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October 30, 2005

Kong Weighs In...

Kong has been on a rampage in the news as of late, with PJ not cutting like most of us working on the vfx would hope (less work), the film weighs in around 3 hours at the moment ('A Big Gorilla Weighs In')... Kong has gone over budget to something like $207 million, I think it cost $240 million for all 3 Rings movies, so there is your contrast... ('Jackson pays monster fine for taking 'King Kong' over budget')

Also Jackson has done some work to recreate the lost 'spider pit' sequence from the original King Kong film using the same techniques used in 33', stop-motion, rear-screen projection, glass matte paintings, and miniature shoots, then mucked up to match the quality of the original film. This will be on the Peter Jackson's Production Diaries DVD, can't wait to see that, should be neat. ('Jackson Makes a Lost Scene')

-from 'DVD producer saddled with 'Kong'-size task'

Official US Kong Teaser Poster and a new Trailer drops on Thursday

So on thursday November, 3rd, Access Hollywood is going to premiere the new Kong trailer, with it available for download on their website shortly after it airs.

I've seen it, it looks amazing, but god damn, they show way too much! :(

As for me, it's the home stretch, 4 more weeks to go, and I'm happy as hell because all of the rest of my shots are monkey shots from the Kong Kapture sequence... =p

ok, back to work...

Posted by dschnee at 11:57 AM

October 20, 2005

Kong Races Against The Clock

-article from the latest edtion of 'The Wellingtonian'

no comment.

Posted by dschnee at 11:01 PM

Bob Burns 1933 Kong Armature visits Weta

Bob Burns, came to visit Weta on Monday, and it was pretty damn cool to see and touch a piece of movie history. It's the original armature used in the 1933 film, that was actually used for the kong tests, but worked well so they used it in the film. Bob Burns managed to tell a number of interesting short stories, Karim took lots of photos, it was cool.

It may be 73 years old, fur-less and only 46 centimetres tall, but the original King Kong that terrorised New York is now in New Zealand ahead of its celebrated re-make.

American collector and film enthusiast Bob Burns. Burns and his wife, from California, are in Wellington with the frame of the animation model used in the original 1933 movie, as guests of director Peter Jackson.

"I thought since they are doing King Kong over here it would be good to bring him over," Mr Burns said yesterday.

"(Jackson) brought us over. It was really nice of him to do it. He just knows that I am such a Kong fan that he wanted me to see what was happening."

Mr Burns first met Jackson in the United States about 15 years ago. He had been given a sneak preview of the movie – a "couple of little scenes" – while in Wellington.

"It's such a homage to the old Kong . . . Peter has such love for the animal that you can just see it. You can see the love in the film."

Mr Burns even took the model with him to a Wellington pub yesterday.

"He thought he'd come in for a spot of ale."

Originally covered in sponge rubber and rabbit fur and with a pair of doll's eyes, it was one of two models made by modeller Marcel Delgado for the original film.

Mr Burns' model is the only one of the pair remaining after the other was cannibalised for parts.

The joints were moved between frames to give the appearance of movement. "At 24 frames (a second), when you project it, he moves."

The model is believed to be valued at more than US$100,000 (NZ$144,000) for insurance purposes.

Mr Burns said he had owned the model for decades. It also starred in the lesser-known Son of Kong in 1933 and two of its fingers were used for the model of the giant in the 1962 film Jack the Giant Killer.

Mr Burns has a museum of memorabilia from horror and science fiction movies, including Frankenstein's boots and latex props from Alien and The Terminator.

The Smithsonian Institution had tried to buy the King Kong model from him. "I think I'm going to keep him."

-via stuff.co.nz - "Not so Scary"

Posted by dschnee at 10:46 AM

October 19, 2005

Tippett @ eDIT 8 Festival in Frankfurt, Germany

At this years eDIT 8 Filmmaker's Festival in Frankfurt, Germany, Phil Tippett was:

"highlighted with the awarding of eDIT’s highest honor: Festival Honors, which where bestowed this year on animation pioneer Phil Tippett and distinguished actor Armin Mueller Stahl. Festival Honors were presented at a gala celebration on the evening of opening day. Attendees received a red carpet welcome and champagne reception during which opening remarks were made by aforementioned minister oaf arts and science Udo Corts."

See Also: Questions to Phil Tippett - Festival Honors

Good Stuff.

'He is currently developing several new directing projects, and Tippett Studio remains busy.'

Festival Honors

Attendees then moved into the theater, where the ceremony began with a welcome from Prime Minister Koch, followed by a choreography by Germany’s William Foresythe.

Then Festival Honors were bestowed on Phil Tippett, the award-winning visual effects supervisor, animation pioneer, director and founder of Tippett Studio, which produces animation and visual effects for feature and commercial projects. Tippett has earned two Academy Awards — for the visual effects on Return of the Jedi and Jurassic Park — and two Emmys during a career that has spanned more than 25 years. The audience was taken through a recap of Tippett’s career through a series of clips of his work, including The Empire Strikes Back, Return of the Jedi, Robocop, Jurassic Park and Starship Troopers.

Tippett’s direction began at the age of seven when he first watched visual effects legend Ray Harryhausen’s stop motion classic, The Seventh Voyage of Sinbad.

In a truly emotional moment during the Festival Honors presentation, Harryhausen appeared in a surprise video clip during which he congratulated Tippett on receiving Festival Honors. The clip concluded with one of the memorable stop motion skeletons that battled in Harryhausen’s Sinbad and Jason and the Argonauts, who also “offered congratulations,” generating cheers from the packed theater.
A surprised Tippett was visibly moved to get this message from his mentor. In accepting the award, he simply said, “It was Ray whose Seventh Voyage of Sinbad sent me on this life in cinema nearly 50 years ago, on the way to receiving this great honor.” (Afterwards, Tippett said the message from Harryhausen was “the pinnacle… for me it was going to the full route, it was really moving.”)

As part of their recognition, Tippett and Mueller-Stahl each received a place of honor on the Wall of Fame, a permanent installation in the foyer of the German Film Museum in Frankfurt, which represents the Festival Honors awarded annually by eDIT. This marks the first time that an animator and actor have been honored. In the display, they join previous prizewinners director Peter Greenaway, the cinematographers Michael Ballhaus, ASC and Vilmos Zsigmond, ASC; visual effects supervisor Dennis Muren, ASC; editor Tom Rolf, ACE; production designer Dante Ferretti and legendary filmmaker Stanley Kubrick.

The actual display features items donated by the awardees as symbolic of their work, which are exhibited in glass cases on concrete columns. The two new columns were unveiled at the museum in conjunction with the eDIT Festival.

Later, a special eDIT session featured Tippett in a conversation with a fellow Academy Award winner, Chris Landreth, who was honored with an Oscar earlier this year for the animated short Ryan.

During this session, Landreth walked the famed animator through his inspirations, career highlights and screening of Tippett’s film work, as well as those of his inspirations, such as the aforementioned Sinbad. Landreth emphasized Tippett’s unique role in vfx’s history, through his “survivability from stop motion to digital.”
Discussion included Tippett’s start at George Lucas’s ILM, where he developed the animation technique known as Go-Motion in 1982 and earned his first Academy Award nomination for Dragonslayer. In 1983, he began work on The Return of the Jedi, for which he received his first Oscar.

Tippett Studio was founded in 1984 when Tippett left ILM to create a 10-minute experimental film called Prehistoric Beast. The realism of the dinosaurs led to his work on the 1985 CBS animated documentary Dinosaur!, for which Tippett Studio won its first Emmy.

Tippett explained that based on his dinosaur experience, he was contacted by Steven Spielberg in 1991 and asked to supervise the dinosaur animation for Jurassic Park. It was this project that was responsible for Tippett Studio’s transition from stop-motion to computer-generated animation and for which Tippett earned his second Oscar.

More recently, the animator took an interest in directing. A few years ago, he partnered with longtime associate, writer Ed Neumeier (with whom he worked on Starship Troopers and Robocop); the two wrote the story for Starship Troopers 2: Hero of the Federation, which Tippett directed. He is currently developing several new directing projects, and Tippett Studio remains busy.

Looking ahead, Tippett said he believes that “visual effects will just fall into the nomenclature of filmmaking.” And when asked about techniques he will use going forward, he said that he expects to be working in an all-digital realm, although he would return to stop motion “if it was appropriate in the context of a film.”


Posted by dschnee at 10:27 AM

October 15, 2005

Birthday Abroad

I received a huge box full of goodies from my lovely girlfriend Rebecca, including a new sweatshirt and beenie for the chilly walks to and from work... it was so fun go get a huge package over here and tear into it finding all sorts of great gifts, perfect! Thank you Love!

So it's Saturday, I'm at work, and it's me birthday... just another day right? Didn't take the day off as some asked why? but I spent it working but left a bit early to catch a flick with Jeffj. We went to the Cinelounge and caught '40 year old virgin'. Now the unique and cool thing about the cinelounge is that the seats are damn near lazy boys, you can have drinks(beer, wine, cocktails) brought out to you during the show, as many as you like, there's free popcorn, and you don't have to cram up next to a stranger, you have an assigned seat. I wish they had these in the states! As for 40 Year Old Virgin, pretty damn funny, some great laughs, it was a fun movie.

After that we went to a bar the Weta folk frequent, 'The Motel', had a number of drinks and hung out for a few, it was a laid back but enjoyable night.

This is my second year in a row I've been away for my birthday, as last year I was on my way home from a great roadtrip with my girlfriend. We were in Salt Lake City, Utah on our way back from Colorado.

so how young am I? twenty-five, err eight, 28...

Posted by dschnee at 10:17 PM

October 9, 2005

Troopers 2 animators show up in Kong Diary

In the latest King Kong production diary '10 weeks left' It's part 2 of animation showcasing some 'keyframe' animation on Kong, and you get to see a couple of talented animators who I started out with on Starship Troopers 2, one Mr. Mike Leonard, and one Mr. Jeremy Bolan, so that was damn cool to see! (both in black beenie caps)


The image to the right was rumored to be another teaser poster, but I think it's just for the cover of 'Empire' magazine... But still, thats Kong on the Empire State Building holding Ann at sunrise over New York... pretty damn cool.

Lastly, look for The World of Kong: A Natural History of Skull Island by Weta Workshop a book that will be coming out that I'm sure will be a nice coffee table book described as "this book is a lavish visual tribute to the fabulous movie art which created the world of Skull Island and its fauna and brought them to vivid, stupendous life on the cinema screen."

Posted by dschnee at 8:20 AM

October 3, 2005

Kong's Production Diaries go to DVD

Universal is releasing a production DVD just one day prior to the theatrical release of King Kong. (December 14th so the DVD to release December 13th). Here is the details in short:

"The DVD collection, expected to be priced at $39.98, features the journals from the first eight months of production ending with principal photography as well as original footage produced specifically for the DVD and a 50-page four-color book."

"The continuing video journals featuring Jackson and all the stars and crew at work on the movie, as well as early looks at the various incarnations of the giant ape have been posted regularly all year at fan web site KongIsKing.net. The shorts were produced by Lord of the Rings DVD production company Pellerin Multimedia Inc."

Head on over to Video Business Online for the complete article.

It's a bit weird that they are marketing and releasing this a day before the film opens, but regardless it should be a great way to experience the journey it took to make King Kong, very cool indeed.


I remember watching the extra features on one of the Lord of the Rings DVDs and seeing the crew gether in the theatre to watch 'monthlies' a recap of all the glorious finals from the past month. This Friday past, we were all invited for Kong Monthlies, and it had been over a month since they had done it last, so there was tons of work on screen, all cut to interesting choices of music, all fun, comedic, and entertaining. The work? simply amazing, I was pretty blow away by all of it... I can't say much more, but it's just insane. So happy to be even a tiny part of this big monkey movie!

Posted by dschnee at 8:25 AM