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Old 12-16-2006, 07:14 PM   #16
brubin
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hi bradley,
what can you tell us about the tv-show in germany that is mentioned above in the introductory; is it any good?

cheers
s.
 
Old 12-16-2006, 08:41 PM   #17
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Hi Brad
Wa alykom al salam wa rahmat allah wa brakatoh (Peace be upon you, God's mercy and blessings)
well... I'm Christian but it's considerably rude not answer you in the same way (from the Egyptians culture point of view)

First of all thank allot for your reply, it really made my mind up about the school I was planning to join.


Since you've noticed where I live, I'd say Cairo is an amazing City for a CG artist to visit, But it's definitely not the place for a CG artist to work.
There are too few companies in Cairo in the field of CG and even fewer doing high quality work. Not to mention there's only one school teaching courses in CG (and I won't call it a trusted course)
I'd say it sounds much like the early nineties in Australia (where you started)...
It's difficult to get production experience.
I've noticed that you traveled allot and worked in Malaysia, Germany and USA...
and I was just wondering how difficult it is to get a job in another country.
Especially the first time you traveled for work...
where you invited by a company to travel for work? What about work permits? How in general does one apply for a job in another country, and not get left out for the sole reason of living in "Far Far Away"??

PS: I know my question is a bit off, if you consider it irrelevant just let me know
and BTW great work for these friends of yours, Im wondering how they landed a job in the CG industry.
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Old 12-16-2006, 11:59 PM   #18
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I haven't seen the movie yet, but certainly will ! For what I have already seen from small spots on TV, it must be worth watching.

OK, we have to see the penguins and Arthur AND your movie - what a tight schedule ! But we'll make it !
 
Old 12-17-2006, 07:16 PM   #19
bblackbourn
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Brad Blackbourn
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Hi again everyone,

keep up these interesting questions!

SIOUXFIRE:
No problems, keep it coming! BTW I'm a huge Delli Colli fan, his work was amazing.

I draw the distinction between challenging pieces of cinematography & difficult cinematography. The former is usually when the intent of the sequence or shot is clear & there are creative challenges in how to shoot it best whereas the latter is usually when the intent is unclear (this is virtually always a sign that there's unresolved story issues to be dealt with) and you can go in circles trying to create motivated shooting.

Personally I find subtle, emotional sequences the most challenging. It's easy to overdo things & distract from the interplay of the acting, but also easy to do nothing & leave it feeling flat. Especially when there's a sub-text to the scene - maybe the characters are thinking/feeling things that are unsaid, but that the audience needs to be aware of, or maybe, even, the characters are thinking/feeling something different to what they're verbalising.
For me, I like to kind of map the emotional arc of a sequence like this & find out the pivotal shot or moment where a character or a relationship turns in a new direction. Then I can visually ramp into & out of that moment. I like to look at the complete story of film like that - as a journey with a known starting point & a known destination. If you then identify the key landmarks & turning points (emotional or whatever) of your characters along the way, you end up with a detailed route plan of their journey. (Not unlike an online mapping/trip-planning function really!)
You can then look at your map & the key turning points on it & work out how you are going to use your visual story telling tools (angles, lenses, depth of field, framing, movement, light, shadow etc) to support the various stages & changes of direction during the journey.
BTW You can always deviate from the route plan & reconnect with it later!

Here's just a few recent films that I think had very clear & excellent cinematography that's easy to appreciate: Memoirs of a Giesha, Girl with a Pearl Earring, Three Colours:Red, Amelie, American Beauty, Gangs of New York...

It's hard to say what "mistakes" are - to me it's more like being distracted from the story or confused about the intent. Maybe I just don't understand what is trying to be done. But usually, that's the sign that something is not working well - when an audience member suddenly goes "huh?!", when you don't intend them to. Most times for me it's when too much is being done in a scene that doesn't seem to warrant it. Suddenly I notice the camera moving without any clear reason. Like salt it's better to use less rather than more, unless you're really clear about what you want to acheive. I suggest erring on the side of caution unless it's a hectic, intense action scene. I love Michael Bay's & J.J. Abrams' action scenes - they're intense!



BRUBIN:
The CG series was "The Adventures of Stevie Stardust". I was directing on that back in 1999/2000 I think. It was a pretty cool show with a young kid, Stevie, with a video camera, who was a huge movie fan. So much so that when problems or challenges occurred in the life of he or his friends he'd imagine all of them in some movie & we'd transition from their real lives into a his movie fantasy with them playing the role of Indiana Jones, James Bond, a Bogart-style detective, or galactic pirates & then as they resolve the issue we'd transiton back out into the real-life solution with them on their skateboards wearing a plastic tub on their heads or whatever. I had a lot of fun & the CG was pretty advanced compared to what else was on kids TV at the time.



MINAREGAIE:
I know what you're saying, it's tough when you feel isolated from what's going on in the industry. At least the internet helps these days - it was impossible to know what was going on in the old days, unless you were already employed on the inside.

It is tough getting a job overseas, not only in convincing a studio that they should bring you half way around the world (this is where the killer reel/short film helps), but (as you mention) also in the red tape of work permits/visas as well. The red tape is not usually a problem if a major studio wants you, but can be a major hurdle if a small place wants to hire you - they may not have the resources or knowledge to go through the necessary submissions, legal issues & wait times. Usually it helps to try to find outside work in your region and build from there (eg have you tried Rubicon in Amman, Jordan - I think they are doing a CG series or something like that?). In former times the easiest way was to work at one of the satellite branches of a big US studio eg Disney, Hanna Barbera, Amblimation etc. Then you could get transferred around to their other studios, but I don't think those kind of places exist much any more (I could be wrong!).
Another way to get some internationl experience is being very good & fast at TV commercial work. It usually easier to pick up 1-2 month contract jobs doing this type of work in nearby countries. It's usually easier with work visas & you don't have to pack up your life - you just live in a hotel for 6-8 weeks or whatever.

Good luck with your endeavours!


THEPHOTOGRAPHER:
There is certainly a feast of CG features around - enjoy them all!

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Ciao for now....
 
Old 12-17-2006, 08:42 PM   #20
siouxfire
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Thank you once again, Brad. I am very grateful for you replies once more. This is brilliant of you. Pleased to hear you're a Delli Colli fan as well. BTW - Last night I watched a brilliant film with some great cinematography called "The Proposition", highly recommend it as well as Wong Kar Wai's "In the Mood For Love" in which the cinematography plays a big part. You've probably seen these, but I thought I'd mention them if only to get a response.

Once again, leading on from your last response, you've touched on an area that can be difficult and that's action sequences. "Flushed Away" hasn't opened where I am, but it looks like there are some pretty frenetic sequences from what I've seen in the trailer and you've mentioned a boat sequence. How do you approach action scenes differently? And which cinematographic tools do you use to enhance the action?

There are some techniques in traditional cinematography like the dolly zoom in Vertigo/Jaws and other techniques that are created within the camera; are there any techniques which you've either considered or used that are exclusive to a CG environment?

How did you move into your current specialisation of cinematography?
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Last edited by siouxfire : 12-18-2006 at 10:58 PM.
 
Old 12-17-2006, 09:41 PM   #21
brubin
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bblackbourn
Hi again everyone,

keep up these interesting questions!


BRUBIN:
The CG series was "The Adventures of Stevie Stardust". I was directing on that back in 1999/2000 I think. I had a lot of fun & the CG was pretty advanced compared to what else was on kids TV at the time.


well, it's xmas time, mr. cross!
here are some ghosts of christmas past!
ring a bell?
 
Old 12-18-2006, 04:58 AM   #22
soriah
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Hi Brad,

I'm a 2D digital artist in adelaide australia I am teaching myself at presesnt to be a better digital artist as there are no courses in South Australia of where i can learn from... how can i put it.... i am having to learn how to swim in the deep end so to speak.

Being a self taught artist yourself and going back to your begining days I was wondering what helped you keep motivated in doing something where there was no courses available?

Are there any tips or hints or wise words of advice you can giver other artists who are having to teach themselves their art? eg how you kept motivated and keeping your passion alive?

Did you have struggling times where you wanted to give up?

And finally when did you start having enough confidence in knowing that you were good at what you do?

thanks
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Old 12-18-2006, 07:12 AM   #23
Omar.M
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Hey Mr.Brad! I've been wondering what was your first job for a 3D company or a commertial, maybe something else big? I would love to know how you started and what was your best way of learning 3D? and the hardest part '' Animation ''

Thanks alot
 
Old 12-18-2006, 10:48 AM   #24
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Edu Martin Julve
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Hi Brad, and thanks a lot for answering all those questions!
Last year I finished a short film that took me two years to complete. Recently I posted it on the CGtalk forums so Im wondering I youd mind to review it and break it down in good and bad things about the film and why. I think lot of people have seen it, so your comments would help me as well as to everybody out there currently working on their own short films.
Here is the link
http://forums.cgsociety.org/showthread.php?t=438318

Thank you very much in advance

Edu
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Old 12-18-2006, 12:07 PM   #25
xervia
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hello brad,
thanks for the reply. I guess i would just keep on developing myself personally, and also looking out for the opportunities for schooling as they arrive.
I would like to ask a question concerning the business of CG. i actually am interested in producing tv commercials, and not necessarily film making. However, i have noticed that in my country (nigeria), the tv commercials are usually given to the advertising agencies, who usually have all the big clients. Our cg industry is also just evolving, so most tv commercials are not cg based.when cg is needed it is usually outsourced to foreign firms.
I was wondering if you could help me differentiate between an advertising agency, and a cg studio that produces tv commercials,print and web designs, and could also be into visual effects, short films and the like.
i hope this makes some sense? :-)
 
Old 12-18-2006, 03:27 PM   #26
tokaru
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hello.

what do you think is the right path to become a producer?

also what do you think about piracy ? here in mexico city the movie flushed away was sell in the black market before the opening night in the movie theaters.

do you think this cost real money to the cinematografic industry?

have you ever think to work in video games?

wich one is your favorite movie director?

when i was in canada the food was a very paintful experience and i just lost a lot of weight. do you think food is a good source of inspiriation to your work?

by the way what is your favorite food?
 
Old 12-18-2006, 06:30 PM   #27
sherorauf
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Hi Brad

Thank you very much for the answers and hope you have time for my question too ,I saw Flushed away and it was realy nice movie ...



1- I was thinking how much time it need to make a all Cg movie [ 3D Animation ], can you tell us how much time it take to finish Flashed away ?

2- How many artist where involved for the movie ....? Specially Modellers and Animators?

3- What was the most difficult shot that you worked in ?


...........................

I am Shero I am from Iraq ...but I live in Bulgaria and I was a Visual Effects Lead Artist for the movie [ Gene Generation ] , It was a pleasure to ask you these question and have a nice time ...

www.sherow.net
 
Old 12-18-2006, 07:21 PM   #28
Grgeon
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George Castro
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Thanks for the reply Brad. I'll check out those dvd's.

Here's a few more when you get a chance:

1. Previz and Layout. Do they go hand in hand you think? or do you feel the skillsets are pretty different?

2. What is your favorite movie/s (cinematic wise)

3. What's your favorite movie (story wise)

4. I'm also curious who your favorite directors are.

5. Is your studio similar to the previz houses out there like PLF, Persistance of Vision, Halon Entertainment, Third Floor, Proof ? Or is your focus more on the layout side of things? Is your studio just you? or you have an elite team kinda thing?

6. Did you see the Monster House dvd? they should this analogue type contraption in the making of section that was hooked up to the computer and it manipulated the cg camera within motionbuilder. Ever used anything like that? and do you see digital camera work going that route( it seemed like a mechanism that is used for live action camera movements) Or how about motion capturing the camera?

7. You ever storyboard your own stuff? or do jump straight into previz/layout?

Thanks man. I really enjoy this aspect of the cg process. So as much info as you can put out the better

God Bless,
George
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Last edited by Grgeon : 12-18-2006 at 07:35 PM.
 
Old 12-19-2006, 06:47 AM   #29
bblackbourn
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Hi all!

SIOUXFIRE:
I think "The Proposition" is that Australian film written by Nick Cave (from the band - Nick Cave & the bad seeds), right? I haven't seen it yet but have been looking forward to it. I love Wong Kar Wai's work too - wonderful!

Regarding action sequences, they tend to come to us more loose than dramatic or dialogue based ones. We tend to rough the whole sequence in to make sure the overall action/jeopardy beats are covered then go in & make sure we can get the key character moments that drive the story arcs. Depending on how frenetic you want the action there's a lot more short cuts & moving cameras to keep it dynamic. You tend to end up with coverage too (ie the same moment recorded through more than one camera) - which gives editorial better options to explore. One thing that allows you to quite a bit of flexibility in cutting is that with action you can tend to cut together any combination of shots that have cameras orbiting the main point of visual focus (the speed boat, the fleeing character etc). The Hong Kong directors are king of this type of action sequence - see it taken to extremes in "Final Fantasy VII" - love it.

Most times, on the projects I've worked on, I tend to avoid techniques that are exclusive to CG, mainly because we are working in an artificial environment & the audience is familiar with live-action cinematic limitations. That's why camera moves that we do with cameras constrained into "crane rigs" feel so much more "cinematic" that when we just translate & rotate the camera around it's nodal point. Like the way George Lucas insisted on a traditional orchestral (rather than synthesised) score for the original Star Wars - he wanted to ground it in some familiar or traditional approaches. Also I guess it's partly to do with people having been put off by a lot of "CG", "floaty", "unreal" or just plain unmotivated CG cameras flying around in the past.

I shifted into the cinematography/layout/previs role, because (as I mentioned earlier) when I'm directing a show, it's the place where I "make" my film. If I'm not directing, then heading the layout/previs/cinematography process is my favourite place to be. Supervising animation is fun & very rewarding, but I like being that bit closer to molding the visual storytelling while things are still pliable. Also, in the time it takes to animate 2 shots, you can rough in a whole sequence in layout. I find it keeps you really fresh and focused on the big picture. When you animate your vision narrows down to the frame level, when you layout your vision expands to 50-100 shots (maybe 2-3 mins of screen time). It's actually kinda nice to alternate from micro to macro.


BRUBIN:
Wow, that brings back memories! I haven't seen anything from that series in years.
I was lucky to work with some really talented folk on that show. A lot of them have gone on to work on films like LOTR, Kong, Shrek 2, Madagascar, Over the Hedge, The Wild, Open Season, Monster House, Surf's Up, the Harry Potters etc. Fun times, great people!


SORIAH:
Hmmm it's a tough spot to be in. It's great if there's someone else around who can encourage you - but these days I'd really encourage people who are learning outside a group environment to get involved in the various online forums, competitions & challenges - to commit to completing the task set. The point is not necessarily being good at them, the point is being part of them. I find you progress so much more quickly, while enjoying the progress more when you have feedback from others & get to share tip & tricks. Plus you don't feel like such a nerd sitting in front of your computer at 2am on a Sunday morning while your friends are out partying all night!

I never reached a point when I felt like giving up - there were plenty when I was very frustrated though. These are the times when I think you need to get committed to a project (your own or someone else's) and that gives you a specific goal that gradually inches closer - and satisfaction when you finish it...

I never saw myself specificcally as "being good" at CG, as I'd learned everything in isolation (before the web days of seeing what everyone else is doing), but once I started doing a few paid jobs I was surprised to find there were others that were "less good" than I was at producing work that made the clients happy. That boosted my confidence quite a bit & made me realise, it's doesn't matter how "good" you are if the clients aren't happy. That goes from the company execs selling toilet paper in a TV commercial ("Can we make the pack-shot longer?"), all the way to the head of a hollywood studio.



OMAR.M:
After the CG butterfly mentioned in the intro, I think the next TV job was a full CG commercial for a computer show or the opening for the show "Australia's Funniest Home Videos". That was at Momentum Animations in Melbourne - I think we did the commercial in 3D Studio v4 & the opening in a beta of 3D Studio Max 1.0. On our own time, we were also doing pilot for a CG series in Martin Hash's Animation Master. That had character animation tools at the time that even Softimage, Power Animator & Max didn't have for years after - it was mad fun!
For me the hardest part of doing character animation was before I truly understood that you need to get inside the character, become the character & know what they're thinking & feeling before you animate. Otherwise you end up just moving body parts, that don't have a consistent motivation to them. It's an empty performance with no personality driving it.

__________________________________________________ _

Great questions as always..see you tommorrow!

Brad
 
Old 12-19-2006, 07:28 AM   #30
siouxfire
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Thank you again, Brad for your considerate and thorough answers. By asking so many questions, I kind of feel like the guy at the wedding who eats all the snacks and cakes. Still, it's great to be able to dicuss something that's interested me for a long time. Brilliant.

Quote:
Originally Posted by bblackbourn
SIOUXFIRE:
I think "The Proposition" is that Australian film written by Nick Cave (from the band - Nick Cave & the bad seeds), right? I haven't seen it yet but have been looking forward to it. I love Wong Kar Wai's work too - wonderful!

That's right. "The Proposition" is the Nick Cave-written film. There are a couple nods to Delli Colli in there. (I thought it was pretty unlikely that you hadn't seen Wong Kar Wai's work - he really knows how to use colour)

Quote:
Originally Posted by bblackbourn
Most times, on the projects I've worked on, I tend to avoid techniques that are exclusive to CG, mainly because we are working in an artificial environment & the audience is familiar with live-action cinematic limitations. That's why camera moves that we do with cameras constrained into "crane rigs" feel so much more "cinematic" that when we just translate & rotate the camera around it's nodal point. Like the way George Lucas insisted on a traditional orchestral (rather than synthesised) score for the original Star Wars - he wanted to ground it in some familiar or traditional approaches. Also I guess it's partly to do with people having been put off by a lot of "CG", "floaty", "unreal" or just plain unmotivated CG cameras flying around in the past.

I see what you mean. In my own project, I was considering making use of saturation/desaturation to subtly emphasize elements along with light and shadow. Do you think that would work without being overly distracting?

You mentioned earlier, the difficulties in pinning down the subtleties of an emotional scene. Can you give some examples of problems and possibilities when working on these scenes?

Which scene are you most proud of from a cinematographer's standpoint and why?
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