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.

VFX

Sci-Tech Winners Announced by Academy

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

LAIKA has been singled out by the Academy for its pioneering rapid prototyping system for enhanced character animation in stop-motion along with advancements from ILM (Geometry Tracker), DreamWorks Animation (Media Review), Sony Picture Imageworks (Itvie), Rhythm & Hues (Global DDR), The Foundry (MARI 3D texture painting) and Tweak Software (RV system). Read more

Getting Epic and Intimate with The Martian

Posted on by Bill Desowitz in 3-D, Below the Line, Clips, Crafts, Editing, Movies, Music, Oscar, Production Design, Tech, VFX, Virtual Production | Leave a comment

The Martian crafts people echoed the same thing: it was an inside-out journey centered around Matt Damon’s engaging astronaut/botanist, who’s in peril but who never loses his optimism or humor. Therefore, it became a balancing act between the epic and the intimate. Read more

Trailering More Zootopia with Shakira

Posted on by Bill Desowitz in 3-D, Animation, Movies, Music, previs, Production Design, Tech, Trailers, VFX, Virtual Production | Leave a comment

Celebrate Zoo Year’s Eve with the new trailer for Disney’s Zootopia  featuring the original song, “Try Everything,” written by singer-songwriter Sia and songwriting duo Stargate, and performed by Grammy-winning  Shakira. The single will be available everywhere Jan. 8th. Read more

Clipping Anomalisa: Meet Michael and Lisa

Posted on by Bill Desowitz in Animation, Below the Line, Clips, Crafts, Movies, stop-motion, Tech, VFX, Virtual Production | Leave a comment

Watch two new featurettes from Anomalisa, the Oscar-contending adult stop-motion feature from Charlie Kaufman and Duke Johnson, which opens this week in LA and NY from Paramount. Read more

Creating the VFX for The Force Awakens

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

Industrial Light & Magic has always been at its best with Star Wars, and the VFX powerhouse that George Lucas launched 40 years ago certainly upped its game for the return of the signature franchise, and is also the Oscar frontrunner. Read more

How They Puppeteered Anomalisa

Posted on by Bill Desowitz in 3-D, Animation, Annies, Below the Line, Clips, Crafts, Movies, Oscar, stop-motion, Tech, VFX, Virtual Production | Leave a comment

With Oscar-contending Anomalisa from Charlie Kaufman and Duke Johnson, stop-motion studio Starburns Industries blurs the line between animation and live-action. Caroline Kastelic, the puppet supervisor, tells us how they did it, 3D-printing 1,261 faces to go along with more than 150 puppets. Meanwhile, the Museum of the Moving Image is currently presenting “The World of Anomalisa,” an installation of two sets and puppets through March 27, 2016. Read more

How Blue Sky Rigged The Peanuts Movie

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

Given the Picasso-esque posing of Charles Schulz’s beloved characters, Blue Sky departed from its customary procedures for the Oscar-contending The Peanuts Movie. This included rigging and materials. They created hundreds of poses, but to hit all of the poses that Schulz drew and stay on model, they built a system of parts that they could move, slide, switch out and replace. When I was up at Blue Sky last summer, I spoke with Sabine Heller, character development supervisor, Justin Leach, rigging supervisor and Nikki Tomaino, lead materials tech director
Read more

10 VFX Contenders Chosen for Oscar Bake-Off

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

The Academy’s Visual Effects branch executive committee determined a shortlist for the bake-off that includes two blockbusters (Star Wars: The Force Awakens, Jurassic World) and two surprises (Ex-Machina and The Revenant). Read more

Kasdan on The Force Awakens Repeating History

Posted on by Bill Desowitz in Crafts, Screenwriting, Tech, Trailers, VFX, Virtual Production | Leave a comment

It wasn’t easy penetrating the veil of secrecy surrounding Star Wars: The Force Awakens, but screenwriter Lawrence Kasdan (The Empire Strikes Back, Return of the Jedi) enjoyed discussing themes and metaphors as the Yoda of the inner circle with J.J. Abrams and Kathleen Kennedy. Read more

Recreating The Twin Towers for The Walk

Posted on by Bill Desowitz in Below the Line, Clips, Crafts, Movies, Oscar, previs, Tech, VFX, Virtual Production | Leave a comment

The Walk, which recreates Philippe Petit’s amazing high-wire act across the World Trade Center Twin Towers in 1974, has been shortlisted for the VFX Oscar. And on Tuesday, it was the subject of a special case study on virtual production held at Sony for a joint tech committee comprised of the ASC, ADG, VES, the Previs Society, the PGA and the ICG. Read more