BBC: Why filmmakers may return to old-school special effects

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  08 August 2013
Funniest thing is when my pals at Weta tell me just how much of the practical stuff gets replaced with CG in post because it doesn't work.

Then they show the practical stuff in the behind the scenes documentaries and everyone believes it's what actually ended up in the movie, and they praise the physicality and realism of this stuff that got erased and replaced by CG.

A lot of people, most of the audience and even some of the guys in this industry, can be blinded and fooled so easily....
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  08 August 2013
circus boy: nope. too clean. I don't know if that is the correct word to describe it. There is no right or wrong, but when there is too much of certain thing, it just too much. It just how the tiny robot walk from the plane to the police car in transformer. just because you can, doesn't mean you should.

Stankluv: as long as its profitable, it stays. but it one of those thing that a single product can shut down a company. make a flop and stop motion could be history, except for special occasion.

Laa-Yosh: yeah, I agree. But sometimes, its the other way around too. I think at cracked there are articles about stuff that people thought was CG but actually real.

I think in the end of the day a good combination of both.

@circus boy, I think I need to add something. I think it more like "reality uncanny valley" instead of "human uncanny valley". An average normal person might not be too technical to say when a digital human doesn't look like a human, but when it happens, people can say it.

So when I looked at Coraline, both the awesomeness, and the imperfection, and the limitation of 3d printing, and human limitation in knitting tiny clothes (and material used), it shows. And these make it awesome. I think it also related to how people use to build face model using 'mirror' option, until people ask enough questions to finally realized (and if i remember correctly, actually take a good research) that most human face are not a mirror from the left and right.

My 2 cent.
 
  08 August 2013
Originally Posted by fablefox: Laa-Yosh: yeah, I agree. But sometimes, its the other way around too. I think at cracked there are articles about stuff that people thought was CG but actually real.

Yeah, and I've seen at least a couple of those being counter-laughed at (ahah, you thought it was cg but it's real!) that were ACTUALLY CG, just publicized as practical.

What it boils down to is that these days it's mostly a mis-placed romantic notion in someone's mind that there is any difference whatsoever worth contemplating other than bang for buck and end result in which one you go for (due exception for the uncanny valley moments), and often times "bad CG" is over polished, badly directed stuff that at one point was stunningly photoreal, but was later pushed in directions real photography and real people simply couldn't go.

There was an interesting thread in a private forum some time ago about the blooper on youtube with Thor catching his hammer and Captn America his shield where people debated which was which and what was CG.
Misled by the fact it was a blooper, and normally money isn't spent on bloopers, many concluded it clearly looked practical and was a great stunt, and proceeded to offer proof of it.

It turned out, against all expectations, people (at Weta) thought it was worth spending money on a blooper and it was... well, CG
When it was pointed out it was CG, many then moved on to pointing out the subtle lack of interaction between things such as hair and the CG prop, of course (as if a sped up stunt on a cable would have displace enough air to move gelled up hair in first place).

I've been nearly ripped a new one over a decade ago by a director who pointed out some of our crowd work on some rooftops was unacceptable. He, I kid you not, routinely proceeded to circle -every-single-one- of the rooftops with crowd extras on top (who ravaged by the heat of a middle eastern desert weren't moving much and were all clumped up near the shade), and didn't point out ONE of the fiften rooftops with CG crowds on top.

The mind is a powerful thing.
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  08 August 2013
inversely, one of the coolest real or fake stories I have heard is in Spiderman 2002. In the cafeteria when Kirsten Dunst throws her tray up in the air and Toby Maguire catches it, supposedly the catching shot was a first take and the direction was to try it and see what happens with the understanding that it was going to wind up being cg. Maybe he at least gets the tray.

Action, drop a bunch of stuff...

and he supposedly landed it first try, they liked everything else and with the expectation that he wouldn't hit it again, the shot was wrapped.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bFhUOi0srtE

and it seems the story has some wheels

http://www.wired.com/wiredscience/2...lly-spider-man/

watching it repeatedly...if it was real, Toby's reaction is believable and perfect for how the character would react as well.

My analysis is that he did get very lucky with the order of the item's descent and their placement relative to the center of the tray, each impact seems to counterbalance the last around his hand-pivot under the tray.
 
  08 August 2013
It is a real stunt, and it was planned to be one all along, but it took some fifty something tries. This from someone who had hands on the movie but not on first unit set for that shot, so something heard, not seen, but heard from another sound stage rather than a website.
No wires either.
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  08 August 2013
Originally Posted by ThE_JacO: It is a real stunt, and it was planned to be one all along, but it took some fifty something tries.


Don't know if I'd like to eat in that cafeteria, the food seems very 'sticky' for some reason
Still a cool trick all the same.

Cheers,
Brian
 
  08 August 2013
Originally Posted by Stankluv: And as we all know, the movie industry is insanely competitive, at every level and in every way; and if they are doing twice the work and this Lego movie is a hit...it won't affect Laika negatively until the eventual "soft" performing Laika film's performance is underscored by a pricy production approach which is indistinguishable (I want to say "indistinguishable to the masses, but not us CG-savvy folks", but that is BS barring some horrible CBB shots sneaking through) from that other claymation Lego movie, that I predict is going to print money.

I don't know if they independently finance their films or what, but it really doesn't matter because sooner or later I imagine they will have to reach out to some kind of bean-counter for financing and I have to wonder if the Lego movie's imminent success could really push the stop motion production approach for theatrical releases out.

extra expensive steps for stop motion vs. tweaking (turn off motion blur=$$$, add some pops to curve editor=free) the normal dominant technique of animation on the planet; both delivering an equivalent, indistinguishable product is not going to be a hard choice for a lot of people.

I introduced the Lego movie as a trick question - as it is CG mimicking stop motion. Aardman/Dreamwork's Flushed Away is another example (had Aarman stop-motion animator's working on it-I saw a presentation way back when. They tried extremely hard to have the same 'stop-motion' feel
to the anim's).
 
  08 August 2013
Originally Posted by circusboy: I introduced the Lego movie as a trick question - as it is CG mimicking stop motion. Aardman/Dreamwork's Flushed Away is another example (had Aarman stop-motion animator's working on it-I saw a presentation way back when. They tried extremely hard to have the same 'stop-motion' feel
to the anim's).


ah, yes, Flushed Away. Almost forgot that one. Being a Malaysian, I was introduced to Aardman via Were Rabbit. Sadly, I only watch little cartoon back in my childhood. But almost forgot most of it to comment.

But if I have to add my finger on it, I think the answer would be 'too hectic'. But then again, its a problem that a lot of animation for kids have these days (more character = more toys = more money).

I like it when Coraline have a focus, the story lingers in a small knit, and only use scenes with a lot of character (I read about that hundreds of dog scene) when its important to do so.

I guess this is where lack of / overcompensation comes in.

Come to think of it, its the same complain that indie / blockbuster have in common. Blockbuster, since they have all the money, add all the action, explosion, cg and whatnot, while indie, realize their limitation, focus on the story (like that chrono thief(?) that being remade with Tom Cruise (?))

Avatar might be 'grand', but Coraline was beautiful. My opinion.


edit:

I might have to add, that 'more characters', afaik, came from 5 in a team Japanese super hero. Previously it was always singular hero (space cop gaban, masked rider, ultraman, etc) but then it started the 5 in a team craze (3 man 2 woman, always.)

Last edited by fablefox : 08 August 2013 at 02:56 PM.
 
  08 August 2013
well...50(10-20 even) takes in 2002 for a very doable shot sounds less realistic than my story....leave me my fantasies please.
 
  08 August 2013
Originally Posted by Stankluv: well...50(10-20 even) takes in 2002 for a very doable shot sounds less realistic than my story....leave me my fantasies please.

If it restores any of the awesomeness for you, I'm also told the props were relatively "real" (not built ad hoc with the bottom heavily weighted and wider like you'd normally do), and they weren't "sticky".

Again, heard from someone who heard, but I have no reason to doubt it.
Surely mention of this would be in the specials though? I mean it's the kind of crap they normally would put in there
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  08 August 2013
I think that is where I heard it on the dvd....hmmmm.....task at hand....
 
  08 August 2013
Recently watched Gremlins on TV. Now when this movie came out in the 1980's, it was a huge hit. Everyone just ate up the puppetry of Chris Walas. Watch it today and I must say it just looks so stiff, mechanical and hard to sit through. My 15 year daughter thought that they used toy Furbee's and it only held her interest for about 30 seconds (she immediately went back to her iPad).

Today, people demand nuance and subtlety of acting in their fantasy creatures. Can you get that nuance from a puppet? Most definitely not. CG is the only way to go for creating believable fantasy characters that don't fit the human mold (that is, can't be played by someone in a mask).

Dave
 
  08 August 2013
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