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TV & Movie Appreciation
TV's All-time Greatest Openings Friday Night ABC 1971-72

TV's All-time Greatest Openings Friday Night ABC 1971-72

Talking about great movie title sequences is pretty common, but talking about great TV opening sequences typically begins and ends with the theme song. Creative COW's Tim Wilson takes a highly personal trip through a single night that offered five great theme songs in five great opening sequences, in five shows that have largely stood the test of time -- and certainly had a profound impact on him: ABC's Friday night lineup in 1971-72, kicking off with The Brady Bunch and The Partridge Family.

Editorial, Feature, People / Interview
Tim Wilson
TV & Movie Appreciation
A Band Called Death

A Band Called Death

Playing music impossibly ahead of its time, Death is now being credited as the first black punk band (heck...the first punk band!) and its members -- Bobby Hackney, Sr., Dannis Hackney, David Hackney, and Bobbie Duncan -- are finally receiving their long overdue recognition as true rock pioneers. Directors Jeff Howlett and Mark Covino speak about the making of this surprising film.

Editorial, Feature, People / Interview
Debra Kaufman
TV & Movie Appreciation
Elysium: Insights From The VFX Supervisors

Elysium: Insights From The VFX Supervisors

Vancouver-based VFX facility Image Engine was the VFX unit for Elysium as well as the lead VFX vendor. Associate Visual Effects Supervisor Andrew Chapman and overall Production Visual Effects Producer Shawn Walsh talk about how their company handled the visual effects works from pre-production through to completion.

Editorial, Feature, People / Interview
Debra Kaufman
TV & Movie Appreciation
Creating the Details of Elysium's Luxury World

Creating the Details of Elysium's Luxury World

VFX facility Whiskytree accomplished approximately 80 shots in Elysium, all of them focusing on the creation of the mansions, municipal buildings, flora and fauna of the wealthy enclave on the torus. Lead VFX house Image Engine and Whiskytree created an unusually close collaboration to get the job done.

Editorial, Feature, People / Interview
Debra Kaufman
TV & Movie Appreciation
Inside Elysium with Director Neill Blomkamp

Inside Elysium with Director Neill Blomkamp

Five journalists sat in on a round-table interview with Elysium writer-director Neill Blomkamp a week prior to the film's debut. In this intimate portrait, Neill talks about what inspired the film, how he takes an organic, artistic approach to filmmaking, and how his own history, including being a VFX artist, creates a different kind of drive as a director.

Editorial, Feature, People / Interview
Debra Kaufman
TV & Movie Appreciation
Pacific Rim Animated by Industrial Light & Magic

Pacific Rim Animated by Industrial Light & Magic

When director Guillermo Del Toro conceived the battle between the Kaiju monsters and human-controlled Jaeger robots, he knew the best possible VFX facility to bring this vision to reality would be Industrial Light & Magic, the company that pioneered CG creature-creation. In an unusually close collaboration between director and VFX facility, Pacific Rim gets up-close-and-personal with organic and metallic creatures that are both believable and thrilling.

Editorial, Feature, People / Interview
Debra Kaufman
TV & Movie Appreciation
White House Down: Method Studios Wreaks CG Havoc

White House Down: Method Studios Wreaks CG Havoc

Method Studios Vancouver created 185 shots on White House Down, including digital doubles of people and places -- and LOTS of explosions. Method's VFX Supervisor and VFX Producer tell us how their crew of just 80 artists put it all together.

Editorial, Feature, People / Interview
Ollie Rankin
TV & Movie Appreciation
Star Trek Into Darkness & the Dolby PRM-4200 Monitor

Star Trek Into Darkness & the Dolby PRM-4200 Monitor

On Star Trek Into Darkness, VFX producer Ron Ames was concerned about standardizing color information between production company Bad Robot and the VFX companies ILM and Pixomondo as well as DI facility Company 3. The solution was installing Dolby's PRM-4200, a professional reference monitor that can be calibrated so that every one shows the exact same color. In this article, Ames and Pixomondo VFX supervisor Ben Grossman talk about how the Dolby Professional Reference Monitor improved the workflow and gave them the confidence that everyone was seeing the same thing.

Editorial, Feature, People / Interview
Debra Kaufman
TV & Movie Appreciation
Behind the Lens: Rachel Morrison Receives Kodak Vision Award

Behind the Lens: Rachel Morrison Receives Kodak Vision Award

Cinematographer Rachel Morrison, who photographed the Sundance Grand Jury Prize and Audience Award winner Fruitvale Station, was presented with the Kodak Vision Award at the 2013 Women In Film (WIF) Crystal + Lucy Awards in Los Angeles on June 12. The award is given annually to a female filmmaker with outstanding achievements in cinematography who also collaborates with and assists women in the entertainment industry. Fruitvale Station, directed by Ryan Coogler, tells the story of the 22-year-old Oscar Grant, who is killed by a Bay Area Rapid Transit (BART) policeman on the Fruitvale Station platform.

Editorial, Feature, People / Interview
Rachel Morrison
TV & Movie Appreciation
Restoring Richard III: VistaVision to 4K

Restoring Richard III: VistaVision to 4K

When The Film Foundation decided to restore Richard III, the non-profit film preservation organization approached Grover Crisp, Sony Pictures Executive Vice President, Asset Management, Film Restoration & Digital Mastering, Sony Pictures Entertainment. The job was to return the film as close as possible to its original version, which involved restoring over 100 shots. Cineric in New York dug up the missing trims and provided the 4K wet-gate scan, and Crisp brought in MTI Film for much of the restoration, including creating missing frames. Sony Pictures' DI and restoration facility Colorworks finished the job with a careful DI, and the film -- which has been released on BluRay by Criterion -- is expected to have a theatrical release through Janus Films.

Editorial, Feature, People / Interview
Debra Kaufman
Film History & Appreciation
Behind the Lens: Peter Suschitzky & After Earth

Behind the Lens: Peter Suschitzky & After Earth

British cinematographer Peter Suschitzky, BSC, ASC has shot an astonishing number of films that have become iconic: Privilege (the film that inspired George Lucas to ask him to shoot Star Wars), Star Wars Episode 5 - The Empire Strikes Back, The Rocky Horror Picture Show and every David Cronenberg film since Dead Ringers. He got his career start as a child, fascinated by the dark room work of his father, cinematographer Wolfgang Suschitzky, who shot Get Carter among his other credits, and as a very young man shooting documentaries in Latin America. Most recently, Suschitzky was the first to get his hands on Sony's new F65 cameras, to shoot After Earth.

Editorial, Feature, People / Interview
Peter Suschitzky ASC BSC
Film History & Appreciation
The Great Gatsby VFX: Iloura's Valley of the Ashes

The Great Gatsby VFX: Iloura's Valley of the Ashes

In director Baz Luhrmann's The Great Gatsby, one of the more dramatic locations is the Valley of Ashes, a bleak, depressing rubbish dump that the characters pass through on their way between Manhattan and Long Island. Nearly everything there was created by Iloura, an Australian VFX company. Iloura Visual Effects Supervisor Julian Dimsey and Compositor Matt Omond speak with Creative COW about the work they did to create the Valley of Ashes.

Feature, People / Interview
Debra Kaufman
Film History & Appreciation
The Great Gatsby VFX: Animal Logic Sets the Scene in 3D

The Great Gatsby VFX: Animal Logic Sets the Scene in 3D

Award-winning, Sydney-based VFX and animation company, Animal Logic delivered 590 shots for the gilt, luxurious and captivating film adaptation of The Great Gatsby. 175 people worked on Gatsby over the course of a year and a half. VFX Producer Ingrid Johnston and VFX Supervisor Andy Brown talk to Creative COW about their work on The Great Gatsby.

Editorial, Feature, People / Interview
Debra Kaufman
TV & Movie Appreciation
VFX Titans Remember Ray Harryhausen

VFX Titans Remember Ray Harryhausen

"When we grieve Ray Harryhausen's passing, we are at least in part grieving perhaps the last living link to the earliest days of movie visual effects," says Creative COW's Debra Kaufman. She spoke to many of today's VFX giants who were inspired by Ray, including Phil Tippett, Richard Edlund, Jeffrey A. Okun and ILM Animation Director Hal Hickel, who says, "Ray Harryhausen's impact on an entire generation (several actually) of filmmakers cannot be overstated, each of them trying again and again to reproduce the wonder they first felt as a child watching Jason fight those skeletons."

Editorial, Feature, People / Interview
Debra Kaufman
TV & Movie Appreciation
Iron Man 3, Marvel & The Future of the Superhero

Iron Man 3, Marvel & The Future of the Superhero

Victoria Alonso, Marvel Studios Executive Vice President of Visual Effects and Post Production, began her career in the early days of the digital visual effects industry. We had the wonderful opportunity to speak with Victoria about the Iron Man movies, post production's evolution, remote dailies and coloring on set, 4K & HFR, and keeping the modern superhero movie fresh.

Editorial, Feature, People / Interview
Debra Kaufman
TV & Movie Appreciation
Jurassic Park 3D: A New Dimension For A Modern Classic

Jurassic Park 3D: A New Dimension For A Modern Classic

If you liked Jurassic Park the first time around, you're going to love it in 3D. If there was ever a movie that cried out for a third dimension, it was this one: T-Rex towering over the teetering SUV? Raptors skittering in the kitchen? Jurassic Park's already edge-of-your-seat scenes get even scarier in stereoscopic 3D. Conversions from 2D to 3D have gotten a bad rap due to a small handful of movies that were not done skillfully. Stereo D- which also did the conversion work for Titanic -- handled Jurassic Park. President William Sherak and Executive Vice President, Chief Creative Officer Aaron Parry talked to Creative COW about their work on Spielberg's dinosaur blockbuster, and why 2D-to-3D conversions are booming.

Editorial, Feature
Debra Kaufman
TV & Movie Appreciation
Sony Imageworks Takes Us On The Yellow Brick Road to OZ

Sony Imageworks Takes Us On The Yellow Brick Road to OZ

Sony Imageworks provided over 1,100 digital visual effects shots to Oz the Great and Powerful, a movie which explains how a small time magician became the great Wizard of Oz. Featured are two all-digital characters, the 18-inch China Girl and Finley, the wise-cracking monkey with wings, as well as a host of other digital creatures from river fairies to flying baboons. In addition, Imageworks provided environments from the Kansas Circus to Emerald City and effects work that include the magic of evil and good witches and Oz himself.

Feature, People / Interview
Debra Kaufman
Film History & Appreciation
VFX Crossroads Pt. 2: Can The VFX Business Be Saved?

VFX Crossroads Pt. 2: Can The VFX Business Be Saved?

In VFX Crossroads, Part 1, we took a close look at how the seeds of the VFX industry’s dysfunctional business model were planted in its earliest days. Although outsourcing and tax incentives/subsidies are the culprits most often cited in today’s news, we saw that the financial picture for VFX houses is far more complex than that. Here in Part 2, we look at some of the solutions proposed by leading voices in the VFX industry, including a VFX facility trade associations, a union or guild, and ending subsidies. The question is, is it all too little too late?

Editorial, Feature
Debra Kaufman
TV & Movie Appreciation
VFX Crossroads: Causes & Effects Of An Industry Crisis

VFX Crossroads: Causes & Effects Of An Industry Crisis

The VFX industry is in a crisis. As Life of Pi won the Oscar for Best Visual Effects, the venerable facility that created those effects - Rhythm & Hues - declared bankruptcy, and they're hardly the first to close their doors due to financial problems. Debra Kaufman pulls from her 25 years of experience covering the industry to take a close look at how the creators of some of cinema's indelible images are falling prey to dysfunctional business models. Their deep historical roots have also led to visual effects becoming one of the least-profitable areas of film and TV production. How did we get here?

Editorial, Feature
Debra Kaufman
Film History & Appreciation
What Star Wars Means To Me

What Star Wars Means To Me

Part of the criteria your future spouse must meet is a deep knowledge of the Star Wars Universe and you can quote most of the lines from at least one of the original Episodes, but how did the magic, the action, the VFX (before you even knew what VFX were and it was all oh so real!), and The Force, change you? Mike Cohen answers with what Star Wars means to him.

Editorial, Feature
Mike Cohen
Audio Professionals
The Art of Foley: John Roesch Honored by MPSE

The Art of Foley: John Roesch Honored by MPSE

John Roesch is one of the most accomplished Foley artists in the motion picture industry, with contributions to more than 400 films in a three decade-spanning career. He is the recipient of two MPSE Golden Reel Awards (The Dark Knight, The Matrix) alongside more than a dozen nominations. He has worked on 16 films that have won Academy Awards for Best Sound or Best Sound Editing. John Roesch spoke to Creative COW about the art of Foley and his extensive experience in creating sound effects.

Editorial, Feature, People / Interview
John Roesch
TV & Movie Appreciation
Bill Taylor, ASC Commended with the John A. Bonner Medal

Bill Taylor, ASC Commended with the John A. Bonner Medal

VFX pioneer Bill Taylor, ASC has been voted to receive the John A. Bonner Medal of Commendation by the Board of Governors of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, which was presented at the 2013 Scientific and Technical Awards. Inspired by Ray Harryhausen and some of the greatest icons of effects history, Bill has achieved feats of his own. We had the opportunity to speak with him about his luminary career.

Feature, People / Interview
Bill Taylor, ASC
Film History & Appreciation
Stereoscopic Cinema: A Discussion & Review of The Hobbit

Stereoscopic Cinema: A Discussion & Review of The Hobbit

There is no doubt that The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey is a cinematic work of art, but Mike Cohen looks beyond the technical jargon, remembers some of the first 3D, discusses what HFR 3D is today - something completely new - and gives us a great movie review of The Hobbit.

Editorial, Feature
Mike Cohen
TV & Movie Appreciation
Review: The Hobbit Without An Unexpected Pun in the Title

Review: The Hobbit Without An Unexpected Pun in the Title

Not being a teenage Tolkien freak anymore, Kylee Wall was reasonably enthusiastic, but not lose-your-mind crazy like she was when she saw The Two Towers back in the day. She wasn't even dressed up in an elven cloak and holding a bow like the girl that sat next to her. But when the film entered Bag End for the first time with Ian Holm narrating - In a hole in the ground there lived a Hobbit - Yikes, emotions. Read Kylee's reactions to seeing The Hobbit in all its glory - 3D, HFR, and all.

Review
Kylee Peña
TV & Movie Appreciation
Lawrence of Arabia: Sony's Beautiful 4K Restoration

Lawrence of Arabia: Sony's Beautiful 4K Restoration

Sony Pictures Entertainment recently finished a 3-year process culminating in a stunning 4K restoration of the 1962 masterpiece Lawrence of Arabia, completed just in time for the film's 50th anniversary. Guided by Sony Executive Vice President Grover Crisp, this massive project engaged cutting-edge technology and expertise from Sony Colorworks DI facility as well as Prasad Corporation and MTI Film, working together on a newly scanned negative. One of the most beautiful films of all time is now more gorgeous than ever.

Feature
Debra Kaufman
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