of the effects industry are producing work for television*.

Is this a sign of the growing maturity of episodic television, or more related to economic conditions within the film industry?

*This isn’t the first occasion that ILM have worked on a television series, The Young Indiana Jones Chronicles would be one previous example.

A Bond Film – The one sequel/prequel/re-make I will look forward to. First featurette for Spectre released

Eon have just released a first featurette for Spectre, in which Daniel Craig returns as James Bond. In it, Production Designer Dennis Gassner speaks about the challenge of following Skyfall, and makes reference to the stunning location shoot in Solden, Austria – “We are going to continue the history of the Bond films, making things that are exciting for the audience to look at and what could be more exciting than to be on top of the world.”

iceq,method=scale,prop=data,id=2000-850

From December 2014 until February 2015 Sölden will be one of the locations where filming for the new James Bond Movie will take place.

“SPECTRE will be released on November 6th, 2015″

With virtual set design, it pays to hire a professional

If imitation really is the highest form of flattery, what should we make of it when, in addition to the imitation being embarrassingly poor, someone is trying to profit from it?

turbosquid

A poor quality, knock-off “Virtual News Studio” model for sale on Turbosquid.

Recently spotted for sale on Turbosquid, is this tacky imitation of the ITV News set. Rather than pick the fake apart, I’ll just include a comparison shot (below) from the actual ITV News set, designed and prepared by a team of dedicated and experienced professionals.

ITV News virtual set

The ITV News virtual set. An original set, prepared by a team of highly experienced designers (Lightwell, BDA/Jago Design/Lambie Nairn) together with a fantastic client, ITN.

The one detail I will mention is that the fake model uses 10,000 polygons, whereas the original newsroom model uses only 62 polygons, incorporates pre-baked lighting textures, and can actually function as a virtual set within VizRT – just one of the multitude of reasons why it pays to use a professional.

MUTV virtual set designs have now been added to Lightwell.tv

The lightwell webiste has been updated, and now includes images from the MUTV Thursday Focus set designs that I completed last summer.

MUTV Thursday Focus virtual set designs for use with the Newtek Tricaster

This was one of a number of projects that have been waiting to be added to the site. Still to be added are the digital backdrops for ABC News in Australia, and the Newtek Tricaster based virtual sets for the Met Office.

 

Trying something new: A 1:6 scale miniature set, with 3D tracking and digital extensions…

Having worked exclusively in digital formats for the past 15 years, I have recently been making a concerted effort to resurrect some of my practical design skills. Around five years ago, I started to sketch more frequently, as I began to take on more of a design lead on projects. It proved a great complement to pixels.

More recently, I have looked to expand upon this positive experience and started to explore the use of miniatures in filmmaking. The shots below are of a miniature I have been developing for a sequence of shots based on a snowy environment I have designed. Two faces of a section of a building have been constructed, and set within a snow covered landscape. This miniature set design will ultimately be extended through the use of digital set extensions and 3D tracking.

Shot of the in-progress, 1:6 scale, miniature set, featuring snow and ice effects

A shot of the miniature including snow and ice effects.

The shell of the building was made out of foamcore, which was then clad in balsa. The balsa was ridiculously pristine when first applied, but has since been aged and weathered with heavily diluted ink washes. The snow is a combination of polystyrene base, on top of which, model railway snow effects and marble dust (to add sparkle) have been applied. The icicles are made by applying model railway water effect gel to waxed paper. Once dried, they are glued to the eaves of the building. It’s not finished yet, but so far, it’s proved to be a hugely, enjoyable indulgence.

Detail shot of 1:6 scale miniature set, featuring snow and ice effects

Detail of the miniature in it’s current stage of development.

As with any miniature, depth of field has proved problematic. The only way to counter this, has been to dramatically stop down. Testing has shown f16 to be the absolute maximum, but to achieve optimum results, I am going to need to reduce the aperture even further. The direct consequence of this, is that I then need ridiculous levels of light.

I’m currently looking at stop motion techniques to achieve small apertures, with less light and longer exposures. This approach will allow for better digital environments through better depth of field and improved image quality and resolution compared to video capture.

I wanted to post these before Fortitude is screened tomorrow, as I started work on this last Autumn but business has been very busy and limited the opportunities to work on these kinds of personal projects.

Work schedules permitting, I’m hoping to have the first sequence completed by the Spring

An earlier shot of the miniature set, prior to adding snow and ice effects.

Shot of the miniature prior to the application of snow and ice effects.

 

Fog II

Categories:PhotographyTags: , , ,

jimmann_fog2Another image from my early morning fog shoot at the end of November.

Nikon D800
Nikkor 70-200mm at 90mm
f/3.5
1/10s
ISO400