Wednesday, 16 May 2012

Revisiting a Very Early Post

I believe it was the first independent post I made for the PPP module. I had just began the course, and had recently read an article paying homage to John Carpenter's 'The Thing,' and the use of animatronics in the up and coming prequel. I had an interest in game concept art, a loose interest in gaming itself and was a keen watcher of films. Still, despite being on a digital course, I had purist views towards films and their contents. I raised the possibility that focus on narrative and new approaches were replacing VFX in film. However, at the end of my first academic year, I have a new found enthusiasm for digital processes in film and an understanding that VFX is in as high demand as ever.

I'm sure the video I am mentioning has been posted in other blogs as our tutors shared it with us. Still, I would like to bring up Stargate Studios, who are a postproduction company. Through their backlot showreel, I now understand that when I am looking at a scene, wether it be in film or even television dramas, there is a likely possibility that some percentage of the set has been created in post production. The greenscreening has replaced large intricate sets which I imagine costed time and money. Even if not extravagant and over the top, set makeing it seems has been digitalised. Through visiting the companies website, I even found that they did work for a show which I am a fan of: The television adaptation of 'The Walking Dead.'

As you can see from a video, even ignoring the impressively gruesome effects, we see the studio has helped save time and resources with simple things such as hiring extras as zombies. Through digital post production, hordes of zombies can be multiplied and dropped in to scenes. 

Looking at the extravagant side of things, the recent film '2012' really went all out with VFX. although in my opinion, the film was simply an over produced hollywood throwaway, it gives evidence of the market for VFX in modern cinema (it was the fifth highest grossing film of 2009). Despite the movie not being to my taste, it has to be said that some of the VFX were impressive:

You see through the initial concerns of the team and the achievement of the end result, post production companies are perhaps still well in demand and striving to take VFX further and further.

In conclusion, I am still somewhat concerned when modern films place too much emphasis on VFX. At the end of the day however, computer animation is just another tool for a film maker to communicate their vision. There are just some things that cannot be achieved with puppets and sets alone. Although computer generated effects are not always realistic, neither are traditional stop motion methods for example. It is this new attitude that has allowed me to come to terms with George Lucas's 'Star Wars' re-releases. Some of the new VFX heavy scenes were possibly intended in the originals. The smooth camera flight through Mos Eisley (the pirate city located in Tatooine), would not have been achievable in the late 70s. Now modern technology has enabled lucas to go back and share even more accurately his vision. Most importantly, beneath the new computer effects there still lies a gripping story, showing both narrative and VFX can work hand in hand.

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