Special Effects from Down Under: A Growing Proposition
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Apart from the smaller budgeted films, Australian artistry is also showcased in Baz Luhrmann's upcoming musical Moulin Rouge! "It isn't like anything you've seen before," enthuses Rachael Turk. "It's not a period piece, it's not a blockbuster, and it's not art house. Animal Logic has created as many effects on this as The Matrix had in entirety, so it is by far the largest project we have ever undertaken. The biggest part was to create 19th century Paris, which was not just a matter of touching up a few archive photos. It's to actually build an interpretation of Paris at that time, which involves thousands of buildings at various degrees of proximity. It has been challenging, logistically and creatively, but obviously that's what we seek. That's what we thrive on."
Which is as good a reason as any to explain the popularity of Australian VFX companies. In summation, Turk concludes, "You've probably heard all the reasons; exchange rate, flexibility, methodology and attitude of Australian crews. These are all important factors in attracting foreign productions, but at the end of the day, major studios wouldn't risk big budgets and their reputations on anything less than marquee production skills."
To which Peter Webb adds, "They just wouldn't do it if the job that we did wasn't as good as what they could get back home. We've got fabulous locations here, and a talent pool that's the equal of the best. So it's a win-win situation."
Stephen Lynch has written about the various aspects of filmmaking for books and magazines throughout Australia, England and America, as well as co-hosting Flicks, a weekly film review program.
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