CGI, Post Production and Production Design

It’s clear from reading articles over the last few weeks that there is a shift in not only how films look but how they are being made. Traditionally a film goes into the pre-production stage, is designed, filmed and then any edits or visual effects are done in the later stage of post production. Now what seems to be happening, certainly with larger companies is that filmmakers/directors are approaching the post production/VFX companies directly to make their films. Inception was one of those films that was done entirely in-house. AWN’s (Animation World Network) Bill Desowitz spoke about the new trend of VFX companies handling films in their entirety.

This allows for better cooperation between artists and a broad scale understanding of the film’s intentions rather than parceling off the film into pieces to be assigned to different studios, which creates a disjointed artistic experience.  ” (DESOWITZ, B. (Cited 2011) Boogiestudion.com.2011 [Online])

Some companies such as Framestore have a pre-viz department as well as post production services allowing for films to be designed in-house, so for science fiction and fantasy films it could be something that happens more and more in the future. It would be interesting to see if smaller companies would have the capabilities to do the same, or whether this is purely the arena of companies like Framestore, Method Studios or Double Negative.

I approached Framestore to ask them whether the production designer is part of this pre-viz stage and they confirmed that their designers  are involved with the design process from early on, collaborating with the production designer.  They also directed me to the art department site where many of the concept images are produced. However, that said, it does not always follow that they do the VFX for that film later on.  An example of this is World War Z in which they produced only concepts. From left to right World War Z and 47 Ronin  where they designed many aspects from pre-viz to VFX/post production The images are concept art, environments and creature design and VFX.

wwz6  47Ronin_Wip_Ako_L  47Ronin_Wip_Dragon_L

images available at http://www.framestore.com/work/world-war-z   and   http://www.framestore.com/work/47-ronin [sourced on 11/05/2014]

 

“Framestore astounded me with their combination of technical skill and artistry in creating the world of 47 Ronin. From conception at its art department right through to execution by their incredibly talented VFX team, they created creatures, FX and environments that are truly unique. Thanks Guys!” 47 Ronin director, Carl Rinsch.  http://www.framestore.com/work/47-ronin [online – sourced on 11/05/2014]

Most films are still packaged off to several companies all over the world. But these are large budget films so have the money to employ production designers, art directors etc to oversee the process.

I looked at Inception  and found that the pre-production/art department and VFX both worked on concepts with the production designer and the art department team researching architecture to provide a solid visual foundation. I will look at Inception and Double Negative in the next VFX post in more detail.

43416-vfx-inception

image from http://www.awn.com/print/vfxworld/vfx-inception%5Bsourced on 13/05/14]

 

What is evident is that companies such as Double Negative and Framestore work with production designers at an early pre-viz stage, research, concepts, VFX planning etc whether they are all in-house or packaged off to various VFX studios.

This is a brief breakdown of some of the companies and their services:-

Double Negative :- Concept/pre-viz/VFX designing Inception in-house, bringing in other designers.

Framestore:- Art/Department/Concepts/Pre-vis/VFX/Design etc working on films such as 47 Ronin and Gravity

Method Studios:- Art Department/Concepts/Colour/Design/VFX working on films such as Divergent and Cloud Atlas

Scanline VFX :- High end VFX/ Colour/Titles and mainly post production, on films like Divergent and 300

Sony Imageworks :- VFX/Animation/3D, film such as Spiderman and Godzilla

Boogie Studios:-VFX/Sound/3D/colour/post production

 

References:-

Blog article:-

DESOWITZ, B., (cited 2011) Oscar nominated Inception helps to develop a trend in the VFX industry. Available at:-  http://www.boogiestudio.com/blog/2011/01/26/a-look-at-vfx-oscar-nominated-inceptions-formula-for-success/?lang=en [sourced on 22/04/2014]

Images and website information:-

http://www.framestore.com/work/world-war-z [online- sourced on 11/05/2014]

http://www.framestore.com/work/47-ronin%5Bonline- sourced on 11/05/2014]

47 Ronin director, Carl Rinsch. http://www.framestore.com/work/47-ronin [online- sourced on 11/05/2014]

image from http://www.awn.com/print/vfxworld/vfx-inception%5Bsourced on 13/05/14]

Double Negative website:- http://www.dneg.com

Framestore :- http://www.framestore.com/work

 

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