Is ILM still the best visual FX house?

Discussion in 'Lucasfilm Ltd. In-Depth Discussion' started by Jedi knight Pozzi, Jan 13, 2003.

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  1. HKChicago Jedi Knight

    Member Since:
    May 8, 2002
    star 2
    Nothing in those 3, save resourcefulness, to hint at future glories.

    Well there's one great scene... while the movie starts out very slow, the zombie baby in the park scene still has me in stiches. And I've only ever seen it once, about a year ago.

    Would anyone believe that the most successful directors this year were getting noticed with stuff like Brain Dead, Evil Dead, and THX-1138?
  2. malducin Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Oct 23, 2001
    star 4
    Well that's how most directors start anyway, Cameron, who worked a bit in VFX (he worked on Escape from NY, for example) started with Piranha 2. Ron Howard also directed a cheezy car movie, I believe for Roger Corman, who let him direct it as far as he would also star on it (he was big then as Opie). Most directors have very humble beginnings, but it worked out in the end.

    The big problem nowadays is how much films are test screened, and tailored by clueless movie studio moguls, bean counters and producers who have no idea what a film is. Now it has too be targeted for certain rating, certain length, done in ridiculous amounts of time and include hype or selling factors (modern crap music, unnecessary wire work, flavor of the month pretty faces actors, bland scripts with action seuqneces and requisite one liners, etc.). At least back then studios were not that intrusive and were headed by more sensible people. Kurtz isolated Lucas from studio interferance, PJ was a foreigner so no Hollywood movies until later, and Sam Raimi snuck under the radar by first doing little fun movies.

    But now I think it will be more difficult given the circumstances. And then you get people who get big and lucky quick, like McG, who still falls flat trying to be "creative" by using MTV style editing and ridiculous wire work to supposdely make a movie better and unique.
  3. dolphin Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Nov 5, 1999
    star 4
  4. Jedi knight Pozzi Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Apr 2, 2000
    star 6
    Any change after the Oscar lost?
  5. malducin Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Oct 23, 2001
    star 4
    What change? Of perceptions you mean? O f course no.

    It works the other way around too. Most people I know and fans of VFX think that ILM shouldn't have won over Blade Runner that year. A few dissenters think also the same about 1984, that maybe ILM should have lost to Ghostbusters or 2010. In no way it dimishes anything.

    The thing is, Oscars are very politicized and the rules for the VFX Oscar, since the formation of the VFX Branch don't help. The rule is written so that it can be interpreted as "choose the best movie with VFX", not "choose the best VFX in a movie". Probably the reason Gladiator won. But at least the VES awards will hopefully be a better measure. Just for contrast, the BAFTAs (the British Oscar equivalent), the award is chosen the other way around: the membership chooses the nominees (which has led to some ridiculous choices), but a panel of experts chooses the winner. It has led to some strange winners too. Just for comparison that same year Gladiator won the Oscar for best VFX, the BAFTA for best VFX was awarded to The Perfect Storm (which was nominated for the Oscar along Hollowman).

    In the end it won't matter, since what matters is a companies body of work. Hopefully all these nonsense won't matter by 2005, since there aern't any big franchises on the site, maily LOTR and the Matrix sequels. Unfortunately there is this attitude of see who carries the bigger stick to beat to pulp the competiton: fans and critics bashing the other movies (say SW bashing LOTR, just as much as they bash SW, and for all childish reason at best or because it's fashionable). It'll be interesting to see how 2005 turns out as Ep. won't have to be trashed against The Matrix or LOTR sequels. On a positive note it seems Weta will be able to keep ramped up now that it seems the Narnia Chronicles are going to be done by them.
  6. Sarkham-Ming-Rendar Jedi Knight

    Member Since:
    Apr 15, 2003
    I couldn't agree more with this point of view.
    And some points must be clear. Most of the real competition of ILM where created or (in most cases) supervised by former ILM workers (just take John Dykstra of imageworks) so it's no wonder why they can come up with a really impressive piece of work. And finally, those companies can create such works basically because they are working only with that movie, not like ILM wich only in this year I believe it has at least 10 or 11 movies on the works, including VFX driven movies like Hulk or Pirates of the Caribbean.
  7. malducin Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Oct 23, 2001
    star 4
    Well technically speaking they have and will work on 9 movies that will be released this year. Though work on Van Helsing (May 2004) has already started and even pre-production for Ep. 3. It is indeed amazing that they can work simultaneously on several projects at once. Only a few companies, like Imageworks (which are working on a comparable number of projects right now) and Digital Domain, have that capacity.
  8. kirkout Jedi Knight

    Member Since:
    Feb 7, 2002
    star 1
    In response to:
    StarDude
    Registered: Nov 01
    Date Posted: 1/18 6:15pm Subject: RE: Is ILM still the best visual FX house?
    "People have come and said to me 'well, I noticed you didn't use any Special Effects in the Sixth Sense . . .'"

    Watch the Sixth Sense DVD and you'll see him explain why he doesn't ever use Special Effects.


    Man, he uses plenty of visual effects in Sixth, and as MAL indicated further up, in UNBREAKABLE (his best IMO) as well. He may not be advertising the fact that visual effects were employed (and note I am saying VFX not special effects, which are physical on set fx, of which there are tons in all three of Night's flicks), but hell, he ain't alone in that idea of playing down the vfx ... Cruise and Paramount managed to obscure a huge amount of the vfx in Mission Impossible 2 from being acknowledged as vfx, I guess with the ludicrous notion that they want the public to believe a studio will let their star hang off mountains SANS wires.

    I had to see that damn MI2 twice while preparing to do interviews for an article on the vfx, only to find out that the fx companies weren't contractually allowed to talk about their work (that's more than 4 hours of my life I'll never get back, seeing MI2 twice ... believe me, I'm still pissed!)

  9. Attack_of_the_Ewoks Jedi Youngling

    Member Since:
    Mar 8, 2003
    star 4
    i haven't read through this thread but I'd like to add a comment that I strongly stand by. Digital Domain's visual effects for Star Trek Nemesis were incredible. I was more impressed w/ the vfx than the film itself. I don't think ILM could've done better.
  10. malducin Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Oct 23, 2001
    star 4
    ALthough there was one thing that bothered me on Nemesis, the yelloish color correction on the planet. Not only were the shots very grainy but you could see all thses popping noise in the sky, very distracting. I would have perferred the space battles to be more lighted, a lot of the space shots were so dark.

    Don't forget Illusion Arts' work on the matte paintings. Great stuff from them as usual.
  11. kirkout Jedi Knight

    Member Since:
    Feb 7, 2002
    star 1
    I'll agree about Illusion Arts' work being pretty great (as usual), but not about DD.

    The NEM ship stuff just didn't work at all when it was supposed to be in a decent amount of light. That drydock shot at the end made my wife laugh out loud ... the decision to do the ship in CG just seems inappropriate, given the fact that we get a few loving looks at the ship and it simply doesn't withstand any scrutiny.

    The battle in the nebula looked okay most of the time, but I attribute that to the low light levels ... have a feeling when this comes out on DVD, the flaws will be more evident than they were in the theatre (that was the case with a lot of SBS' Ent CG ship stuff in INS, too.)

    By way of comparison, ILM's First Contact ship stuff is mostly done with miniatures, and they looked GOOD. Almost too good, since the few times there is a CG Ent in that movie, it suffers by comparison (but to give ILM CG its due, the mostly-CG background ships in the Borg battle look really terrific, probably the most convincing CG I've seen in Trek, and I attribute this to them doing the windows and the lights in the ships well.)
  12. Jack-D-Ripper Jedi Knight

    Member Since:
    Dec 21, 2002
    star 2
    By way of comparison, ILM's First Contact ship stuff is mostly done with miniatures, and they looked GOOD. Almost too good, since the few times there is a CG Ent in that movie, it suffers by comparison (but to give ILM CG its due, the mostly-CG background ships in the Borg battle look really terrific, probably the most convincing CG I've seen in Trek, and I attribute this to them doing the windows and the lights in the ships well.)

    First Contact's effects are awesome, the best Trek effects since ST:TMP. Still, I don't know why you say the CG Rnt-E in FC is noticeably inferior to the miniature, because I actually have no clue at all which shots use a CG version. Perhpas you could enlighten me?

    -JDR.
  13. kirkout Jedi Knight

    Member Since:
    Feb 7, 2002
    star 1
    The shot where the ship is hit by the time travel wave and then the shot when it emerges from the time travel effect both use the CG Enterprise. These are side views of the ship, pretty close in frame. These shots don't seem to match for me with the model shots, even though the CG ship was done based on stills taken of the miniature.

    Another CG Ent is in the warp drive shot seen earlier pre-battle, which looks better than the time travel stuff, probably because the ship is in much lower lighting and looks more grey than white.

    Supposedly there is a CG Ent shot during the borg battle, but I've never scoped it if that's the case. Again, I think the mostly-CG fed fleet in that sequence is very well done (courtesy of ILM's Rebel Mac group as I recall), but I still believe that full-frame well-lit ship CG doesn't deliver all the oomph that the miniatures do, though they have gotten close on occasion.

    SPACE COWBOYS has got a great blend of miniatures and CG that is nearly impossible to discern (when I got one of those fancier cables for my DVD, the RGB kind I think, I noticed that the level of resolution improved to a point that it was much easier to tell the CG parts of the satellite, but the astronaut stuff was still perfect.)
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