Luc Bessons dazzling THE FIFTH ELEMENT, already a reference quality Superbit DVD, has been upgraded to the Ultimate Edition (Columbia TriStar Home Ent., $24.96). Its hard to believe that this is the first edition to contain supplemental features, but they provide plenty of context and perspective to all that wonderful eye candy and sci-fi hokum from Besson and French comic book artists Jean-Claude Mézières and Mobius.
Category: Visual Effects
Italian digital studio Videa VFX has signed on to do visual effects work on LAUGHING WATER, an Italian, British and Czech co-production based on the German novel, MINE HA HA, about the mysterious disappearance of girls at a school surrounded by a fairy tale atmosphere with dark forests and gloomy lakes.
VFXWORLD contributor Gianluca Dentici will serve as vfx supervisor, with John Irvin directing and Dante Ferretti doing the production design. Jacqueline Bisset co-stars as the headmistress.
THQ Inc. and Warner Bros. Interactive Ent. have released CONSTANTINE for PlayStation2, Xbox retailers across North America. The game, developed by Bits Studios, is based on the Warner Bros. Pictures motion picture CONSTANTINE, an adaptation of the DC Comics/Vertigo HELLBLAZER graphic novels.
STAR WARS: EPISODE III REVENGE OF THE SITH will open the 58th Cannes Film Festival on May 11, reports Londons DAILY MAIL. The final STAR WARS film, which hits theaters on May 19, will kick off proceedings on the Croisette, joining a long tradition of high-profile launches.
Alias released full details of their updated Maya Platinum and Silver Membership Services Programs. Originally launched at SIGGRAPH 2004, the Membership Services Programs replace the previous Full Annual Maintenance Program. The new features are available immediately and launch in conjunction with the availability of Maya 6.5.
Warner Bros. has secured the screen rights to Welsh author Jenny Nimmos MIDNIGHT FOR CHARLIE BONE and the four additional books in the fantasy series, reports VARIETY. WB-based Thunder Roads Basil Iwanyk and Alysia Cotter will produce. Neil Alsip will adapt the books. WB execs Lynn Harris and Geoff Shaevitz will oversee the project for the studio.
It was SPIDER-MAN 2 and THE AVIATOR running neck and neck for the most awards, taking three each, at the 3rd Annual VES Awards Wednesday night, Feb. 16, 2005, but it was HARRY POTTER AND THE PRISONER OF AZKABAN that pulled out with the top honor for Outstanding Visual Effects in a Visual Effects Driven Motion Picture at a black-tie gala at the Hollywood Palladium in Los Angeles.
SMPTE Seminar 2005, presented in cooperation with the Entertainment Technology Center at USC and USC School of Cinema-Television, has been rescheduled for March 4-5, 2005. Originally the event was to run in December 2004, but was postponed due to the logistics of the holidays.
Columbia-based Escape Artists has hired I, ROBOT director Alex Proyas to helm the supernatural thriller, KNOWING, reports HOLLYWOOD REPORTER. Originally DONNIE DARKO director Richard Kelly was attracted to direct and Proyas will film off Kellys rewrite of Ryne Pearsons original screenplay. Steve Tisch, Todd Black, Jason Blumenthal and David Alper are set to produce.
fmx, a key event in animation, visual effects, games and other 3D content, celebrates its 10th anniversary this year (April 27-30 in Stuttgart, Germany) by continuing to offer a holistic, cinematic and integrated approach to the booming CGI industry. You can see the changes in CGI reflected in the new design for the fmx/05 logo and trailer, based on the clip, Timeless, by Filmakademie graduate student Linus Ewers.
When the VES announced that it was bestowing its first George Méliés Pioneer Award on the late Bob Abel, Ellen Wolff, one of VFXWORLDs regular contributors, expressed an interest in writing a remembrance of this frustrated magician turned vfx pioneer. Ellen, who knew Abel quite well and wrote his speeches and SIGGRAPH presentations, wanted to let us know what Bob wouldve thought of such an honor.
The Houdini family of 3D programs from Side Effects Software played a key role in several of the nominees at the 3rd Annual VES Awards, Feb.
DONNIE DARKO, Richard Kellys disturbing 2001 indie cult about teen angst, time tripping and a giant demonic rabbit, hit a little too close to home with its eerie 9/11 parallels. Plus its confusing, elliptical narrative polarized moviegoers. Still, this 88 treatise on urban legends starring Jake Gyllenhaal became an instant one itself, prompting further elaboration in this expanded cut. Released theatrically last year and released on DVD Feb.
ETERNAL SUNSHINE OF A SPOTLESS MIND was one of last years most intriguing movies, fashioned from the wild imaginations of screenwriter Charlie Kaufman and director Michel Gondry. Erasing a love from ones memory shook Jim Carrey and Oscar nominated Kate Winslet to the very core of their existence, and this new two-disc collectors edition DVD (Universal Home Ent., $27.98) offers more than an hours of bonus features. Vfx provided by Buzz Image Group and Custom Film Effects. However, as Gondry illustrates, he definitely prefers old fashioned, in-camera tricks to CGI.
Turbo Squid, which touts the largest collection of royalty-free 3D products available for download, announced that the 100,000th 3D product has been posted for sale.
Universal Pictures has secured the rights to Terry Brooks' book series MAGIC KINGDOM FOR SALE, reports HOLLYWOOD REPORTER. THE MUMMY director Stephen Sommers will direct and produce. Lowell Ganz and Babaloo Mandel will adapt the screenplay. Sommers Universal-based Sommers Co. partner Bob will produce with Circle of Confusions David Alpert.
The first volume of the series follows a widowed attorney who leaves his old life behind when he responds to a mysterious ad and spends his fortune to purchase a magical kingdom.
Sci Fi Channel has ordered a second season of its hit series BATTLESTAR GALACTICA, with the number of episodes to be produced, timing for the new season and which cast members will return, to be announced.
BATTLESTAR GALACTICA has been a ratings winner for Sci Fi since its Jan. 14, 2005 premiere.
Alias has scheduled the second annual Maya API Developers Conference for June 6-8 in Santa Barbara, California. For three days, Alias offers a unique learning opportunity for software developers in the games and film industries to network with industry peers and gain insight into the Maya API (Application Programming Interface). In-depth seminars and hands on classes provide a rare chance to hear from Alias software developers and customers working in film and games.
Atari Inc. is developing and publishing THE MATRIX: PATH OF NEO, an interactive console and PC game based on the blockbuster motion picture trilogy THE MATRIX, THE MATRIX RELOADED and THE MATRIX REVOLUTIONS from Warner Bros. Pictures for a 2005 holiday release on PS2, Xbox and PC.
Sony Pictures will release XXX, HELLBOY, RESIDENT EVIL 2 and ONCE UPON A TIME IN MEXICO for the PSP on April 19, 2005, reports VARIETY. SPIDER-MAN 2 will be bundled with the first million PSP units. Pricing on the PSP flicks will be announced later next week. Sony Pictures Home Ent. plans to release four to five catalog films each week for the PSP. Since the launched of PSP in Japan in December, more than one million universal media disc (UMD) movies have been sold.
Digital-Tutors offers the worldwide availability of FUNDAMENTALS OF MAYA: POLYGON AND SUB-D MODELING training kit, the latest release in a library of industry leading training resources for digital artists. In more than 3.5 hours and two discs of leading edge training methods, FUNDAMENTALS OF MAYA: POLYGON AND SUB-D MODELING, guides users though the fundamentals of modeling an original concept monster in Maya.
The Foundrys Furnace proved to be an invaluable set of tools when Mumbai-based vfx studio VCL (Visual Computing Labs, a division Tata Elxsi) recently provided the 3D elements and compositing for the forthcoming Yash Raj feature, DHOOM. Led by VCLs creative director and vfx supervisor, Pankaj Khandpur, the team consisted of around eight compositors with the remainder working in 3D who, in less than eight weeks, completed 553 vfx shots, with Furnace being used on more than100 of them, for rig and wire removal.
HP introduced the 64-bit xw9300 Workstation, the first to include AMD Opteron processors and support for NVIDIA Quadro SLI dual PCI Express graphics, built for customers with intensive computing demands, including 3D animation.
Rhythm & Hues was the first vfx studio to apply Massives new Smart Stunts capability on Foxs ELEKTRA last year. Smart Stunts simplifies the creation of large groups of CG characters or creatures in Massive, the Academy Award-winning 3D animation system for AI-driven crowd-related effects used in THE LORD OF THE RINGS trilogy, developed by Massive Software.
Pixar animator John Kahrs, who worked on THE INCREDIBLES from model testing through completion, will discuss his work at Gnomon School of Visual Effects Feb. 24 at 7:00 pm.
Kahrs refined facial articulation for Mirage and Violet, and animated Bob and Syndrome, while working on Helen, Dash and Violet as well. He reveals the thought process he undertakes when trying to give each character life from the inside out...and the ways he brings detail and subtlety (or not) to each action.