Ice, cars, fire and a submarine: just another day on ‘The Fate of the Furious’


When the first trailers for F. Gary Gray’s The Fate of the Furious surfaced, they showcased a stunt sequence involving a submarine and vehicles driving along a frozen lake that seemed outlandish even for what has become a franchise that seems to up the ante with every new film.

Mixing real photography, practical effects and complicated visual effects work, the submarine chase is an absolute thrill-ride. vfxblog heard from Digital Domain visual effects supervisor Jay Barton and CG supervisor Scott Edelstein on how it was achieved. Continue reading “Ice, cars, fire and a submarine: just another day on ‘The Fate of the Furious’”



…of the car variety. That’s what this scene involves in The Fate of the Furious, and to make it possible an incredible combo of practical and digital vfx work was done, including by Double Negative. Here’s my chat with them for Cartoon Brew.

The book I wish was around when I got into VFX

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‘Visual effects’ is so many things. It’s art and it’s science, and it covers an incredible range of disciplines, including illustration, photography, lighting, modeling, animation, rendering, compositing, coding…in fact, the list goes on and on.

I think it can be hard as a new filmmaker or film enthusiast to just get your head around VFX (frankly, as someone who came into visual effects journalism not as an artist originally, I am always playing catch-up on what others in the industry might consider basic concepts).

eranWhich is why I was excited to hear about the release of The Filmmaker’s Guide to Visual Effects, a Focal Press book by visual effects supervisor and instructor Eran Dinur. Dinur works at Brainstorm Digital on major projects like The Wolf of Wall Street, Boardwalk Empire and The Lost City of Z. He was also at ILM Singapore where he contributed to Iron Man, Star Trek and Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen.

Eran knows his stuff, and he also teaches it. His courses at fxphd were some of the most well-loved (trust me, I was there and saw the incredible feedback). Now he’s distilled a lot of this VFX knowledge into a book designed to be a clear guide for filmmakers about where and how visual effects can fit into their productions.

To give you a taste of what’s in the book, Eran has kindly let me publish an excerpt from a chapter about shooting on set, and specifically shooting with green screens. The rest of the book includes discussion about all the important disciplines in VFX, and as I read each chapter I was silently wishing the book had been written when I got started!

So, check out the excerpt below for The Filmmaker’s Guide to Visual Effects (that link takes you to the book’s Amazon page). Continue reading “The book I wish was around when I got into VFX”

The household characters of ‘Beauty and the Beast’ – a conversation with Framestore


Bill Condon’s Beauty and the Beast is a major, major hit. The film has won over audiences by staying true to the classic Disney tale but also bringing something new to the world.

Helping to make the ‘live action’ film possible was, of course, an incredible amount of visual effects work, including the household characters. These were CG creations brought to life by Framestore, overseen by visual effects supervisor Kyle McCulloch. I had the pleasure of exploring how the characters were made with Framestore’s animation supervisor Dale Newton and CG supervisor Neil Weatherley. This lengthy discussion is aimed at giving a glimpse into just how much work went into the characters. Continue reading “The household characters of ‘Beauty and the Beast’ – a conversation with Framestore”

Director interview: Rupert Sanders on ‘Ghost in the Shell’


For the premiere issue of the Visual Effects Society’s new print magazine, VFX Voice, I set out to cover the effects of Ghost in the Shell. I was lucky enough to speak to visual effects supervisors Guillaume Rocheron and John Dykstra, and a whole bunch of artists from Weta Workshop. I was also able to interview director Rupert Sanders about his approach to the practical and digital effects in the film.

Now that VFX Voice is out – see the cover article here – I thought I’d feature the full-length interview with Sanders here on vfxblog, which covers a lot of the director’s thoughts that couldn’t make it into the magazine for space considerations. Hope you enjoy. Continue reading “Director interview: Rupert Sanders on ‘Ghost in the Shell’”

The VFX industry is always changing


Nothing really ever stays the same, but one of the fun things about visual effects is how much the technology, artistry and the business changes. There’s also often new ways of hearing or learning about VFX – over the years I’ve got my information from books, magazines, online articles, podcasts, DVD featurettes, tutorials, seminars and of course face to face.

Now I’m excited to be part of a new communication medium – the Visual Effects Society’s brand new print magazine VFX Voice. I wrote some pieces in there on Ghost in the Shell, Westworld, Kong: Skull Island, Cars 3 and a bunch more. Loved the process – and you can grab the magazine now, or read it online at