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Wednesday, May 30, 2007

The state of the VFX industry, in Variety

David S. Cohen has two pieces in Variety on the state of the visual effects industry at the start of summer movie season.

In a piece headlined 'Blockbusters take toll on f/x shops', he writes:

    ...Visual effects houses are worried about the increasing demand for more product, at higher quality, in less time. Some effects houses have been losing key workers, and a few are threatening to shutter, because of the shifting economics.

    Studios are worried about the outcome. With increasingly frantic post-production schedules, there is less time to edit, test and recut a film, and a megamillion-dollar investment is in jeopardy if the tentpole is overlong or confusing.

In a companion piece, 'ILM at center of visual effects storm,' Cohen focuses specifically on San Francisco-based Industrial Light & Magic:

    ILM is lead shop or a major contributor to four of the summer's biggest tentpoles, all opening between Memorial Day and late July: Disney's "Pirates of the Caribbean: At World's End," Universal's "Evan Almighty," DreamWorks' "Transformers" and Warner Bros.' "Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix." The effort has to be one of the most prodigious technical accomplishments in the history of the biz.

    On "Pirates 3," ILM was tasked with 757 of the most difficult of the film's 2,000-odd vfx shots, including more shots of Davy Jones than in "Pirates 2," complex water simulations and a massive maelstrom sequence.

    Modern-day Noah tale "Evan Almighty" is split between ILM and Culver City-based Rhythm & Hues. ILM has 182 shots, including the CG ark and water. R&H has nearly the same number of shots and is animating the animals.

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