VIEW preview: ‘Guardians Vol. 2’ VFX supe Christopher Townsend talks shot iterations

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It’s not very long until the VIEW Conference in Turin, Italy, which kicks off 23 October. One of the amazing things about this event is the high calibre of speakers – we’re talking major visual effects supervisors, animation directors and leaders in VR and other creative content industries.

Oscar-nominated visual effects supervisor Christopher Townsend is one of those incredible speakers whose keynote on Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 will be a highlight of VIEW. His talk, which will also be presented with Trixter animation supervisor Simone Kraus, is affectionately called, ‘The making of a really colourful movie’ – which is exactly what Guardians Vol. 2 is.

When the film came out, I had a chance to chat to Chris about supervising the VFX – and one thing I asked him was in reference to a post from the director, James Gunn, on a shot that had been approved that was in its 749th iteration. I thought I’d share some of Chris’ thoughts about the iterative nature of VFX. Continue reading VIEW preview: ‘Guardians Vol. 2’ VFX supe Christopher Townsend talks shot iterations

Beautybots and robot dogs: just another day in the life of Sony Pictures Imageworks

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Sony Pictures Imageworks is behind a whole range of shots in Matthew Vaughn’s Kingsman: The Golden Circle, from robot dogs, to the beautybot (inspired by Claudia Schiffer), the surrounds of Poppy’s diner environment, a robotic arm, the destruction of the Kingsman mansion and that crazy one-shot fight scene at the end.

Visual effects supervisor Mark Breakspear tells vfxblog how working on some of these hilarious shots was different from the usual VFX assignments – a bag of weed transforming into a forest environment was one of many challenging tasks Imageworks had to pull off, for example. And that was nothing next to mincing one of the bad guys… Continue reading Beautybots and robot dogs: just another day in the life of Sony Pictures Imageworks

Learn the (VFX) secrets of ‘mother!’ with visual effects supervisor Dan Schrecker

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When I was interviewing visual effects supervisor Dan Schrecker about the VFX of Darren Aronofsky’s mother!, I was still getting my head around the movie. I knew I loved it, but I wasn’t clear on everything that had happened (I don’t think you’re meant to be, by the way).

The result, though, from talking to Dan, was that as he guided me through many of the sequences that VFX had had a hand in, I found our discussion almost as gripping as watching the actual film! Suddenly, major plot points and thematic elements became obvious, and I enjoyed hearing about the problem solving involved in simply getting mother! made.

I hope in reading this Q&A you might find that too. Of course, I suggest you see the movie first – not just because of obvious spoilers but because a lot of what Dan and I talk about probably won’t make sense otherwise.

In the interview, Dan describes how the visual effects requirements evolved through planning, production and post. There’s a great story about using VR to plan the shoot in the house, and other anecdotes on specific VFX design decisions and changes made along the way. Here’s your last chance to back out now, so again, beware of spoilers… Continue reading Learn the (VFX) secrets of ‘mother!’ with visual effects supervisor Dan Schrecker

“That gives you goosebumps” – the VFX perspective on THU with Rise FX’s Florian Gellinger

Florian Gellinger from Rise FX.

It can be hard sometimes to nail down exactly what Trojan Horse was a Unicorn is. Of course, that’s its appeal – it’s an ‘experience,’ as co-founder André Lourenço describes it, for all kinds of creatives in digital illustration, design, concept art, 3D, CG, games, animation…and visual effects.

To that end, visual effects supervisor and Rise FX co-founder Florian Gellinger was one of this year’s Knights at THU. It was his first time attending, and I cornered him for a brief Q&A on the final day for his thoughts – as a ‘VFX person’ – on the week that was. Continue reading “That gives you goosebumps” – the VFX perspective on THU with Rise FX’s Florian Gellinger

Dan Curry on the practical and digital revolutions made in ‘Star Trek’ TV VFX

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Visual effects producer and supervisor Dan Curry is synonymous with the Star Trek television series from the 1980s through the mid-2000s. It was a time in which VFX progressed from practical builds, miniatures and optical effects through to all things digital (although practical solutions certainly remained a key part of the way the show’s effects would be brought to life).

With Star Trek: Discovery about to hit the small screen, I caught up with Dan for an article at SYFY WIRE. You can find that here, but Dan and I were lucky to have a much longer conversation than the piece could allow, so I thought I’d publish the whole chat on vfxblog. Dan provided a bunch of images, as did visual effects supervisor Eric Alba, who got his start on those past Trek series. Continue reading Dan Curry on the practical and digital revolutions made in ‘Star Trek’ TV VFX