I stumbled across an article just before Christmas over at Newsweek (via Slashfilm) which detailed an exchange between Peter Jackson and James Cameron on their film-making and their use of CG in particular. It is most definitely worth the read. Cameron makes a comment that given the opportunity to introduce an increased amount of CG into his 1997 epic - he would, rather than the extensive sets that were used in places. This is all hindsight of course.

Apart from this and a discussion over using makeup v. cg there is an interesting little note that Jackson makes mention of that the loss of the smaller independent distributors is affecting the film industry. Especially in the way of producing a medium budget film and the problem with the fact that the industry is producing blockbuster after blockbuster and it is almost irrelevant if it is a quality film.

Anyway, check out the article. It's well worth it.


Portfolio site V8.5 has been online for almost a week now. Go and check it out at With this complete and fully functional I have finally been able to move on from that (revisiting for the occasional update) to working on some vfx for my new showreel. You know, the sort of stuff that I have saying and been meaning to do for the past 4 years whilst at uni but when it comes to doing it my inspiration wavers to the point of non-existance. Uni Holidays will do that to you. So I spent a bit of time scouring through old backups of projects, both uni and personal - looking for things that need starting/finishing/touching up. One that I am focusing on at the moment is a re-envisioning of Nick and my zombie short film disaster 'Perennial' from first semester 3rd Year (2008). I was abysmally disappointed by the project, possibly due to a combination of my not taking charge as I possibly should have and letting Nick take the reigns. Mind you, I am equally at fault as he is. So you could call what I am now doing MY version of one of the scenes. Mind you, the footage isn't the ideal for this sort of work. Nor are the actor's non-existant makeup.

A brief history; Perennial originnaly appeared as a rotoscoped piece with digital backgrounds insterted and lighting added later on. It turned out ok, but not fantastic in my books. So here I am nearly 2 years later attempting something that may or may not work with the footage. I am still going to attempt digital backgrounds - which in itself makes my job harder, despite the fact that we filmed in the blue/greenscreen studio down in TV Land at CSU Wagga we were making use of the space opposed to the bluescreen itself. Thus my first hurdle - keying out the background manually using masks is a hug task, and as is attempting to get the optimum "key" from the background as is possible.

Original Footage:

Masked Footage:

So you can see there that I am getting a decent result, but I have no hope of handling that hair better than I have in the above shot. But I think once it's all blended in it may be reasonable. The major issue that I have is that obviously the actors are lacking in the appropriate makeup - due to the rotoscoping there was no reason for us to worry about makeup - time saving back then, painful now. I have a number of options however - go for the 80's Dawn of the Dead style zombies which could be achieved very easily by playing with the saturation and colour balance, or of course there is a bigger transformation that would require essentially frame by frame edits of the actors into zombies via photoshop and some motion tracking. It's not the worst idea in the world, but time-consuming and my aim is to have this completed somewhere in the week of the 11th - 17th of January. Which is also something that may or may not happen with me moving to Sydney on this coming Tuesday. We'll see. I am hoping that the masking of at least these 3 actors will be done before I move - hard push but it could be possible. After that it is a bit more straight forward (in regards to the masking). For those interested here is what the original styling looked like;

This is just one of the things that I am doing in attempts to improve on both my skills and the work that will be shown to potential employers. I am slowly making my way through the VideoCopilot tutes as well, which are great for learning and relearning quickly. We'll see how I go.


I have been trying to type this entry for two days now, and I am at the point that I want to do a few other posts so I really have to get on with this.

I came across an article on Phillip Bloom on Monday night. It was on his recent visit to Skywalker Ranch to demo some camera's to the Lucasfilm crew out there, namely George Lucas, Rick McCallum and Mike Blanchard. The camera's that he was giving the run down on were the Canon 5DmkII and the Canon 7D - but focusing on their potential for use in film as opposed to still photography. As someone who is looking to make a short film over the next 2 years (Master of Arts Practice project) I was very quickly very interested in this article and followed it to Bloom's personal blog which went more in depth into what he did whilst out at the Ranch for 5 days.

Skywalker Ranch from Philip Bloom on Vimeo.

It's amazing what can be done with a digital slr, I must say that i was unprepared for the superb quality of the video. No wonder ILM/Lucasfilm are looking into the cameras, moreso Lucasfilm than ILM. Lucasfilm just finished up principle photography on Red Tails and are looking into the cameras for use in shooting some cockpit scenes (WWII Fighters) which sounds as though they are once again moving ahead of the times. The maneuverability within a cockpit with a slr opposed to a full size film camera is of a definite advantage to the film maker - obviously allowing them the freedom for new angles, perspectives and techniques that the physical size of film cameras immediately dismiss. As Bloom mentions in his blog, they are also considering the cameras for some work on the upcoming live-action TV Series; which I am very curious to hear/see more about but that will not be appearing on our radar for a while longer. Obviously the range of the applications for these camera's is of obvious interest to those in the film industry looking to further the techniques of filming, or at least alternative methods.

Following this train of research has given me something to think about in regards to my Master's Short Film. There is an accompanying seminar that is to be written and given in the latter part of the course's duration which focuses on your project and area of focus. I think I will look into new and alternative methods of filming and incorporating visual effects. The specialisation of My Master of Art Practice is Visual Effects, which will focus on digital sets, set extensions and the like.


This looks very cool. A modern (if not futuristic) reimagining of the Alice in Wonderland tale. It intrigues me to see this take on the story in comparison to what Tim Burton's take is shaping up to look like. The story of Alice in Wonderland has always been interesting to me, but as a child I was often drawn to stories which probably were not of much interest to those of my generation.

Things like the Famous Five, which my parents grew up on and thus I was introduced to them, but not only these but stories that I stumbled across on my very own; Robinson Crusoe is one. I really enjoyed the tale of the man shipwrecked on an island with no one but Friday (eventually) accompany him. I heard around this time last year that they were developing a television series and I was very excited for it, but it only started airing in Australia last week i think - and I missed the first episode, so I think I may have to wait for the dvd release. Other than that I was intrigued by 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea by Jules Verne which is something that I still discuss with my grandmother to this day. In fact we spoke about it when i last saw her a few months ago. The fact that she read the novel when she was young and in that day and age the things described were ridiculous fantasy, whereas now they are fact. It's this reality that makes you wonder whether the space age tales of today will be reality in 60 years, or whether they are too fantastical. We'll just have to wait and see i suppose.


I am working on Version 8.3 of my portfolio as we speak. The current site was always meant to be a placeholder until i finished uni and found the time to create one with my entire portfolio available. That time has come. I actually bought a template and am customising it to suit my needs, which is so much faster than created one from scratch - and right now I just need something up there. Looking back about a year when I had completed Version 1 (which was quickly superseded by consequent versions) it's come a pretty long way. All that there is left to do now is fill out the site with content, which I am in the process of right this moment - it just takes a bit of time sorting through a few years worth of work, making it web friendly and creating some sort of blurb to accompany it. Not that the latter really requires too much anyway.

The plan (as it stands) is to have this site active and online by the end of next week, which is a very attainable goal. The only thing that is really going to slow it down is my moving from Wagga to Young on Monday. So basically I won't be working on the site Sunday/Monday, but there is a reasonable chance that depending on what I am doing in between now and then that it may be completed by then anyway.


A hilariously dark little animated series that I stumbled across today. Very simple models and style, but executed very effectively. The styling and characters remind me of De Blob (Wii). These were created by Studio AKA in London, check out their site. It's pretty damn cool;


I just stumbled across the Animation Reel of a Swedish Studio called Meindbender on Vimeo. They do some pretty wicked stuff.

Meindbender Showreel 2010 from Meindbender on Vimeo.

I was very interested in The Duplicators clips and made a trip over to their website and checked out all their work. I was disappointed to see discover that what I had thought was stop-motion was actually cgi (created to appear stop motion). Knowing that it was created through cgi took away the fascination about how it was done and took a little of the fun out of it. But that's a personal stand point, it remains an awesome example of their work;

The Duplicators - Cartoon Network ID shortie from Meindbender on Vimeo.


I have been looking forward to seeing The Time Traveller's Wife so I was pretty happy to agree to go and see it tonight when Liz messaged me and asked if I wanted to go.

I loved it! Great film, I particularly enjoyed the underplayed nature of the time traveling itself - there was no noise or attention demanding aspect to the travelling. Even the visual effect of Henry's disappearing was in no way gratuitous, it was appropriately understated because of the lack of control that he has - he just simply disappears. I expected the jumping between times to be an unnerving in relation to the storytelling experience for the audience but I did not think that it was, you were very aware of the time in which he was in based off what drew him there and the same was about the other versions of Henry that sometimes visited the 'present'.

Eric Bana and Rachel McAdams made a fantastic on-screen couple; their chemistry was undeniable. The obvious respect and admiration *professionally* that the two actors have for each other is evident throughout the film, and reiterated in interviews that they have done for publicity for the film. My uni degree has made me incredibly critical of the films that I see, but I cannot find fault in this film - both actors performances were fantastic, as was their supporting cast who carried their weight as necessary. The effects were simple and understated, the story was solid - all I have to do now is read the book and see what was understandably lost in the adaptation process.

Oscar-nomination worthy, that is for sure.


It's a sad commentary on our society that nothing can be done face-to-face anymore. I have been sorting out things in preparation for my departure from Wagga Wagga and through this process in the past few days I have discovered that so many things have to be dealt with over the phone. Example, I went into the Telstra shop to sort out my latest bill only to be told that I had to do it over the phone which seems ridiculous. The same happened at fixing some details up with CSU (though this process also included an required a supporting email to be sent) and apparently you cannot make a claim at Centrelink without phoning up first. Its appalling really. Removing the face-to-face contact from such menial tasks such as fixing a phone bill really de-humanises the whole process and creates something that is void of humanity. The only relief from this process is that for the most part it is a real human being that you speak to at the end of the day over the phone, once you wade your way through the murky 'Press 1 for Accounting Services, Press 2 for Human Resources' blah blah that is computer operators. As much of a technocrat that I am and as much as I long for the day when there is artificial intelligence in a large scale capacity, I do not want the human factor to be removed completely from the systems. It is so much easier to talk to someone face-to-face than on the phone, quicker as well.