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Closure/Bankruptcy of VFX houses (DigitalDomain, Rhythm&Hues, Pixomodo London&Detorit) - Page 2

post #51 of 88

If that Stalingrad -flick is made like the director's previous 9th Company, they also save a bundle on special FX by NOT PAYING ANYTHING FOR THEM. Crooks.

post #52 of 88

TELL ME MORE.

post #53 of 88

They ordered a lot of FX shots and compositing from a Finnish company called Generator Post. Maybe some color grading work also. A shitload of work, which was top notch and delivered on time, and apparently they didn't pay a fucking penny / euro / ruble for anything. The Genpost folk got some compensation years after 9th Company's premiere, I understood a lot less than was the agreement. On top of that, 9th Company is a really really shitty piece of shit film. But nice FX.

post #54 of 88

The FX house, Meteor Studios in Montreal, got screwed on back pay for their work on Journey to the Center of the Earth 3D back in 2007/2008.

 

Messed up.

 

http://motionographer.com/2009/06/04/meteor-studios-unpaid-artists-update/

 

This isn't even about everyone in movies having to work in a rough industry.  They are flat out cheated out of this due to all the underbidding by the studios.

post #55 of 88
It's a seller's market.
post #56 of 88
From what I'm listening and reading, it's a buyer's market.
post #57 of 88

With these guys getting screwed how can it be a buyer's market?

post #58 of 88
I'm using buyer's market to mean that the buyers (the studios) can name the price they want because the supply outweighs the demand.

Unless I'm using the term incorrectly.

Of course, it's ironic... since demand is technically higher than ever.
post #59 of 88

Oh.  I'm confusing who the buyer is.  Carry on.

post #60 of 88
Thread Starter 
post #61 of 88
post #62 of 88
Thread Starter 

Oriental Dreamworks is a slightly racist name for a company, huh?

post #63 of 88
So, did Serkis finally realize what a dick he'd been?

Or is he softening up because he's gonna have to work with animators more directly now that he's gonna be making his directorial debut on a major mocapped Jungle Book?

And he shouldn't shit where he's gonna be eating?

http://www.cartoonbrew.com/ideas-commentary/andy-serkis-is-giving-more-credit-to-animators-now-101174.html
post #64 of 88
Quote:
Originally Posted by trench View Post

This sounds so similar to the ridiculous work practices in video games that it's a wonder anyone even bothers entering into those areas. Love crazy hours, little/no recognition and zero job security? Apply for your place in the VFX/video game industry today!

Quote:
Originally Posted by mcnooj82 View Post

So, did Serkis finally realize what a dick he'd been?

Or is he softening up because he's gonna have to work with animators more directly now that he's gonna be making his directorial debut on a major mocapped Jungle Book?

And he shouldn't shit where he's gonna be eating?

http://www.cartoonbrew.com/ideas-commentary/andy-serkis-is-giving-more-credit-to-animators-now-101174.html
I know it's not the case, but the head tilt image at the bottom makes me think they moved the head just to say "See, not 100% translation! " But it was probably to make room for Big Ape Muzzle (opposed to mirroring other actor for dramatic effect). Caesar's face wouldn't fit without smooches.

Comparisons of VFX to video game industries earlier in thread are dead on. Makes me grateful that I was paid hourly during the 8+ years I worked as a developer.
post #65 of 88

Not specifically VFX related... but I felt that this story belonged here more than in a general animation thread:

 

http://www.cartoonbrew.com/artist-rights/new-evidence-emerges-of-wage-fixing-by-dreamworks-pixar-and-blue-sky-106529.html

 

Quote:
 The accused studios, among them Pixar, Lucasfilm, ILM, DreamWorks Animation, The Walt Disney Company, Sony Pictures Animation, Sony Pictures Imageworks, Blue Sky Studios, and Imagemovers, “secretly agreed to work together to deprive thousands of their workers of better compensation and deny them opportunities to advance their careers at other companies,” according to the filing.
post #66 of 88
I wonder if a concerted effort to form an animator's union that had some teeth would simply result in a return to practical effects in film. I don't know what Pixar and Dreamworks would do; maybe outsource to the same Korean studios that make a lot of our hand-animated entertainment now.
post #67 of 88
Quote:
Originally Posted by Reasor View Post

I wonder if a concerted effort to form an animator's union that had some teeth would simply result in a return to practical effects in film. 

I doubt that.  

 

Especially considering how many FX shots the big movies need to pump out.  Just too much time and effort for a craft that hasn't been respected as a part of the production pipeline as a standard for a long time.

post #68 of 88
Quote:
Originally Posted by Reasor View Post

I wonder if a concerted effort to form an animator's union that had some teeth would simply result in a return to practical effects in film. I don't know what Pixar and Dreamworks would do; maybe outsource to the same Korean studios that make a lot of our hand-animated entertainment now.

The forgettable CGI feature "The Nut Job" was a South Korean / Canadian co-production, and it was awful.  Also awful, the Japanese directed, American produced CGI feature "Final Fantasy: The Spirit Within".  Nut Job was actually profitable, and there is going to be a sequel, but I would hardly call it a sustainable business model.

 

I'm having a hard time thinking of any American / Asian co-productions that were any good except for 1973's "Enter The Dragon"

post #69 of 88
Quote:
Originally Posted by mcnooj82 View Post
 

I doubt that.  

 

Especially considering how many FX shots the big movies need to pump out.  Just too much time and effort for a craft that hasn't been respected as a part of the production pipeline as a standard for a long time.

 

 

FX is such a buyer's market for labor anyways.  Such a burn-out revolving door career ... always someone younger and cheaper to take your place, and the computerized nature makes it easy to contract out on the cheap compared to practical effects and live actors.  It's the type of work that even the strongest union couldn't protect.

post #70 of 88
When I mentioned outsourcing 2D animation overseas, I was thinking primarily of television shows.

The point about how much easier digital media is to outsource is a salient one, and probably applies to every high tech field now.
post #71 of 88

The VFX procedure that shall not be spoken of:

 

http://mashable.com/2014/12/01/hollywood-secret-beauty-procedure/

 

Quote:
 As Photoshop is to magazine photography, digital beauty has become to celebrities in motion: a potent blend of makeup, plastic surgery, muscle-sculpting, hair restoration, dental work and dermatology. Even the most flawless-in-real-life human specimens are going under the digital knife. Because they can. Because in this age of ultra-high definition, they have to. 

 

I remember Devin making reference to this a couple of years ago and some people theorizing that it was used on Gyllenhaal on Prince of Persia.

post #72 of 88


This pre-digital enhancement candid of Scarlett Johannson was shot between takes on the set of Under The Skin.

It's amazing how much of her original performance they were able to retain, really.
post #73 of 88
Any inconsistencies were patched up by Andy Serkis.
post #74 of 88
Quote:
Originally Posted by mcnooj82 View Post

Not specifically VFX related... but I felt that this story belonged here more than in a general animation thread:

http://www.cartoonbrew.com/artist-rights/new-evidence-emerges-of-wage-fixing-by-dreamworks-pixar-and-blue-sky-106529.html
whoa that's some dastardly stuff right there.
post #75 of 88

http://vfxforum.org/2016/07/no-credit-star-treks-beyond-leaves-two-thirds-vfx-artists-off-end-credits/

 

Quote:
 
We’ve heard that two-thirds of the hardworking individuals for this film didn’t get the opportunity to see their name on the big screen. It is rumoured that Paramount originally only initially wanted to give 100 credits, and Double Negative, the lead VFX house on this, pegged them up to a little over 300 names to split between London, Vancouver, Singapore and Mumbai. For a team of nearly 900 artists, it’s just another notch on the growing divide felt between the treatment of the rest of Hollywood and the visual effects industry.
 
Double Negative’s valiant efforts still leave a crushing blow for the artists left out.  As one of the few non unionized Hollywood workforces we are often at the bottom of the credit list, almost tacked on as an afterthought, while assistants to the assistants and catering names come up ahead of us.  It is the power of the Hollywood unions that has ensured their members don’t get left out.
 
The union negotiations with Hollywood studios are the reason why other film industries get higher billing and a long credit list.Why are we being left out?  With digital reels, it would cost no extra money to add extra lines to include VFX crew in the credits. It’s another slap in the face, showing how under represented and under-appreciated we VFX artists are in a industry when it’s often OUR shots that brings in an audience and profits to Hollywood Studios.
post #76 of 88

Marvel puts all their production credits on screen, don't they? I mean there's at least 2,000 FX credits after every Marvel movie.

post #77 of 88
Nobody reads the credits anyway.
post #78 of 88

But the people looking for their names do!

 

And you REALLY need to read them because there are so many names and you could easily miss it!

 

Maybe they just missed it...

post #79 of 88
Any chance they'll unionize?
post #80 of 88

From what I generally read here and there?  Unlikely anytime soon.  There's always younger people ready to pop in and prove their worth by working the kinds of long hours that the established artists with families can't handle anymore.  Makes it hard for everybody to get on the same page.

post #81 of 88

Sounds like the software/videogame industry. They hire on a lot of people when a project is in it's later phases, then cut them when the project is over. A career there always has some degree of uncertainty unless you are one of the core people in the company.

 

The credits thing for VFX people is just ridiculous, though. Just list the damn names. Another 600 names would be what, 30-40 seconds more of credits? Every other human being loosely related to the production gets listed, like legal services that didn't even work on the actual movie itself.

post #82 of 88
Hollywood doesn't care. Amoral people will continue not to care until given a reason to care. Threatening their livelihood by unionizing is one way. Hurt them where they live and they'll start tap dancing if asked.
post #83 of 88
Quote:
Originally Posted by Kyle Reese View Post

Sounds like the software/videogame industry. They hire on a lot of people when a project is in it's later phases, then cut them when the project is over. A career there always has some degree of uncertaint...
I can vouch for that personally.
post #84 of 88

DT shared it on the thread for the film, but I'll share it  here too:

 

http://www.dorkly.com/post/80148/sausage-partys-animators-were-treated-like-shit

post #85 of 88

http://www.filmcomment.com/article/the-cleaning-crew-vfx/

 

Quote:
 

For several reasons, the art of VFX can easily fall prey to filmmaking-by-committee. That’s a charge that has been leveled at Hollywood for decades. But the approval process involving VFX can run awry rapidly, and grandly. As is true with faces and expressing emotion, just because something looks real doesn’t mean its changes aren’t perceptible on some deeper level. Instead of bursting into flames, an exploding car can be made to flip over multiple times, spew glass everywhere, and have the hood shoot off while engulfed in fire—the kind of overkill that would take longer to achieve with practical effects. This type of one-upmanship makes for great spectacle, but after a certain point it steps beyond the threshold of believability. This disconnect—we “know” that a car can’t explode like that, even though we’re seeing it happen—even if only felt in the back of our minds, has the ability to take us out of a scene in a way that models and clay never did.

If we can agree that VFX fixers working at all levels are at the very least, craftspeople, and at the very most, seasoned artists who can exert just as much control over the final image as cinematographers do, the question arises: how do we acknowledge their work? The level of discussion surrounding VFX—outside of specialty websites—seems to be on the level of calling cinematography “well shot.”

It isn’t any easier on the filmmaking side. Joe Gunn, who works at FuseFX, a VFX post house, navigates more than just practical matters when shepherding a project. “There are a lot of people in the industry who don’t understand the whole process. There is the assumption out there, still, that the computer just does it, right? Not really. There’s still an artist there behind that computer working 12 hours a day to make your vision come true.”

The lack of understanding is reflected on a labor level: VFX artists, unlike every other department, are not unionized. This means that the price of their work is undercut by young and hungry people looking to break into the industry, or by overseas competition. (One of the most notorious examples of this financial strain is Rhythm & Hues Studios, the company that went bankrupt less than 10 days before winning an Academy Award for Life of Pi.) Studios bill non-domestic VFX work as “services”—which means that it’s not taxable—and pay much less for the same work that’s done stateside. This, in turn, leads many skilled artists in the U.S. to relocate to Canada or New Zealand; ever-tightening deadlines remain a plague.

It’s difficult to imagine any other below-the-line department being treated in an à la carte fashion that discourages apprenticeship. “Visual effects supervisors are filmmakers too,” Young said. “They’re artists. They know filmmaking as the craft of sculpting light and shadows.” Overlooking the work of VFX artists as superficial or as a glorified form of computer programming drops an entire swath of craftspeople from the discussion of film, not to mention cheating them of artistic recognition. Stick around for those extra-long credits: the VFX equivalents of Gregg Toland and Vilmos Zsigmond may be walking among us.

post #86 of 88
Quote:
Originally Posted by mcnooj82 View Post
 

http://www.filmcomment.com/article/the-cleaning-crew-vfx/

 

Nice link.

"but after a certain point it steps beyond the threshold of believability. This disconnect—we “know” that a car can’t explode like that, even though we’re seeing it happen—even if only felt in the back of our minds, has the ability to take us out of a scene in a way that models and clay never did."

See my problems with nuking the fridge compared to surviving a fall in an inflatable raft.

 

post #87 of 88
post #88 of 88

I think a huge obstacle is the nature of VFX.  

 

CGI dragons and exploding cars don't really exist in any physical form, so its hard for artists to take ownership of that.  That's a psychological hurdle practical FX guys never had to deal with, because they could physically present their work, which believe it or not makes a huge difference to Hollywood producers and bigwigs.  That has a visceral nature to it that is impressive and intimidating that not even the most impressive computer FX can compete with.  Not just anyone could go into a creature shop and make a xenomorph or a Predator, so the perception is, that needs to be taken seriously.  Of course not everyone can go on a computer and do the same thing, but since everyone from a child to a grandmother has a computer now and computers are capable of showing you almost anything, it gives the (false) impression that computer FX are more ubiquitous and therefore less valuable.  Value comes from scarcity.  It's just a weird psychological thing with people, that, to be perfectly honest, has a kernel of truth to it...

 

This comes down to my own personal feelings, but there was a level of visceral realism to practical FX that CGI could never touch.  Even the best of Avatar had a video game feel to it that was disposable.  There's something in the human mind that reacts differently when it sees something that really exists in a physical space, vs. something that couldn't possibly be anything other than pixels.  So the emergence of CGI has always been a double edged sword for me.  Jurassic Park was one of the few films I feel got it right, specifically because they were still limited by what they could show.  It forced them to rely on a mixture of filmmaking techniques to tell the story, and you have to be more clever about how do that, vs. doing everything in the computer (not to diminish the work of CGI artists, but its just the truth).  And that level of sophistication pays off onscreen.

 

I've always said the best use of CGI was using it to enhance practical FX and puppets, like makeup FX is used to enhance the performance of an actor, but the physical performance is still doing most of the work.  And then you have the occasional wide shot of a sci-fi city that these days can be indistinguishable from a real helicopter shot... things like that where CGI can be a big help, and then you cut to the practical sets with some CGI enhancements here and there so it becomes hard to tell which is which.

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