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Old 04-17-2013, 03:59 AM   #46
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This article was interesting. though im somewhat disappointed it turned into a little bit of a "blame game" of the US/UK vs developing countries. The issue is that these there is no sustainability built into the business model of the VFX industry. Most companies are living project to project and even though this is a real issue in the service industry I think there needs to be some way to get some fairness and profitability back into the industry so that artists can focus on creating amazing art instead of how they are going to pay their bills and feed their family after the next job is done. I think Peter Jackson is in a unique position to comment on this as he cofounded weta and directs so he knows that even though the studios need the VFX guys to make amazing graphics and sell some movies there isnt any vested interest in one VFX company over the other so instead of saying "hey guys were going to work with you guys on the next film" and the VFX company having a relationship with the film studio to make great film the relationship is more like a prostitute. If something happens to one VFX house the studio feels like they are expendable and can find another house capable of doing the work. Even if it isnt really that way they can use that to push the price down.

This is the issue with the service industry in general. How do you find a methodology of billing that will allow the offices to stay open in the inbetween time from projects reduce the exploitation thats going on that seems to be killing a lot of amazing offices?

Not sure the answer to this but I think this is the real question of the article.
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Old 04-17-2013, 09:38 AM   #47
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So... why dont VFX companies slowly cut out the middle man and basically make movies themselves - hence they will become a "producer" rather than a "service" industry? - This way they would own the movie and also have a say in larger profits from the sales that the movie produces.
 
Old 04-17-2013, 11:23 AM   #48
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Good Work

Hi Pete,
some really cool work on Eega.Kudos to you and your team.As far as the remaining points are concerned, it could not have been put across better.
Cheers.
Rahul.

Quote:
Originally Posted by PeteDraper
Sorry, but I really have to chime in here.

Firstly, a VFX house is NEVER going to get a gratis share of profits of a feature.

NEVER.

A studio is primarily a service, just like the camera operator, gaffer, sparks, set designer, art director (etc) on a film set. Do they get a cut of the film's profits? No. Why? Because they too are service and, quite simply, are not putting the money up to finance the film so therefore are not taking the risk a producer would.

For a VFX facility to gain any income outside of the amounts derived from their contracts with production with respect to facility work, they are going to have to invest in the feature itself, which means either injecting money into the production or taking a cut on the "standard" fees to re-inject that money back into the production. Provided the producer agrees on this co-production.

Oh and while I'm at it,

Ever been to India? Witnessed the dirt first-hand? No? Then, sorry, but shut up.

We'd all love to be driving Mercs, but I need to speak to the investors about that and possibly re-negotiate the next production contract...

Or tell your government to lower the prices of everything, and lower your salaries relatively so therefore everyone's on the same level playing field.

I've lived in India for over four years and I've even had major surgery here. Yes it's not as squeaky clean as the US or the UK (where I'm from - hell we even get free healthcare in England), yes there is pollution, yes there is disease - we have big frickin' mosquitos during the monsoon for god's sake. But it has its merits. The hospital in which I had my operation was as clean as a whistle, was very professionally done and no complications, infections etc. One tends to paint a picture of something when one has no direct experience of it.

Yes standard of living is less than the west for the majority of people. Salaries are less, but on the flipside everything costs less. Just over $1 for 1L of fuel (or about 75p for those in the UK), I can buy 4 bags of fresh groceries for about $4, antibiotics (should you need them) cost 20c for 15 pills. Shit, my operation only cost $800 (minus the health insurance I have with the company, so I only paid $150) and I was sliced and diced by a guy who practiced in the UK for 10 years.

Oh and my experience of VFX houses over here? Some are good, some are average, some are very good.

So why am I in India? I mean I could get a nice cushy job in London or LA for a shitload of extra money a year couldn't I? Hell, I've turned down offers of the same...

I do it because I enjoy it and I love working with the guys and gals here. There are some hurdles, yes, but once you get to know the nuances it's fine. Our primary mission statement, if you like, was (and still is) to raise the game of Indian VFX, primarily for the local market. Over here we have the same issues that studios in the US are having - lots of studios bidding for the same gig and going to different states within the country to reduce costs (a studio down south would be cheaper than one in Mumbai for example). So to get the work, one has to shine. I'm a firm believer that people are not stupid - there's only so far "cheap" can get you - one needs to pay for a good quality and that is something we as a studio strive for.

So, again, please if you don't know the situation, ask. Or at least research.

And no, we don't have the artists sat in mud huts working on 486 systems...

FYI on Sunday we celebrate our 3rd year running. We won the National Award for Visual Effects last month for the Telugu feature "Eega" (housefly), of which we did over 2000 shots, most of which in 8 months. It was tough, but we did it.

We do it because we love it. Just like a true artist anywhere else.

We're Makuta - we're in Hyderabad, India, we're 50 strong, we're growing, we're hiring.

And this is what we do

Reel - https://vimeo.com/49944024
Capacitor (Short) - https://vimeo.com/63086586
Decibel (Short) - https://vimeo.com/63131447

Thanks

Pete (co-founder)
 
Old 04-17-2013, 02:29 PM   #49
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Krisonrik
No offense, you sounds like an really old guy who look down on young people because things are not what they used to be. Who the hell would pay the ticket to watch a 30s quality black & white movie in theaters now? Get a grip. Things are made to fit its era, B&W used to be the standards, that's why they were accepted, don't move back in time, nothing in history has ever truely successfully moved backward and succeeded.


Has anyone seen "The Artist" - The Best Film and other 4 Oscar winning movie at the 2012 Academy Awards? It's B&W and also with no dialogues! So, yes, you can actually make box office B&W silent movies today. Although "The Artist" is a B&W silent movie, its full o FX. It has Post Production as all movies today. Color Correction even without color...

The question is not about what kind of movie should be done but how they are done right now. I have a very interesting book called "The Invisible Art" about Matte Painting and we can see that all the great movies, from all movie eras has at least this kind of FX - Matte Painting done in an era where you needed to paint directly onto glass plates in front of the live action cameras.

I remember Phil Tippet's story about the first time he saw the dinosaur animations for Jurassic Park. Suddenly the greatest stop motion animator of his era though his craft was finished. At the end he became the animation supervisor. They've animated the dinosaurs using puppets with electronic joints as input devices for the actual 3D models...

So what i'm trying to say is that people here at CGSociety work mostly on digital medias that are constantly moving forward. At the end I believe all of you great artists will suceed, just like Phil Tippet. Problably you'll have to move to Asia also But the "factory floor" guys, the ones with only technical skills but not real talented. They are already been crushed.

And just a final observation: 20 years from now, the entire World economy will shift towards Asia. China will be the richest country in the world. Besides cultural and language barriers, as Niall Fergusson alerted in his new documentary/book "China: Triumph and Turmoil", they tend to work much more hours for less money. So all Western people, from all kinds of industries should be prepared to work more for less ins the future...
 
Old 04-17-2013, 10:03 PM   #50
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I'd assume it would be very difficult for them to produce movies due to the cost and complexity of distribution unless you have the backing of a studio, which, defeats that purpose. As distribution skips the theaters and real money is made in the home through digital delivery, this might become a possibility to make a 50 million dollar movie and make money skipping the standard avenues. Right now, that wouldn't work for a large budget film.
 
Old 04-19-2013, 03:14 AM   #51
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Quote:
Originally Posted by pipdixel
No hope for people. Anyway, they can SAY all that they want about going back to making movies without all the CG, but they don't really want it. Graphics are used everywhere, even in the films none of those people would even realize it.

The highest grossing movies of all time, all of them, are graphics driven.


Graphics? Seriously. Not "DEEP THROAT!" or "The Blair Witch Project."
 
Old 04-19-2013, 03:19 AM   #52
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Quote:
Originally Posted by OlavoEkman
Has anyone seen "The Artist" - The Best Film and other 4 Oscar

And just a final observation: 20 years from now, the entire World economy will shift towards Asia. China will be the richest country in the world. Besides cultural and language barriers, as Niall Fergusson alerted in his new documentary/book "China: Triumph and Turmoil", they tend to work much more hours for less money. So all Western people, from all kinds of industries should be prepared to work more for less ins the future...


Not so. It will follow the SAME trajectory of supply and demand. The more productive people become the less need for excess work. Automation and innovation will be the key drivers. Currently some countries prefer to be underdeveloped to keep their dollar down and the majority of the electorate employed by being inefficient. For instance. The power grid in many African, South American and Asian cities is deliberately NOT developed so companies can continue to manufacture and sell gas powered generators. Crony capitalism at play there.

The future is about LESS work, not MORE work. If it was about MORE work, then instead of bulldozers, people would be digging ditches with spoons.
 
Old 04-19-2013, 10:57 AM   #53
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The world changes... consumers change, markets change, businesses have to change.

That is just business. Big inefficient businesses that can't adapt or innovate fall behind, the good ones stay around and get better.

If some businesses can't see, for whatever reason, which way the new winds are blowing, then that is their problem.
Being lucky in the past and assuming that means you are always right when the market changes does seem to be a big weakness of many businesses trying to move forward as the world changes.


I suppose the only real worry at the back of my mind is if the studios just use this as an advantage to push their profit margin at the expense of VFX businesses...?

If there is an artificial squeeze on value of VFX work then in my view that is up to the VFX businesses to work out between themselves.


Globalisation impacts every business...



Just seems like someone with a large interest in a specific industry doesn't like the way the world is changing and making them have to now work hard and be competitive on price to retain a strong position.

It's not new and it'll happen time and again...



The only solution is to innovate and be creative I suppose.

Imo, filming in high fps at higher resolution in stereo didn't make The Hobbit any better for me at the Cinema than watching it in 576i on my TV on Sky hehe...

Innovating the wrong way? Adding about 10x more data processing (higher res, stereo, higher fps) to every VFX frame to achieve basically the same end-goal for me, a consumer, instantly doesn't seem like good business sense to me.

Dave

Last edited by Mr Whippy : 04-19-2013 at 11:02 AM.
 
Old 04-19-2013, 12:05 PM   #54
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No one here has the right to comment on if or not a director is "good", "bad", or "average" unless that person has been on set with said director; able to witness the performance of an actor before, and after direction has been given.

The end product is not direction, it's destination. You don't like that director's destinations. Cool story.
 
Old 04-19-2013, 02:13 PM   #55
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ismail
Not so. It will follow the SAME trajectory of supply and demand. The more productive people become the less need for excess work. Automation and innovation will be the key drivers. Currently some countries prefer to be underdeveloped to keep their dollar down and the majority of the electorate employed by being inefficient. For instance. The power grid in many African, South American and Asian cities is deliberately NOT developed so companies can continue to manufacture and sell gas powered generators. Crony capitalism at play there.

The future is about LESS work, not MORE work. If it was about MORE work, then instead of bulldozers, people would be digging ditches with spoons.


Unfortunately what you are saying is a Western utopia. Asian people work more hours because of their culture, not because money. Just take a look at how many hours Japanese and South Korean workers do weekly. Most of them are actually better paid than North Americans and Europeans. An this comes from the people that had more impact on factory and production automation and mechanization. So, again, what i'm saying based on my experience and Nial Fergusson's observations is that we are about to see a shift of economic and cultural power towards Asia. They work harder and so will we...

And to explain what I mean about my experience: My father was Sweddish and my mother is Chinese and my wife is Japanese. I live in Brazil, one of the BRICs. The most Westernized one. I've been several times to China and Japan. Do you think there are so many religious hollydays in China? So what about if you stiil live in Canada but work for an Asian company. Do you think they will be pleased to see you not working all this hollydays? So thats where we are going right now.
 
Old 04-19-2013, 03:42 PM   #56
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Some good points there.

But as the harder working East becomes more wealthy than the West, do you believe their culture won't change and they too will want to work less hours and have more free time to enjoy the fruits of their labour?

Change in one area often doesn't occur in isolation of other areas, so more wealth would be unlikely not to impact work culture in my view.



But that is irrelevant any way. Computer power and application improvements have already seen a vast change in the productivity of artists.
They will come to increasingly do more of the work with better tools, meaning less monkeys doing jobs that automated software can achieve.

These roto-houses that draw depth maps for Harry Potters glasses for post-production stereo work might find that an AI does their job in 10 years time.

The only real value is still in the artwork/design... the process of turning idea to tangible asset is always going to be a transition industry vs those who come up with the designs/ideas.

We really have to worry when computers/AI replace the need for designers/artists though!

Dave
 
Old 04-19-2013, 04:08 PM   #57
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mr Whippy
Some good points there.

But as the harder working East becomes more wealthy than the West, do you believe their culture won't change and they too will want to work less hours and have more free time to enjoy the fruits of their labour?

Change in one area often doesn't occur in isolation of other areas, so more wealth would be unlikely not to impact work culture in my view.



But that is irrelevant any way. Computer power and application improvements have already seen a vast change in the productivity of artists.
They will come to increasingly do more of the work with better tools, meaning less monkeys doing jobs that automated software can achieve.

These roto-houses that draw depth maps for Harry Potters glasses for post-production stereo work might find that an AI does their job in 10 years time.

The only real value is still in the artwork/design... the process of turning idea to tangible asset is always going to be a transition industry vs those who come up with the designs/ideas.

We really have to worry when computers/AI replace the need for designers/artists though!

Dave


Indeed Dave, as my first post stated, I think all the "factory floor" workers in the CGI industry will be crushed by the evolution of software or less paid workers from developing areas. Today is Asia, in some years it could be Africa, who knows. Anyways as I have stated, the true talented, devoted and committed artist will succeed. The movie making industry will always need good Directors, Writers, Cinematographers, Producers AND Set Designers, Art Directors, Animators, Modellers, VFX Supervisors, Make Up, Wardrobe and etc... So the ones who will succeed are those that understand their craft. It's not about knowing what a 50mm lens is on Maya or 3DS Max. It's about knowing its real physical properties. It's about reading and understanding Art History, Design, Architecture, Anatomy etc... If you study all of this, one can guarantee you'll do a better job and thus not worry about unemployment or underpayment. The american movie making industry is saturated with culture-less studios and people. Can you really say "The Avengers" is a good movie? For me it is a US$ 300 million trashcan... But it employed a lot of CGI workers. Do we need to save this industry to produce more of this crap? I don't think so.
 
Old 04-19-2013, 10:03 PM   #58
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Yeah I agree fully with that.

Digital art is ultimately a technology discipline and/or an art discipline depending on how you produce what you do.

I don't think there are 'safe' intermediate jobs that you can just skill up for and sail through life as a low-mid level employee in... the industry is too volatile for that, you have to get above that and really grasp the solid fundamentals to be able to adapt quickly as new processes/techniques become available to leverage.

I guess all industries are the same but VFX seem to be one of the worst right now. The rapid pace of technological developments doesn't help I suppose.


There is always a crisis if you can't look ahead and innovate and embrace the future. It's those who see the future not as a crisis but as an opportunity that will thrive

Dave
 
Old 04-19-2013, 10:03 PM   #59
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