Sunday, 30 December 2012

Final Post

Over the past few weeks I have been trying to gain more experience with using Nuke, sometimes frustratingly using it. However, during this time I have created a 3,000 word document that will be handed in as well to sum up what has been written in this blog.

I have been analysing this blog, and the PPD1 brief, and can't think of anything else to add to the blog, and believe I have looked into the Visual Effects Industry to its fullest extent without going over the top and not doing the work that I have projected to do in PPD2.

The website has been designed already and is live at www.michaeldixonuk.com, the blog contains designs for the final showreel, business card and CV.


Saturday, 1 December 2012

Showreel


Example of how the final showreel will look.


Above is an annotated showreel to show how my showreel will look when it is finished.

Tuesday, 27 November 2012

The Hobbit


An amazing look into The Hobbit Post Production.

It clearly shows the fun yet stressful environment Post Production is, with Peter Jackson actually saying it will be finished 2 days before the premiere. I would hope people think this is ridiculous but that is part of the Film Industry; you have a deadline, you have to stick with it or the whole film is delayed.

Sunday, 11 November 2012

Useful Links

While going through some linkedin emails I found some really useful information about entering the VFX Industry and how to survive in the long term.

13 Key Skills to Becoming a Great VFX Compositor

Above is a link that links to 13 different skills that will make you much more aware of what is required for becoming a good VFX Compositor.

10 Simple Steps to Becoming a VFX Compositor

Above is a link on 10 steps that will make me a better VFX Compositor.

Learning VFX Compositing Skills

Above is a few tutorials on skills that I need to know when entering the VFX Industry.

Runner Information

Above is a link to some more information on a Runner position.

Visual Effects Supervisor

Above is a link to an interview with HaZ who I met at the Visual Effects Festival and is full of good information.

Saturday, 10 November 2012

Simple Pictured Showreel Storyboard


Showreel Storyboard (Written)

0:00 - 0:03

Something that catches the eye of the viewer, the video resume used an explosion but I need something that is all my own and unique. So if I was to do an explosion, it'd be best to do it with a Fluid Simulator or created myself.

0:03 - 0:13

Name appears with contact information (website and email address) through a matte painting that I created myself, so if it was to be a sunrise then the sky and ground have to be created uniquely by myself and then the sunrise, i.e my name, appears.

0:13 - 0:35

Similar interview to the video resume but the only part that is properly filmed will be me sitting on a chair while the background is matte painted (possibly not on time constraints) and the use of rotoscoping to put myself onto the background image. This will show my capabilities as a rotoscope artist to the viewer so as the interview is progressing I can have the background going through layers such as the original footage, keying, lighting, alpha, etc.

"Oh. Hello."

"Michael Dixon, you have achieved great success in business, academic and personal relationships, and have been an inspiration to many people. What would you recommend to your numerous admirers who want to reach their highest potential?"

"The first thing to know about success is that it doesn't just come to you."

0:35 - 0:43

I continue the interview with the speech below whilst standing somewhere creating an energy ball, this show my ability to do such a thing within nuke.

"Most people associate success with money and power, but really, it's a state of mind."

0:43 - 0:48

Continuing the speech, the camera could follow me through the flat whilst descriptions/titles/prices appear of the objects I am passing, similar to the Fight Club reference in my preference example of a showreel.

"And when it comes to success, the only limit is that there are no limits."

0:48 - 1:15

Back to the original interview scene, however, something different has to happen, such as a crackle and the background changes to all white (similar to the white background within The Matrix film). Shows that my lighting skills are good and I'm able to do various ways of rotoscoping.

"All my life I have dared to go past what is possible."

"To the impossible?"

"Actually past that ... to the place where the possible and the impossible meet to become ... the possimpossible. If I can leave you with one thought, it's this: nothing ... and everything ... is possimpossible."

1:15 - 1:35

This is the section that displays the spaceship flying through space with matte painted planets in the background.

1:35 - 1:50

Blood splatter and gun fire visual effects created by myself.

1:50 - 2:00

If the showreel ends with gun fire then I could have the camera follow the last bullet and have the camera rotate to the back of it and then fade in my eye and fade out the bullet while zooming out to reveal more of myself with my contact details along the bottom of the screen. A sky and waving UK flag in the background will be the final touch.


Note: This contains all aspects that were in my previous showreel example so this can work very uniquely.

Video Resume (Written)

The following is a breakdown of what happens in the How I Met Your Mother video resume, it will give me a much greater understanding of what to put into my showreel.

0:00 - 0:03

Explosion

0:03 - 0:13

Intro of name appearing as if a sunrise.

0:13 - 0:35

Self Interview giving some good points about the character.

"Oh. Hello."

"Barney Stinson, you have achieved great success in business, athletics and personal relationships, and have been an inspiration to many people. What would you recommend to your numerous admirers who want to reach their highest potential?"

"The first thing to know about success is that it doesn't just come to you."

0:35 - 0:43

Appears on a motorbike giving a small speech and then revs the engine at the end.

"Most people associate success with money and power, but really, it's a state of mind.

0:43 - 0:48

Appears grooming a horse with another small speech.

"And when it comes to success, the only limit is that there are no limits."

0:48 - 1:15

Self Interview again giving some more character traits he holds.

"All my life I have dared to go past what is possible."

"To the impossible?"

"Actually past that ... to the place where the possible and the impossible meet to become ... the possimpossible. If I can leave you with one thought, it's this: nothing ... and everything ... is possimpossible.

1:15 - 1:40

Montage of various video footage.
  1. 4 planes doing maneuvers
  2. Someone doing a flip on a surfboard
  3. Cheetah running
  4. Monster Truck in the air
  5. Bomb Cloud
  6. Street Luge
  7. Cheetah growling
  8. Someone jumping off a cliff and when the parachute opens the word 'TRUSTWORTHY' appears instead of a parachute.
  9. Line of horse riders
  10. Very fast boat traveling across water.
  11. 2 planes doing maneuvers
  12. Dark sky with lightning that forms the word 'PUNCTUAL'
  13. Wave crashing over with the word 'AWESOME' appearing as if coming over the wave as well
  14. Fuel Truck with the word 'DETAIL-ORIENTED' on it falling and then exploding
  15. Chimp on roller skates
  16. Man and Chimp on roller skates spinning in circles
  17. The earth zooming out.

1:40 - 1:51

Zoom out from the earth for it to appear in the character's eye and fade out. Then zooms out from the character to be standing in front of an American flag with his name at the bottom and a 'HIRED' stamp displayed at 1:49



If I follow a similar time path, but changing a bit to make it more personal and aimed at the VFX Industry, it will come out at a perfect 2 minute showreel.

Be Unique

I've been trying to think of the best way to self promote myself and I must admit that it's very difficult to do that and be unique. The most important word there is to be unique and that was the final and 13th point I made in my Self Promotion blog post back in September.

I believe my business card looking like a playing card is quite unique in itself, but also interesting to look at and whilst looking at graduate showreels and even people in the industry, the showreels follow the same pattern:

  1. Name and Contact Details
  2. Best Work
  3. Second Best Work
  4. Alright Work (If they have any other work to show)
  5. Third Best Work
  6. Breakdowns
  7. Name and Contact Details
If I was an employer I'd be getting very bored of the same old showreels coming through the door, and something unique would be quite impressive.

The actual inspiration to this came while I was watching How I Met Your Mother (a popular TV series in both America and UK) and was the character Barney's video resume as shown below.

video

The video resume has a lot of humour in it, however, it is very different and unique, and I want to use that uniqueness to my advantage. Hence why over the coming days I will be storyboarding my showreel again but in a different manner to be unique.

You may be thinking that this is a completely stupid idea, however, there is a lot of rotoscoping and keying within the video and gives me a chance to show off my work in a different manner. I will try to storyboard all, or at least part of the showreel, and show it to Phil to get his opinion before starting it off completely.

Website


 





This is all five parts of my website, it contains my old work but it will soon be updated to much more modern work relating to the VFX Industry.

The filmography link goes to imdb.com but as I enter the film industry, it will point to my own profile on imdb.

Thursday, 8 November 2012

Complete Website

Currently the website isn't connected to my www.michaeldixonuk.com domain but if you're viewing it for (hopefully) the next couple of days then please go to this link.

Link

It currently displays work from the past couple of years of studying and is aimed at Video Games and not the Film Industry. It will be updated throughout the Academic year with more recent work relating to becoming a VFX Compositor.

Monday, 22 October 2012

Friday, 19 October 2012

Storyboard Example

 

Taking everything from the previous post, this video shows examples of other people's work into the way I want my showreel. I wont necessarily stick with this layout of the work until I get a feel of my work and how it's going to all flow into the one video. 

*Edit: If the video, when click play, says set to private then click the Youtube logo on the frame and you can play it on Youtube rather through this blog.

Showreel Storyboard

This is just a quick look at how I want my storyboard to look, it may end up differently as I create it but it has the general feel of what I hope to accomplish.



Thursday, 18 October 2012

Business Card Example


This is a business card design that I may use, as you can already see, the red writing on the right hand side shows some things for myself to consider before buying a number of them.

Website Building


This is just an example home page to the website, I think it's a good start, however, I'm still not 100% on the design of it. For the time being, I think I'm going to put the website to the back of my mind and concentrate on it later for a fresh perspective.

Webpage Creation


This website is inspired by Pietro Orlandi website. It's very precise and straight to the point, and is centrally located so is viewable quite easily. The addition of the showreel on the first page means that potential employers can view it as soon as possible.

The only changes, which would have to be worked out when creating the webpage is where to put certain contact information so its viewable at all times.

Sunday, 14 October 2012

Storyboard Part II


This is the next part of the storyboard. It shows a that I will be splitting up my previous work so as to make the typography flow a little better throughout the video.

Gantt Chart 2


Saturday, 13 October 2012

Typography so far...

Finally got the video to upload properly to Youtube. It's not finished yet and it's a bit unconventional so far but it goes over the VFX Capital, the locations of Visual Effects studios in London and Double Negative Showreel. So it's definitely getting there.

There isn't any sound yet for the main video, I will be looking for that at a later date.


Typography Examples

This is just going to be a short typography examples that I will be looking at to be competent at creating a typography video about the Visual Effects Industry.


This is by far a good but simple typography video. It really just consists of text and turning the camera to allow for more text.


This extends the simplicity of the previous example by including effects and 3D camera work.


This furthers the previous two to include images within the text and add that extra element to the typography.


This keeps appearing up as one of the best typography videos and it goes that extra mile to be the best.

Showreel Examples

This is just a short blog post on what is to be included within a showreel with an example below.

  1. Include breakdowns of your work i.e. different layers, lighting, etc that was applied
  2. Include only your best work
  3. Ensure everything is annotated
  4. Include your name and contact details at the start and end of the video (Possible to have it during the video as well if edited properly)
  5. Ensure it's viewable on all computers (.avi, downloadable from website, viewable on website)
  6. Look into getting feedback from professionals so it can be the best


Website Evaluations

Carlos Guillen

Carlos' website is a very basic website design. It does have all the principal mechanics but it doesn't jump out at you and make you want to stay on the website to view more about him. It also only contains one piece of work, and it does have the breakdowns and everything, but it begs the question as to whether he can do more.

Randy Little

Randy's website is a little crowded in my opinion, it has everything on one webpage. The showreel is brilliant and has links to imdb and LinkedIn, with breakdowns below the showreel, but not shown within the showreel, which would show the breakdowns much more effectively. There's also advertising at the bottom of the page, which I believe is so unprofessional.

Pietro Orlandi

Pietro's website is small but precise, there are clear links to their showreel, shot breakdowns, filmography and resume. The only change is that I would have put the showreel on the first webpage so potential employers don't have to click around. The filmography link goes to imdb, which is a good idea as its such a good database for people within the Film Industry.

Mathieu Pinto

Mathieu's website is a simple design and very confusing. The front page has a sort of blog view which mixes everything together, and then menus at the top. There are a few things to point out, the website needs to be proofread as some of the English isn't that good, and also I'm not quite sure where he lives to offer him a job as he did a Masters in Kent but other courses in France. The title of the webpages are 3D modeller and VFX compositor, and then has links to 3D work and VFX work, this seems like he is unsure what he wants to do as a job, so he should only show the work that will get him a job.

Charles Collyer

With such an impressive resume and showreel, I would have expected more from his website, however, it's very unattractive and boring. He should consider spending time to redo the website from the ground up before finding another job (if he moves on from Pixomondo), so it catches the viewer's eye. The first and most important thing I would recommend would be to put his showreel on the home page so that it shows what he's good at and employers would overlook the poor website.

VFX Company Tax Breaks Part II

I was surprised to hear at the VFX Festival that there was going to be tax breaks for the Industry as I have noted before that the Film Industry already has one and included that as part of the VFX tax breaks. However, along with Games, Television and Animation, from April 2013, the VFX Industry (Falling into those categories) will get tax breaks as well that are similar to the Film Tax Break model, in that if expenditure is under a certain amount, a percentage is given back by the Government, whilst if it is over a certain amount, a smaller percentage is given back.

This is going to make the VFX Industry strive for the next few years, especially with the extension of the Film Industry tax break until 2015. However, some American VFX Companies are up in arms about this decision as it means that a lot of Films will be going to London for Visual Effects rather than staying within America.

This PDF file (Link) shows the breakdown for the tax breaks, but I am unable to find any information on the exact figures, but I am sure these will come out in April 2013. From what I have gathered, the Government wants to be the leader in the Creative Industry so had a consultation period for individuals and companies to come forward and suggest what sort of tax break will be put forward in April 2013.

VFX Festival



This is the leaflet that I was handed once I arrived at the festival. As you can tell, the top picture shows the timetable for the festival, however, it was limited to one per night so I chose 'Just what is Compositing' on Wednesday and 'Starting out in VFX' on Thursday. Both were interesting to attend and I did come out with some information, but I have to admit, it wasn't as informative as I would have liked.

I was able to talk to a view people already in the VFX Industry who I asked perhaps too many questions but I wanted to know and get as much knowledge from this VFX Festival as I could. I also met some people who had just recently finished a Masters/Undergraduate course and from other countries who had come over to improve their English and get into the Industry within London.

One person I got to meet was Simon Haslett (Link) and he explained so much about the Industry, and has a wealth of knowledge. For 'Starting out in VFX' I got to meet Alastair Cross (Link) who gave an overview of his experience working for Escape Studios after finishing the course and at Polar Media.

Prometheus Breakdown


This was featured at the VFX Festival I attended, however, I wasn't able to attend the showing and Q&A due to having to return back to Derby to continue on doing University work. I'm sure it was a brilliant conference to attend by MPC (Moving Picture Company) as it was a company who has worked with all professionals and would have provided good feedback on how they did the shots.

Monday, 8 October 2012

What to do after leaving University

This is going to be a short blog post as I believe I know what I want to do after I have left University.

If you look at a previous blog post you will see a Gantt Chart of what I will be doing over the next University year, and this includes finalising my showreel by the end of February. This will give me some good leeway if things get behind during the year and also means I can work on other projects after the showreel is complete.

Once the showreel is complete I will be looking for feedback from other people in the Visual Effects Industry, but firstly I will be looking for feedback from fellow University students via the Facebook group and asking for feedback from lecturers.

Once I have a fully critiqued showreel and have improved it to standards that please everyone, I will then start looking to completely update my site with the showreel on and portfolio pieces. Furthermore, the showreel will be sent out to VFX Companies around the globe, mainly in the UK, America, Canada and Austrailia (and New Zealand).

The job I will be looking to get into is a Compositor position but I am fully aware, and I believe I am fully capable, of becoming a Runner first. The position looks very appealing as if I become a Compositor straight away, I don't have the knowledge of actually working within the Visual Effects Industry and could become overwhelmed. However, if I was to become a Runner, I would be able to get the knowledge of working within the Visual Effects Industry, make contacts and ask questions whilst also meeting clients and learn the film process.

Finally, I hope to achieve my first position within the VFX Industry by the end of 2012.

Employee Profiles at Double Negative

CAREER PROFILE - DIGITAL MATTE PAINTER

Ludovic Iochem

LUDOVIC IOCHEM

I'm Ludovic Iochem, a Digital Matte Painter Artist at Double Negative. My job is right in the middle between 2D and 3D. As a DMP artist, I create environments, mostly using photomanipulation techniques, and re-project them onto geometry to reshoot through a camera. I also do a lot of set extension, 2.5D environment and backgrounds.

How did you get into the business?

I went to university in France to get a degree in generic Computer Graphics. I learnt the basics of 2D, 3D and scripting, then spent the next few months practising photomanipulation and matte painting. After this, I joined a VFX company in France and started to do some matte painting for commercials. I then made the jump to feature films.

Is there anything you wish you had done before you joined the industry which would have better prepared you for your career in VFX for Film?

Yes, definitely! It would have been fantastic to a better understanding about all the different processes involved in creating a shot. VFX is not just about using software, we also have to really understand what needs to be done within the context of the film-making process, in order to make a decision on best approach. I really would have loved to have someone teach me this side of the work.

Is there any advice you would give to someone coming into the business?

Try to be clever. Don’t use the biggest tool, if you can get equally good and faster results with the smaller one. VFX is all about tips and tricks in the end. 

Any other comments you would like to make as potential Careers Advice?

Be curious, and try to stay tuned to the new techniques that are coming in. Our work is very fast-paced and new techniques are being developed all the time. You have to stay up to date! And keep in mind that we're very lucky to do this job, so try to have fun and enjoy it! 





CAREER PROFILE - ROTOSCOPE ARTIST

 
 
I'm Eleonor Lindvall, I am a rotoscope artist at Double Negative. My job is an entry level job within the industry on the 2D side of VFX. What rotoscope means is pretty much the same as masking. I draw a mask around a certain object so they can be seperated from the rest of the plate, in order to be able to put for example, computer generated elements can behind it.

How did you get into the business?
I went to a computer game design/development high school, back in Sweden, where I was taught basics of computer graphics. It made me realize I actually wanted to work with film, not games. Because of that I decided to study abroad in Vancouver, Canada, where I took Visual Effects for Film and TV at a school called VanArts. After graduation I got a job at Double Negative.

Is there anything you wish you had done before you joined the industry which would have better prepared you for your career in VFX for Film?
Not really, I think that because I was very focused and positive of what I wanted to do since a pretty young age, I made sure that I prepared myself the best possible way.

Is there any advice you would give to someone coming into the business?
Go to a school that will show you the whole spectrum of Visual Effects, and that will prepare you for the industry. I studied an intensive program for a year but I also have friends who went to University for four years and got a job as well, either way I think a good education is the best foundation you can have.

Any other comments you would like to make as potential Careers Advice?
Try to find something that you enjoy doing, and if you're not sure, pick what you like the most!




(Both employee profiles are copied from the Double Negative website, and the following is my own personal opinion)




These are two very different views on the VFX Industry from two different professions within Double Negative. The first from Ludovic Iochem spoke about how he got a degree in Computer Graphics but afterwards he realised he wanted to spend his time practicing photomanipulation and then enter the TV Industry (Commercials) and then into the VFX Industry. He also mentions how he would have loved to learn more about the VFX Industry before getting into it, and additionally he said to be curious and continuously learn the new techniques that are being made.

The second employee profile from Eleonor Lindvall is quite different as she knew what she wanted to be from a young age so took the correct way to get into the Industry (High School and University Course). Education wise, she says to go to a school that will show the whole spectrum of Visual Effects to prepare for the Industry and that a good education is the best foundation.

I greatly disagree with Eleonor Lindvall with the education part as education is one thing, but self taught passionate people are more likely to produce the best work and be hired over other people. I may be more likely to disagree as my University course is games related while I want to be in the Visual Effects Industry and have to self teach a lot of other software.

Job Adverts


Double Negative Runner



  • Job Title: Runner
  • Department: Front of House
  • Location: London
  • Closing Date: N/A
  • Reports To: Facilities Manager
  • Direct Reports: N/A

Key Purpose of the Job

Running is a foot in the door at Double Negative and a chance to carry on training and progressing into other areas of the business. To replace those that have moved up, we are always looking for bright, motivated, enthusiastic Runners who have a passion to work within VFX

Needs To Do

  • Dispatching and collecting items on request both in house and out of house; delivering post, faxes and other items to staff
  • Taking initiative to manage stocks and supplies, arranging orders where necessary; ensuring refreshments, stationary, general office equipment and loos are well stocked
  • Keeping reception, rest areas and offices clean tidy and well presented
  • Reception duties - including dealing with switch board calls, welcoming clients, providing refreshments for meetings and clients, booking meeting rooms, cars and couriers
  • Providing support to producers and managers, assisting producers with document presentation where necessary, including adding images to layout, laminating, binding, scanning, photocopying
  • Dealing with banking and dispatching of post

Needs To Know

  • Must have a knowledge and passion for Visual Effects
  • Excellent customer service skills
  • Knowledge of Microsoft Word, Excel, Internet and Email
  • A professional and friendly phone manner

Needs To Be

  • Friendly
  • Enthusiastic
  • Pro-active
  • Confident in using initiative
  • Helpful
  • Hard working

Measures of Performance

  • Fast delivery
  • Continuous improvement
  • Ability to arrange and organise pro-actively
 



Moving Picture Company New York Runner

Start Date: Immediate
Reporting to the Studio Manager the MPC Runner provides support to MPCNYC staff by assisting in all departments.

Key Deliverables

Be available for jobs to keep Studio running smoothly
Maintain tidy appearance of Studio.
Order and serve tea, coffee, food to clients.
Pick-up and deliver packages at various locations around the city.
Assist in the setup and takedown of company functions and events.
Other duties as assigned by Production.
Back up phone duties in relief for the receptionist.

Leadership & Influence

At all times, maintain a pleasant and professional demeanor to employees, guests and clients.
Ability to work on own and in a team
Ability to take direction
Positive and proactive outlook

Business Acumen/Expertise/Compentencies

Knowledge of MS Outlook, Excel, Adobe Suite useful.
Ability to prioritize and comfortable working with tight deadlines.
High School Diploma
Ability to work with minimal supervision and think on their feet
Proactive and dynamic
1 year of related work experience
Excellent customer service skills
Good oral communication skills
Can do attitude

This is an exciting opportunity to work in the dynamic world of visual effects. If you are interested, please email your CV and showreel to newyork-jobs@moving-picture.com





Framestore New York Compositor

Framestore New York is looking for experienced Nuke Compositors to join our Film Department.

Essential skills & experience:
  • Expert knowledge of Nuke in a Film environment.
  • Proficient in extracting Blue- and Greenscreens and complex multi-layer work
  • Comfortable with 3D compositing and working with multiple render passes
  • Good communication skills and a Pro-active work ethic
  • Strong eye for detail, ideally photography core skills
  • A full understanding of the VFX pipeline and color space principles
  • VFX industry experience of 3 – 5 years
Duties and Responsibilities:
  • Be able to take briefs/direction from Lead Compositors and VFX Supervisors
  • Work on your shot/sequence to a strict deadline
  • Being responsible in your time management
  • Balance the creative and technical aspect of each shot



Digital Domain Mumbai Compositor

Date: November 17, 2011
Department: 2D Department
Reports To: Compositing Supervisor
Summary:
The digital Compositor takes multiple diverse elements, however they were created, and blends them together artistically into a seamless, photorealistic image. Skillfully makes it appear as if the elements were all part of the same scene utilizing various compositing techniques to accomplish the task.
Principal Duties and Responsibilities:
  • Integrate cg elements and matte paintings into live action plates
  • Match color, lighting and exposure of stock elements to rendered or photographed elements
  • Matte extractions from blue/green screen photography
  • Clean and efficient script organization
  • Present work clearly in dailies and walkthroughs and respond to supervisor in a timely fashion
  • Transform and warp elements as needed
  • 2D/3D camera tracking and stabilization
  • Grain and degrain as necessary
  • Plate speed up/slow down manipulation
  • Matte edge processing and integration
  • QC black levels, grain, color, mattes
  • Paint fixes and rotoscoping
Education, Experience and Skills Required:
  • 4 years of node based compositing software experience (Nuke, Shake, Fusion)
  • Experience with Keylight, Primatte or Ultimatte
  • Knowledge of projection mapping
  • Maya knowledge a plus
  • Sound aesthetic with good understanding of color, contrast and lighting design
  • Knowledge of film resolution and aspect ratios
  • Strong problem solving skills
  • Strong interpersonal and communication skills
  • Team player with great attitude
  • Dependable and flexible
  • Takes direction well
  • Exercises close attention to detail
To apply for this position please submit an application at http://careers.digitaldomain.com








Above are two types of jobs I will be looking in to for when I leave University:
  1. Runner
  2. Compositor

The Runner position is the lowest job within the Visual Effects Industry, however, it is a stepping stone to get to the position that I want. A lot of companies employ Runners and then they progress onto Junior positions and then further their careers. The attributes they look for I believe I have apart from a finished showreel, which I hope to have by the end of February so I can start applying for positions and getting my name out there.

The compositor position is much more difficult to apply for when graduating as I don't have any real work experience within the Industry, and that is what they look for within the job description. Additionally, I need 'Expert' knowledge on Nuke, Shake, Fusion, etc and be able to work efficiently in other software that I haven't done in industry standards.

VFX Firms (More Detail)

Double Negative

Credits:
Harry Potter and The Deathly Hallows Part 2
Captain America: The First Avenger
Paul
Iron Man 2
The Dark Knight
Stardust

Where their Offices are:
London
Singapore


Size of the Company:
Started off with just 30 employees in 1998 and in 2012 has over 1,000 employees in London and a further 160 in Singapore.

How many Years have they been there:
14 Years

Evolution of the Company:
The company has grown organically: A constant commitment to pushing boundaries creatively and technically has attracted the very best talents in the world and enabled Double Negative to build strong and successful working relationships with some of the most exciting and respected film makers in the business.

Significant People:
Sophie Jenkins (Recruitment Manager)

Alex Hope (Managing Director)
Matthew Holben (CEO)
Melissa Taylor (VFX Executive Producer)


Jobs:
Jobs
They always have jobs available on the website, however, it doesn't necessarily mean they are available at the present time, just you can hand in a CV and Showreel.


More Information:
Recognised by both the Academy Awards (Inception) and BAFTA (Inception and Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2), Dneg's most recent projects include Dark Knight Rises, Bourne Legacy, Total Recall and Skyfall.

Double Negative is built on the passion and dedication of our team. We are always looking for new additions, and recruit happy talented individuals who are focused on producing world-class visual effects.


Moving Picture Company

Credits:
Prometheus
Wrath of the Titans
John Carter
Dark Shadows
Man of Steel
Total Recall

Where their Offices are:
London
Vancouver
Los Angeles
New York
Bangalore

Size of the Company:
LinkedIn has the company down as 1,001-5,000 employees and there's 1,311 people within the Career section.


How many Years have they been there:
42 Years


Evolution of the Company:

Significant People:

Jobs:
Jobs 

More Information:
Training - We all get to participate in learning and training events at least a couple of times a year at MPC. Training courses and materials for Artists and Production help build our core skills, general VFX industry knowledge and of course allow us to learn our way around MPC's proprietary toolsets.
Knowledge sharing presentations and seminars, high profile guest speakers from our own and related industries and creative skills enrichment courses like sculpting and photography classes give us opportunities to broaden those skills and knowledge.
With a renewed focus on training in 2011 we feel we are building a great learning culture.




Cinesite

Credits:
Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides
X-men First Class
Battle Los Angeles
John Carter
Wrath of the Titans

Where their Offices are:
London


Size of the Company:
LinkedIn states 201-500 people and there are 117 people connected.

How many Years have they been there:
21 Years


Evolution of the Company:
Cinesite was recently bought by a UK Private Investment Firm Endless LLP meaning Cinesite has a chance to expand its award winning team.


Significant People:

Jobs:
Inspire Internships is a six week paid internship that gets you working with the team on Visual Effects.
Job wise, there isn't a lot going at the moment, however, they have 'Speculative Applications' where you can send in an application and they'll contact you when there is a position available they want you for.


More Information:
Cinesite is one of the largest and most creative visual effects companies in the world. Established in 1991 and headquartered in London, their visual effects team has the capacity and creativity to produce all manner of digital effects for feature films and TV shows of all scales. Their award-winning team of highly talented visual effects artists take filmmakers' ideas and turn them into spectacular cinematic reality.

Sunday, 7 October 2012

Start of Typhography


This is just the start of the typography, my inspiration for this animation comes from the Google Chrome advert.


Edit: The video uploaded to Youtube seems to slant. I've re-uploaded but the same thing occurred, I will try a different video site soon (The original video is just fine).

Storyboarding the Typography

This is the first page of the storyboard, its very simple, however, it shows a start to the typography assignment, and the beginning of how I'm going to start it. Additionally, I need to do some more blog posts for what I'm going to do after uni and how I'm going to achieve that.


After Effects Lesson 2


Above is a some simple rotoscoping involving a green screen that was removed and a picture added into the background. Although it's very simple, it gives me a taste of rotoscoping.

The rest of the lesson involved painting and duplicating a picture, rotating it around one place.

After Effects Lesson 1


Although I have used Adobe Flash for a video before, the keyframing and where everything is is very similar so the first lesson was just renewing my skills within Adobe After Effects and getting back up to the skill level I was with Flash.

Above is just a simple learning exercise that was set to replicate a video the lecturer had quickly made.

Saturday, 6 October 2012

The History of VFX

I don't want to repeat loads of facts that are easily gathered using Google for the history of Visual Effects, so below are going to be some links that are very interesting to read if you want to read more.

Additionally, it cuts down on the size of this blog post, as over the past decade, the Visual Effects in all mediums have improved. One example of this is the Harry Potter series where the first film was partially believable while the eighth was truly believable, so I could easily talk about every Visual Effect orientated film and say how it has improved the industry and believability of films far beyond what people of the early 20th Century could have thought.

Below is a link to 'A Short History of Special Effects', however, for a brief read it does go into a lot of detail from the origins to the modern day Visual Effects, and I do recommend having a read of the article just to get to grips with how Visual Effects have progressed.

A Short History of Special Effects

Below is a link to 'Film Milestones in Visual Effects' by Tim Dirks. It's a good year by year account on the ever changing world of Visual Effects, and goes into individual movies and what they did to produce such brilliant Visual Effects throughout the years. Additionally, it contains a lot of other information such as controversial films that were also an interesting read.

Film Milestones in Visual Effects

Below is a video that showcases Visual Effects from 1900 to 2008, giving a very brief showing of how Visual Effects have changed in just over a century.




Thursday, 4 October 2012

Advertising within the VFX Industry

The title of this blog post is very misleading as the VFX Industry is such a unique industry that advertising isn't done on a big scale but rather company to company, however below is an article that I've already included in a previous blog post about the Film Industry and advertising to increase its awareness and possible revenue.




Below is a link to some of the best VFX Adverts in 2011, although it's globally done so you may not recognise any of the adverts, they are quite impressive, and most come with a break down on how they were done.

FXGuide to Best VFX Adverts

My personal favourite:

VFX Average Salaries

Until you're actually in the industry, working out the average salary is very difficult and then again, there are numerous jobs with different salaries, but below is the chart that I included in a previous presentation that has some of the basic average salaries for different areas of Visual Effects.

  (Found at this link)

The above graph shows that throughout the network of the Film and Television Industries there is a big difference in salary, and it is good to note that some big studios such as Pixar pay up to 30% less than the average salary as they believe it's a privilege for people to work there. Luckily, not every company thinks like this.

(Found at this link)

The above graph shows the average American salary for any job listing with VFX Artist in the title or description. This is slightly higher than some of the above salaries, but then again, it includes all jobs with VFX Artist.

Part of working within the Film Industry and the VFX Industry is that you enjoy the job that you do, and that money is just a benefit of doing what you want. I fully understand and would greatly enjoy working as a Runner for a VFX Company such as Double Negative, and I understand the role, but it is a stepping stone into the industry with opportunities to make contacts and learn how the process fully works.

VFX Company Tax Breaks

Tax breaks seem very self explanatory, however, if you're not familiar with them then its not money off the tax that the studio would pay but incentives such as money up front to use companies and locations within certain countries. A lot of companies look towards these tax incentives to reduce the overall cost of the production of the film, additionally, there can be a problem with this. The companies in areas with no tax incentives have to lower their costs to match those that do have the tax incentives, so there is a chance a company could actually lose money.

This article (Link) is an interesting read on tax incentives and notes that a lot of tax incentives are 30% of the budget of the film being produced. Additionally, the author notes that London is now on par with the US with Visual Effects due to the tax incentives set out by the government. There is a downside to this, US states that remove the tax incentive begin to lose interest from the Film Industry almost straight away and if the tax incentive isn't in place for a long enough then VFX companies either have to move to another tax incentive area or close down. London VFX companies are still going strong due to the 25% under £20 million films and 20% over £20 million tax incentives. A surprising end to the article is that the author notes that if all the tax incentives went away, VFX companies would be judged on skill not where they are situated, meaning that everyone would be on a equal playing field and companies would be pitched against each other.

Two CEOs noted in this article (Link) that 75% of the VFX work would be lost if there were no tax incentives within the UK. This is interesting to note as someone that wants to work in the VFX industry that if the government chose to remove the tax incentive then there is a possibility I would never get a job within the UK.

VFX Costs

There are no definite costs of visual effects as each film, TV show and commericals (and many more mediums) are all on different budgets, but majority of the time the costs will be between a fifth to a third of the total budget of the medium. This is due to the costs of including the VFX company from pre-production and well into post-production, and the continuous cost of editing each individual complex shot.

The following blog post is a brilliant article on the cost of VFX entitled 'Why do Visual Effects Cost so Much?'.

Blog

To finish off this blog post, below is a blog post reporting on how to get Visual Effects on a budget, even though it's still quite expensive from a student perspective, however, if it was a small film or TV Show then the costs are quite affordable.

Blog

VFX Companies

This blog post just lists a few of the VFX companies in each of the following regions, although some of the VFX companies have multiple offices, some have up to five different offices.

United Kingdom
Double Negative
Framestore London
Glassworks
The Moving Picture Company
Cinesite
Mercury FX

Europe
Black Mountain Studios
La Maison
Main Frame Facilities
Onirikal Studio
Worldwide FX


Asia
CriticaTV
Hue Visualab
Centro Digital Pictures Ltd
Crest Animation Studios Limited
EFX - Magic in Motion


America
Industrial Light and Magic
Digital Domain
Rhythm & Hues Studios
Zoic Studios
Sony Image Works
Svengali FX
Stargate Studios
Method Studios

Australia
Weta Digital
Rising Sun Pictures
Animal Logic
Act3Animation
XYZ Studios


Canada
Western X
Prime Focus World
GFZ Group
Tinderbox
Five VFX

Monday, 1 October 2012

Film Ratings

It's difficult to talk about the film ratings as each country will have its own rating system as shown below between the UK and the USA rating system.

Below is the UK rating system done by the BBFC.


Below is the USA rating system done by the MPAA.


Both are very similar apart from the 12A and PG-13 which differ by a year.

This chart (Link) shows how many movies are categorised in each section and each section's total gross and average gross. The PG-13 rating in the US is the third most popular rating, however has 45.08% of the total revenue market share with the average of $42 million per film. This shows how films are made to be in this category to get both the kids and parents to come to the cinema thus increasing the total revenue.

Popular Films

In this blog post I will be looking at popular films, and it's good to point out now that the most popular films are different to the top grossing films.

Imdb.com is the most popular film database on the internet, and is kept up to date with the most recent news, trailers, etc involving films and TV (and some music) so it's only right to start here for the most popular films voted by 'regular voters'.

Top 250

It's interesting to note that through the table, there isn't a single film with a rating of 10, the highest being 9.2/10, and that the films date back decades, close to the beginning of the 20th century. This table is the best idea of what cinema-goers believe are the best films ever distributed, whilst it can be biased as film critics are more likely to analyse in depth the films.

Top 100 UK Grossing Films

The UK is not the best place to distribute a film as it's a small country, however, there are some films that exceed expectations such as Avatar which reached £93.5 million, £15 million more than the next best. As said in a previous blog post, the gross revenue from cinema-goers shows the popularity of the film, be it from good advertising campaigns or quality of the film, at the time it is released. Going to the cinema is much more popular than it was 20 years, so if the Shawshank Redemption was released now, it might prove more successful than in 1994.

Wikipedia (Link) has an up to date list of highest-grossing films by year, movie, adjusted inflation and franchise, that can prove useful if the figures are correct and updated continuously.

MovieWeb (Link) goes a step further and lists the Top 1000 grossing films in the U.S. Domestic figures. Again, Avatar is the top grossing film in the UK and the U.S., not surprising to those who have seen it.

Popular Genres

Genre is probably the least important part of a film other than categorising the film, however, it is still good to view the most popular genres. It also may show some correlation between what distributors are more likely to back if they are faced with a choice.

Below is a table of the top grossing genres from 1995-2012 (Link).

  MoviesTotal GrossAverage GrossMarket Share
1 Comedy 1,751 $44,792,158,044 $25,580,901 23.48%
2 Adventure 521 $38,199,674,469 $73,319,913 20.03%
3 Drama 3,132 $33,621,012,632 $10,734,678 17.63%
4 Action 570 $32,066,637,809 $56,257,259 16.81%
5 Thriller/Suspense 561 $15,495,734,985 $27,621,631 8.12%
6 Romantic Comedy 403 $11,286,883,357 $28,007,155 5.92%
7 Horror 329 $9,093,205,812 $27,638,923 4.77%
8 Documentary 1,076 $2,063,950,710 $1,918,170 1.08%
9 Musical 113 $1,865,013,970 $16,504,548 0.98%
10 Black Comedy 85 $781,440,299 $9,193,415 0.41%
11 Western 36 $685,432,870 $19,039,802 0.36%
12 Concert/Performance 41 $293,960,413 $7,169,766 0.15%
13 Multiple Genres 20 $8,280,303 $414,015 0.00%
14 Genre Unknown 5 $1,685,983 $337,197 0.00%

There are a few interesting parts to the table above. First of all, the top grossing film genre is clearly Comedy with the highest market share, however, it is the sixth average gross per film. Adventure being the second most popular genre has under a third of the movies of the Comedy Genre yet averages three times as much. The adventure genre is possibly the most emerging genre with the sixth amount of movies, yet the highest amount of average gross.

Box Office Mojo (Link) offers a more intensive genre index, such as splitting the Action genre into six categories, and displays the number of movies in each category and the number 1 film in that genre, and finally the gross for that number one film. However, a movie as popular as Avatar is featured six times in numerous categories.

An article written by a screen writer (Link) talks about how the 60 top grossing films are majorly action-adventure films with a hint of fantasy, sci-fi or sci-fantasy elements of which 15% are inspired by comic books/superheroes, 27% science fiction and just under 50% were fantasy centred films.

Sunday, 30 September 2012

Film Industry Revenue

Over the next few blog posts I will be going into more detail of the Visual Effects Industry and Film Industry in relation to the blog post titled 'Film Industry Presentation'. This will give me a greater understanding of the industries and a start into what I can put into my Kinetic Typography Video.

To begin the next few blog posts, I will be starting with the Film Industry revenue and how it has increased over the years.


There is a report (Link) that stats that in 2011 the total revenue of the movies and entertainment market was $90.1 billion, of which, box office sales were the biggest percentage taking in 37.3%, or £33.6 billion. Additionally, it looks towards the future that predicts that in 2016, the total revenue will reach $93 billion.


An interesting table of figures (Link)show that the Film Industry revenue has increased, but comparing it to previous years, it is fluctuating up and down between $10-13 billion (This is only ticket sales).

 

Year         Total (M)          2012-Adjusted (M)
2012        $3,859.80          $3,859.80
2011        $10,174.10        $10,161.27
2010        $10,565.50        $10,605.67
2009        $10,595.50        $11,188.85
2008        $9,630.70          $10,623.28
2007        $9,663.70          $11,124.49
2006        $9,209.50          $11,135.76
2005        $8,840.50          $10,923.05
2004        $9,380.50          $11,963.54
2003        $9,239.70          $12,135.73
2002        $9,155.00          $12,479.79
2001        $8,412.50          $11,771.55
2000        $7,661.00          $11,256.98

Although a lot of reports aren't up to 2012, however, it is possible to view the trend that is happening to the Film Industry revenue. This link (Link) shows three graphs of the state of the revenue from both the US domestic and worldwide revenues. Interestingly, it shows a decline of 5% of Box Office, DVD Sales and Rentals within the US, whilst if the International markets are included, the Box Office, DVD Sales and Rentals show a 54% increase over the previous decade. Additionally, throughout the past decade, the complete revenue of the Film Industry is 5%, with 2004 being the height of sales due to DVD becoming very popular well over $100 billion.

To conclude this blog post, there has been an increase in revenue but if this is compared to previous years, then there has been a steady decline in ticket sales. The public is also becoming aware of the 3D prices and not seeing that they're worth it. One thing to point out is that G.I. Joe 2 was pushed back 6 months to be converted to 3D to increase ticket sales (the cost of the ticket being up to $5 more than a normal priced ticket). So something needs to be done within the Film Industry to start increasing the revenue but in a better way.