« June 2005 | Main | August 2005 »

July 28, 2005

Some Shaggy Dog Trivia? director Brian Robbins

I came to find out a while back that Brian Robbins, our Director on "The Shaggy Dog" is none other than 'Eric Mardian' from the popular 80s TV series "Head of the Class".

He has since gone on to produce and direct a number of projects, including director on 1999's controversial "Varsity Blues" and 2004's "The Perfect Score"

Acting as producer from 1995's "The Show" to 2005's "Coach Carter". It's always facinating to learn where teenage TV show actors end up when they grow up...

See Also: Brian Robbins entire IMDB resume...

Here are a couple more pictures:

Posted by dschnee at 11:25 AM

Hot 'Constantine' tops DVD sales

As reported by TheHollywoodReporter.com

Warner Home Video's "Constantine" has become the latest comic book-based movie to top the sales charts, entering VideoScan's First Alert chart at No. 1 its first week in stores. Another new release, Buena Vista Home Entertainment's "Ice Princess," took the No. 2 spot on the preliminary national sales chart for the week ending July 24, bumping last week's top seller, Warner's "Million Dollar Baby," to No. 3. "Constantine," which grossed $75.5 million in theaters, proved so popular at retail that while the regular DVD was ranked No. 1, the deluxe edition, which includes a comic book-and a heftier price tag-clocked in at No. 4. "Million Dollar Baby," however, remained the top renter for the week ending July 24, according to Home Media Retailing's rental chart, earning an additional $12 million to bring its two-week take to $27.4 million.
(Thomas K. Arnold)

Posted by dschnee at 10:06 AM

July 19, 2005

Constantine Deluxe Edition DVD Released!

Both the Single Disc and Deluxe Editions were released today, I'll be picking up the Deluxe edition sometime today and have some feedback on the dvd master and extra features and hopefully have some new content to add to the CN Comp Department. A friend at work got his hands on the Single Disc Edition and he mentioned that they have clamped the whites and are about 1 full stop darker then our finals we sent to WarnerBros. So the dvd is cutting out a huge range of detail, I'll find out soon enough with my own eyes... Thats it for now, click below for the complete Details

Here are few Constantine: 2-Disc Deluxe Edition DVD Reviews:
Chud.com Review - 9/10
Movies For Guys Review - 4/5
DVD Town Review - 7.75/10
DVD Talk Review - Recommended
IGN DVD Review 7/10
Total DVD Review - 7/10
Rope Of Silicon Review - Recommended Highly

Constantine Deluxe Edition (Dbl DVD)
Widescreen, Original Aspect Ratio - 2.40
Format: DVD
Genre: Action/Adventure
for Violence and Demonic Images
Runtime: 121 mins
Original Product Release Date: 07/19/2005
# Video Clips: Trailer
Studio: Warner Bros.
Theatrical Release Date: 02/18/2005
Djimon Hounsou, Gavin Rossdale, Keanu Reeves, Peter Stormare, Pruitt Taylor Vince, Rachel Weisz, Shia La Beouf, Tilda Swinton
Francis Lawrence
Other Talent:
Akiva Goldsman, Benjamin Melniker, Brian Tyler (Ii), Erwin Stoff, Frank Cappello, Gilbert Adler, Kevin Brodbin, Klaus Badelt, Lauren Shuler-Donner, Lorenzo Di Bonaventura, Michael Aguilar, Michael E. Uslan, Philippe Rousselot, Wayne Wahrman

Based on the DC Comics/Vertigo Hellblazer graphic novels and written by Kevin Brodbin and Frank Cappello, Constantine tells the story of John Constantine (Keanu Reeves), a man who has literally been to hell and back. When he teams up with skeptical policewoman Angela Dodson (Rachel Weisz) to solve the mysterious suicide of her twin sister, their investigation takes them through the world of demons and angels that exists just beneath the landscape of contemporary Los Angeles. Caught in a catastrophic series of otherworldly events, the two become inextricably involved and seek to find their own peace at whatever cost.
Special Features:
Additional Scenes - 18 minutes of Deleted Scenes with Optional Commentary by Francis Lawrence
Alternate endings
Audio Commentary
Documentaries - THE PRODUCTION FROM HELL *Director's Confessional *Collision with Evil *Holy Relics IMAGINING THE UNDERWORLD *Hellscape *Visualizing Vermin *Warrior Wings *Unholy Abduction *Demon Face [Easter Egg] FORESIGHT: THE POWER OF PRE-VISUALIZATION with Optional Commentary by Francis Lawrence
Documentary - Conjuring Constantine: from comic book to movie
Featurette - ? Imagining the Underworld ? Hellscape ? Visualizing Vermin ? Warrior Wings ? Unholy Abduction ? Demon Face [Easter Egg]
Music Video - A Perfect Circle's "Passive" music video
Theatrical Trailer

Critic Quote:
"Action-packed and mind-blowing." Shawn Edwards / FOX-TV "A smart, wildly entertaining thrill ride." Glenn Whipp / LOS ANGELES DAILY NEWS "It's a smart ride. There's both eye and mind candy in this cleverly berserk spawn of Blade Runner." Richard Corliss / TIME MAGAZINE "Devilish fun." Peter Travers / ROLLING STONE "Wow! An amazing, fascinating trip!" Fred Saxon / FOX-TV

Screen Aspect:
Original Aspect Ratio - 2.40
Widescreen [16:9 Transfer]
Sound Quality:
English: Dolby Surround 5.1 -
Francais (Quebec): Dolby Surround 5.1 -
Subtitles: English, Espanol, Francais
Media Quantity: 2
Media Sub Format: Multi Disc
Packaging Type: Slipcase

Posted by dschnee at 7:19 AM

July 18, 2005

Tippett Adds Pair to Production Fold

Here is the official press release that Tippett Studio Announces Key Senior Management Changes and below:

Tippett Studio in the news @ The Hollywoodreporter.com...

July 18th, 2005

By Sheigh Crabtree

Tippett Studio, the Academy Award-winning visual effects firm founded by Phil Tippett, has confirmed senior management changes.

The studio said Friday that Kip Larsen and Carolyn Pistone have joined as executive producer and head of production, respectively. The execs replace Alonzo Ruvalcaba, Tippett's previous head of production, who is leaving after nearly 11 years to produce a film.

"It has been a true privilege to work with Phil Tippett and Jules Roman and the brilliant group of artists and production staff at Tippett Studio," Ruvalcaba said.

He and partner Kenneth Bielenberg, the "Shrek" visual effects supervisor at Pacific Data Images, are teaming with writer-producer Christian McLaughlin for the upcoming project, a gay-themed horror movie, and will direct under their production company, Eyebeam Pictures.

At Tippett, previous Industrial Light + Magic exec Larsen will supervise the production management team and is responsible for project bidding. Pistone, previously an animation exec at DreamWorks, will oversee all aspects of the production environment, providing guidance to the creative management staff.

Tippett Studio has created visual effects for more than 50 films, including "Hellboy" and "The Matrix Revolutions." Tippett is working on Disney's "Shaggy Dog" and Paramount's "Charlotte's Web."

-via the hollywoodreporter.com

Posted by dschnee at 9:55 AM

July 15, 2005

Worth a Mention - VFX Production Office

Here at work, I'm on a great industry resource mailing list "Worth a Mention" it covers and sites a great deal of news, articles, and latest tid-bits revolving in and around the VFX community.

I wanted to note that there is now a blog "VFX Production Office" hosted by the WaM Press (Worth a Mention) over at blogspot.com.

Check it out @ vfxproductionoffice.blogspot.com

So far it only has updates from yesterday and now today, but it should prove to be a great online resource echoing the WaM mailing list...

Posted by dschnee at 9:58 AM

July 5, 2005

Nine Inch Nails music video for "Open"

>> NIN Visuals Quicktime Version of the
"Open" video (40mb QT)

>> mvwire.com article...
David Fincher And Digital Domain Collaborate On Nine Inch Nails Video

I just saw a new music video from David Fincher(view above in quicktime), as it seems he has returned the the music video canvas for Nine Inch Nails "Open" track off their latest album With Teeth.

It's not the most exciting video, but it has some great energy, is descriptive, symbolic, and flows really well with the lyrics. And it has some damn cool visuals using some fun now classic desk trinkets like Newton's Cradle and the Pin Block, uising some great 'only in cg' camera work. I had to post this blog on it because David Fincher is one of my favorite directors, I'm a NIN fan, and I love the ECU style in the music video. So check out Fincher's new music video for NIN's "Open".

Word is Digital Domain handled the post production on this one, again take a look at the music video for "Open" in .mov format or "Open" in .wmv format.

Very similar to the work C.O.R.E. Digital did on X-Men with the map table. C.O.R.E. developed a plug-in for Houdini to procedurally animate cg pins. DD uses Houdini extensively and I'm willing to bet they used it for this music video, cool shyt.

Pin Table Example using Houdini 5.5 over @ sidefx.com

Play Movie: Click on image to play or divx [308 kb]

musicvideowire.com article:

David Fincher And Digital Domain Collaborate On Nine Inch Nails Video

New York, NY– The idea had been swimming in the back of David Fincher’s mind for a number of years. On many occasions the Anonymous Content director discussed it with his longtime collaborators at digital production studio Digital Domain, Venice, Calif.

“David and I talked about a scene that takes place entirely in the confines of an executive’s workspace,” explained Ed Ulbrich, Digital Domain’s senior VP, general manager. “He envisioned the objects in the office coming to life under the right circumstances. The difficulty was finding the right project.”

When the opportunity to direct the latest Nine Inch Nails video arose, Fincher recognized the possibilities: The band’s new single “Only” drives to a crushing crescendo, which was ideal for the timing of the visuals. And from a technical standpoint, both Fincher and Ulbrich knew that bleeding edge special effects software and hardware could now deliver Fincher’s project just as he imagined it.

“The visuals we created for ‘One’ represent some of the best photoreal imagery to come out of this studio,” said Ulbrich. “Even though we’d been discussing this project for years, it could not have been done quite how we wanted until now. We tested some next-generation technologies on this project. This means new rendering technologies and new advances in CG were all used for this video.”

The spot opens with an overhead shot of a pristine workspace. A man’s hands move into the scene to tap the keyboard and start the song playing through the computer’s speakers (these brief shots represent the only live action photography in the entire video). The camera surveys the office accessories—a computer, a desk lamp, a white porcelain cup filled with coffee, and two executive desk toys that play central roles in the video. The first, known as a “Newton’s Cradle,” is a well-known executive toy consisting of five silver balls suspended from a frame by strings that knock into each other rhythmically. The second, sometimes called a “pin block,” is a collection of unsharpened pins secured in a frame. Pressing a hand against the pins creates an impression and holds the shape.

Objects on the desk begin to react to the Nine Inch Nails song playing through the computer’s speakers. First, we see ripples in the coffee. Then, small vibrations pass through the silver balls of the Newton’s Cradle. When lead singer Trent Reznor’s vocals kick in, his face appears in the pin art. The pins, gradually growing more frenzied with the music, show an impression of Reznor as he sings and moves with the track. The camera takes impossible pathways around the scene – passing through the computer screen to circle the pin art, and flying through the speaker grating for a close up of the speaker’s tweeters.

Digital Domain worked with Fincher to build the virtual space, create realistic lighting, and model and animate the objects. Eric Barba, Digital Domain’s visual effects supervisor explained how he and his team built the space in a virtual world. “We first used ‘pan and tile’ technology to establish the scene,” he said. “This is a robot camera used to take pictures in every direction. Later, we assemble those pictures in the computer to create a 3D space.”

Afterwards, Barba explained, a digital still camera was used to photograph the scene’s objects – the lamp, the computer, etc. – as references for modeling, skinning and texturing CG versions. The last major step before animation was to create perfect computer-generated lighting. This process, according to Barba, is remarkably similar to real world lighting. “After establishing the placement and intensity of the lights in the room, we would line up a shot,” Barba explained. “If it needed softer light, we set up a virtual bounce card just the same way it happens on a set. Just as it would happen in real life, we make adjustments as we go.”

Finally, Reznor was captured on video as a reference for animators creating his image in the pin block. Throughout the video, Reznor moves toward and away from the camera and sometimes slams his hand against the screen– all excellent fodder for compelling animation using the pins.

“Everyone was pleased with the final product,” explained Ulbrich. “‘Only" turned out to be the ideal convergence of the right idea, the right project and the right technology.”


Posted by dschnee at 9:59 PM

July 1, 2005

War of the Worlds

I had planned to wait until the weekend for this show, but curiosity, eagerness, and impatients twisted my arm into taking in this event last night. I had also planned to read the book before this weekend, then see it, but soemtimes that isn't for the best, and just to take in the experience for what it is... And what it is, is astonishing! It's an awe-inspiring thrill ride with a solid hour of suspense that keeps you on the edge of your seat, the other hour is good as well, ;)

The entire movie follows Cruise's character (Ray Ferrier), documentary style, so whatever he knows you know, and not much else outside of his radius of awareness. Which is great, compared to other similar end of the world type movies where you see the big picture of global destruction. Sadly, this movie ends as fast as it begins, it felt like an hour and a half, but running time was 117min. It starts and ends with the first and last chapters of the H.G. Wells Classic, yet tweaked a bit, and narrated by Morgan Freeman. But, I wanted to know more before it just ended. I think it was lacking one more solid scene to establish more the hows and whys, and I feel they had time to do it. Yet I can't deny it was a fantastic ride, I'd see it again, and I know I'll be picking up the DVD. ;)

The visuals, amazing. The documentary style keeps you in a certain place fully knowing of where the action is, and you keep wanting to see more, if the camera just gets over that hill... and it does pay off with fantastic shots of the Tripods and their extermination of us humans. There is one scene in paticular as Cruise and his family are leaving New York in a minivan on the freeway, the camera is outside the car and goes around it several times seamlessly to an overhead shot as they drive off, it starts off so seamless and your involved in the story that its not until after a minute of this that your like damn, look at this shot, and it keeps going...

Quote from Dennis Muren on this shot done by Pablo Helman's team:
"That was one of the most challenging ones, actually. That was made up of about nine pieces of film with invisible edits. It's all blue screen, but any department could have screwed that shot up. Tom and the actors were always shot on the stage, and then the car and backgrounds were shot. It was all just beautifully combined together into what looks like one shot. There's no way that you could shoot that for real. It's almost two and a half minutes, maybe a little longer than that."

The Compositing? God damn seamless... there wasn't a lot of rough spots, everything was integrated extremely well, especially on the tight 8 month schedule. Kudos to ILM and their compositing team.

But like I said they show us things but never fully explain it all, which is part of being in Cruise's POV, but dag nabbit, one more sequence to pay us off please!

Lastly, what I found interesting is that VFX Supervisor's Dennis Muren and Pablo Helman were in the end credits (in nice huge titles) before Tom Cruise and the other actors... awesome.

Here are a couple Interviews from VFX Supervisor Dennis Muren on War of the Worlds:
- ComingSoon.net's Muren Interview
- IGN's Muren Interview

- War of the Worlds: A Post 9/11 Digital Attack - VFXWorld.com Article

Posted by dschnee at 7:29 AM