Getting More Immersed with Indiewire


  The Penske Media purchase of Indiewire has resulted in an expansion of my role as crafts and awards season contributor.  Beginning this week, I begin Emmy coverage of below-the-line contenders along with my usual Oscar season crafts reporting, working closely

Immersed in Blu-ray: Hitchcock and Bogart


The WB Archive Collection gets Hitch and Bogie on Blu-ray and they've never looked better for home viewing. In Kent Jones' indispensable doc, Hitchcock/Truffaut, he reminds us that Truffaut was on a mission to correct misconceptions about Hitch as a lightweight

Immersed in Books: Farber on Film


For the first time, the complete writings of film critic Manny Farber is available from Library of America, edited by Robert Polito (Savage Art: A Biography of Jim Thompson). Manny Farber (1917-2008) was the first modernist film critic to write like a modernist.

performance capture

MPC Sprouts Groot from Guardians of the Galaxy

Posted on by Bill Desowitz in 3-D, Animation, Below the Line, Clips, Movies, performance capture, previs, Tech, VFX, Virtual Production | Leave a comment

MPC delivered 857 VFX shots for Marvel/Disney’s Guardians of the Galaxy, including the lovable Groot. Guardians rocketed with an estimated $37.8 million on Friday night. Read more

Gunn Talks Guardians of the Galaxy

Posted on by Bill Desowitz in 3-D, Animation, Below the Line, Clips, Movies, Music, performance capture, previs, Tech, Trailers, VFX, Virtual Production | 1 Comment

Guardians of the Galaxy is the most irreverent Marvel departure so far, and, thanks to comedy writer-director James Gunn (Slither, Super), we’re reminded that sci-fi can be fun. What’s old is new again. But even though it wasn’t his intention to give us a nostalgia trip while creating his own colorful galaxy of rogues and villains, it’s an occupational hazard of turning archetypes on their heads. Read more

Serkis and Weta Talk Dawn Performance Capture

Posted on by Bill Desowitz in 3-D, Animation, Below the Line, Clips, Movies, Oscar, performance capture, previs, Tech, VFX, Virtual Production | Leave a comment

From the outset, with that tight close-up of Caesar’s face, it’s clear that Andy Serkis and Weta Digital have taken performance capture to a whole new realm of photo-reality. The detail and emotional intensity are extraordinary. We’re not even aware that Caesar is CG anymore. We are totally immersed in the moment and from there it just gets better as we witness the complexity of Caesar’s epic struggle. Read more

Reeves Brings New Dawn to Planet of the Apes

Posted on by Bill Desowitz in 3-D, Animation, Below the Line, Clips, Movies, Oscar, performance capture, previs, Tech, VFX, Virtual Production | Leave a comment

No Apes director has gone through the looking glass to explore the human condition as ambitiously as Matt Reeves. As a result, Dawn of the Planet of the Apes makes a smart and most compelling summer tentpole, with Andy Serkis delivering his most powerful performance yet as Caesar, and Weta Digital making a quantum leap in performance capture. We are totally immersed in Caesar’s struggle to prevent war with humanity, and forget that we’re watching a CG character. Read more

Clipping Weta VFX on Dawn of the Apes

Posted on by Bill Desowitz in 3-D, Animation, Below the Line, Cinematography, Clips, Movies, Oscar, performance capture, previs, Tech, VFX, Virtual Production | Leave a comment

Watch a new featurette from Dawn of the Planet of the Apes (July 11) that shows how Weta Digital has taken a “quantum leap” in its Oscar-winning performance capture technology. Read more

Trailering Last Dawn of the Planet of the Apes

Posted on by Bill Desowitz in 3-D, Animation, Below the Line, Movies, performance capture, previs, Tech, Trailers, VFX, Virtual Production | Leave a comment

Watch the final trailer for Matt Reeves’ Dawn of the Planet of the Apes (July 11). As Rise proved, this is a far cry from the original franchise. Read more

Talking Maleficent Pixie Facial Animation

Posted on by Bill Desowitz in 3-D, Animation, Below the Line, Clips, Movies, performance capture, previs, Tech, Virtual Production | Leave a comment

The major tech advancement of Maleficent is Digital Domain’s facial capture of the three flower pixies played by Imelda Staunton, Lesley Manville, and Juno Temple, which required a more complex facial range and considerably more dialog than had previously been attempted. Video below produced by fxguide in partnership with Wired.

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Robert Stromberg Talks Maleficent

Posted on by Bill Desowitz in 3-D, Animation, Below the Line, Clips, Movies, performance capture, previs, Production Design, stop-motion, Tech, VFX, Virtual Production | 1 Comment

The path to directing from VFX and production design has certainly been a natural one for two-time Oscar winner Robert Stromberg (Avatar, Alice in Wonderland). And after re-imagining Disney’s iconic Sleeping Beauty with Maleficent, he not only wants to continue directing but also explore new tech frontiers. In fact, Stromberg has formed his own virtual company, Hydra (in partnership with The Third Floor and Maleficent production designer Dylan Cole) so he can be on the cutting edge of total cinematic immersion. Read more

Clipping Dawn of the Apes VFX Comparisons

Posted on by Bill Desowitz in 3-D, Animation, Below the Line, Clips, Movies, performance capture, previs, Tech, VFX, Virtual Production | Leave a comment

Check out the 1:1 comparisons between the actors and their simian avatars in this new Dawn of the Apes (July 11) video. Read more

Trailering More Dawn of the Apes

Posted on by Bill Desowitz in 3-D, Animation, Below the Line, Movies, performance capture, previs, Tech, Trailers, VFX, Virtual Production | Leave a comment

Watch more of Dawn of the Planet of the Apes (July 11), in which director Matt Reeves explores the origins of the fledgling ape world and clash of civilizations before the inevitable battle for the planet. Read more