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Dead Man’s Chest Goes Six for Six at VES Awards

Disneys PIRATES OF THE CARIBBEAN: DEAD MANS CHEST was the big winner for Industrial Light & Magic at the 5th Annual VES Awards, winning in all six categories for which it was nominated, including Outstanding Visual Effects, Saturday night (Feb. 11, 2007) at the Kodak Grand Ballroom in Hollywood.

There was some amazing snap, crackle and pop effects work on display last night, said Eric Roth, exec director of the VES. This past year --with technological and artistic advances aplenty -- the did you see that? bar was set higher than ever and this years crop of visual effects winners cleared it with room to spare.

The winners were:

Outstanding Visual Effects in a Visual Effects Driven Motion PicturePIRATES OF THE CARIBBEAN: DEAD MAN'S CHESTJohn Knoll, Jill Brooks, Hal Hickel, Charlie Gibson

Outstanding Supporting Visual Effects in a Motion PictureFLAGS OF OUR FATHERS Michael Owens, Matthew Butler, Bryan Grill, Julian Levi

Outstanding Visual Effects in a Broadcast Miniseries, Movie or SpecialNIGHTMARES AND DREAMSCAPES BATTLEGROUND Eric Grenaudier, Sam Nicholson, Mark Spatny, Adalberto Lopez

Outstanding Visual Effects in a Broadcast SeriesBATTLESTAR GALACTICA - Episode 303b ExodusGary Hutzel, Michael Gibson, Alec McClymont, Brenda Campbell

Outstanding Supporting Visual Effects in a Broadcast ProgramER - Scoop and RunSam Nicholson, Scott Ramsey, Adam Ealovega, Anthony Ocampo

Outstanding Visual Effects in a CommercialTravelers - SNOWBALLDan Lemmon, Eileen Moran, R. Christopher White, Paul Story

Outstanding Visual Effects in a Music VideoU2 and Green Day - THE SAINTS ARE COMING Matt Winkel, Ben Looram, Wayne England, Graham Fyffe

Best Single Visual Effect of the YearPIRATES OF THE CARIBBEAN: DEAD MAN'S CHEST Flying Dutchman SequenceJohn Knoll, Ned Gorman, Jakub Pistecky, Tom Fejes

Outstanding Real Time Visuals in a Video GameFIGHT NIGHT ROUND 3 for PS3Christopher Sjoholm, Kat Kelly Hayduk, Rob Hilson, Celia Jepson

Outstanding Visual Effects in a Special Venue ProjectROVING MARSAlan Markowitz, Dan Maas, Jeremy Nicolaides, Johnathan Banta

Outstanding Animated Character in a Live Action Motion PicturePIRATES OF THE CARIBBEAN: DEAD MAN'S CHEST Davy JonesSteve Walton, Jung-Seung Hong, Marc Chu, James Tooley

Outstanding Animated Character in an Animated Motion PictureCARS - MaterLarry The Cable Guy, Mike Krummhoefener, Tom Sanocki, Nancy Kat0

Outstanding Animated Character in a Live Action Broadcast Program, Commercial or Music VideoGeico - CHATDavid Hulin, Seth Gollub, Andy Walker, Jenny Bichsel

Outstanding Created Environment in a Live Action Motion PicturePIRATES OF THE CARIBBEAN: DEAD MAN'S CHESTChris Stoski, Susumu Yukuhiro, Jack Mongovan, Greg Salter

Outstanding Created Environment in a Live Action Broadcast Program, Commercial or Music VideoELISABETH - Episode 1Dave Bowman, Jimmy Kidell, Russell Horth, Gurel Mehmet

Outstanding Models and Miniatures in a Motion PicturePIRATES OF THE CARIBBEAN: DEAD MAN'S CHESTBruce Holcomb, Ron Woodall, Charlie Bailey, Carl Miller

Outstanding Models and Miniatures in a Broadcast ProgramBATTLESTAR GALACTICA - Season 2, Episode 218 "Resurrection Ship, Part 2"Steve Graves, Jose Perez, Mark Shimer, Chris Zapara

Outstanding Compositing in a Motion PicturePIRATES OF THE CARIBBEAN: DEAD MAN'S CHESTEddie Pasquarello, Francois Lambert, Jeff Sutherland, Tory Mercer

Outstanding Compositing in a Broadcast Program, Commercial or Music VideoTravelers - SNOWBALLLaure Lacroix, Lyse Beck, Steve McGillen, Matt Holland

Outstanding Special Effects in a Motion PictureCASINO ROYALEChris Corbould, Peter Notley, Ian Lowe, Roy Quinn

There were plenty of challenges cited, ranging from recreating actual Mars data [for ROVING MARS] while maintaining historical reality and making the images presentable for IMAX, to rooting the bridge that went from foreground to background with five people in only seven weeks for DEAD MANS CHEST.

In addition, the Lifetime Achievement Award was presented to ILMs legendary senior vfx supervisor, Dennis Muren, an eight-time Oscar-winner, who began his career 30 years ago on STAR WARS and has been on the industrys cutting edge of innovation, working on CLOSE ENCOUNTERS OF THE THIRD KIND, INDIANA JONES & THE TEMLE OF DOOM, E.T., THE ABYSS, T2, JURASSIC PARK, A.I. and WAR OF THE WORLDS, among others.

Without George [Lucas], where would we be?, Muren asked backstage. Muren reminisced about the impact of seeing Yosemite as a child in opening up his observational skills. His philosophy: Think of everything that you do as being obsoleteTake what you think you can do and top thatMake an image look fresh and new. Ive grown to embrace technology. What artists need to do is make things work for them.

Right now Muren is working on an instructional book for CG artists intended to hone in on their observational skills and working part-time for ILM and Pixar. Hes working on realtime at ILM to make it more iterative and working on a synthesis of animation and vfx at Pixar that will work for them.

Lucas recalled Muren working nights at ILM and becoming not only a stalwart, but also the heart and soul of the organization. In terms of innovation at ILM, Lucas singled out Zviz, the companys realtime previs system based on the LucasArts game engine. Lucas said Zviz is still being beta tested on the new animated STAR WARS series, as well as INDIANA JONES 4. Its the single most thing that will revolutionize the industry, Lucas boasted.

Meanwhile, DEAD MANS CHESTs vfx supervisor John Knoll hinted at whats to come in the fourth installment this summer, PIRATES OF THE CARIBBEAN: AT WORLDS END: Getting the Dutchmen characters integrated and smoothed out was the biggest challenge of DEAD MANS CHEST. In the next one, the challenges are more environmental. Theres a big water sequence at the climax and the requirements are somewhat different from POSEIDON and [demand] more techniques.

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