PIRATES OF THE CARIBBEAN: THE CURSE OF THE BLACK PEARL, the year's top live actioner, has sold 11 million DVD and VHS units (a reported 90% on DVD) in its first week of sales, becoming the largest opening live-action home entertainment title in history. According to VIDEO BUSINESS, that translates to about $187 million in revenue.
Category: Visual Effects
LORD OF THE RINGS helmer Peter Jackson has been quoted in various trade publications saying that he would love to make J.R.R. Tolkens prequel to the RINGS series, THE HOBBIT into a feature. Jackson said if he were presented the chance, he would work with some of the same actors he worked with on the RINGS trilogy. If Jackson gets his wish, it would come after his remake of KING KONG, which is next on the directors plate as well as his visual effects house, Weta in New Zealand.
Vfx studio Moneyshots recently completed work on SHORTY (Put it on the Floor), the new music video from director Gregory Dark. One of several songs created specially for the feature film LOVE DON'T COST A THING (opening Dec. 12, 2003), the video features the film's star, Nick Cannon, and hip hop stars Busta Rhymes, Chingy and Fat Joe.
USA Networks has order a pilot and five episodes of a new sci-fi series entitled THE 4,400, reported VARIETY. The new program will follow the events that occur when 4,400 people abducted by aliens are returned to Earth. The project will be exec produced by Francis Ford Coppola, Rene Echevarria (DARK ANGEL) and Maira Suro (PLATINUM). Scott Peters (THE OUTER LIMITS) will be writing and producing the hour-long series with Viacom Prods. and Renegade 83 as the production firms.
AJA Video Systems will introduce Io LD and Io LA to the U.S. at GV Expo in Washington, D.C. on Dec. 3, 2003 The two newest members of AJA's Io family, Io LD and Io LA support the highest quality 10-bit uncompressed video available - on both the digital and analog inputs and outputs. These smaller and lower cost relatives of Io are application specific: Io LD is designed to work with SDI digital systems, and Io LA is for analog component or composite systems. AJA will be located in Apple's booth # 412 at GV Expo. Io LD and Io LA will begin shipping in January 2004.
SCI FI Channel has signed Academy Award-winner F. Murray Abraham (AMADEUS) and Sean Patrick Flanery (YOUNG INDIANA JONES) to star in the hour-long pilot for the drama series DEAD LAWYERS. A Zanuck Co. production in association with Sony Pictures Television, LAWYERS begins filming in Toronto in early December. Paris Barclay (THE SHIELD, NYPD BLUE) directs.
Disney's PIRATES OF THE CARIBBEAN: THE CURSE OF THE BLACK PEARL, which has amassed more than $304M to date, arrives Dec. 2, 2003 on DVD (Walt Disney Home Entertainment, $29.99). The two-disc set includes a bounty of supplemental riches, including audio commentaries by director Gore Verbinski and Johnny Depp, deleted scenes, a "making-of" featurette, "Moonlight" scene progression, blooper reel and an interactive history of pirates.
Spike TV (a division of MTV Networks) will be airing animation created using ILL Clan Inc.s proprietary 3D animation technique called machinima. By modifying off-the-shelf computer game technology, the New York animation studio produces machinima in a fraction of the time it would take using typical computer animation techniques.
Encore Hollywood provided animation and visual effects services for Fox Home Entertainment on ALIEN 3 for the Alien Quadrilogy, the nine disc boxed set, which arrives on December 2. Computer animator Greg Tsadilas created a 3D version of a baby alien for the birth sequence, which is part of 30 minutes of added material. The birth sequence shows the newborn alien creature emerging from the carcass of an ox then fleeing down a corridor. The new creature is in a form not seen in any of the ALIEN films.
Nevercenter Ltd. Co. has released its new modeler Silo, version 1.16, which now includes support for linking to RenderMan-compliant renderers and POV-ray for direct rendering from Silo. Options include the ability to add header and footer files to the render file, and the ability to optionally include or exclude light, camera and material information. In addition, version 1.16s improvements include a more advanced universal manipulator and manipulator options, as well as some tool enhancements and workflow improvements.
Additional 1.16 updates include:
Various Internet sources have claimed that Fox Home Entertainment and LucasFilms have released information to retailers that the original STAR WARS trilogy will be released on DVD November 2, 2004. These rumors first started when LucasFilms held a hush hush invitation only marketing preview in San Francisco on Nov. 5, 2003. Force.net is stating that the films with be packaged individually and not as a box set. Fox Home Entertainment has told VFXWorld it is too early to confirm any of the details until LucasFilms informs them.
On the heels of Ridley Scott's recent director's cut of ALIEN comes ALIEN QUADRILOGY, the ultimate box set of the sci-fi franchise and Twentieth Century Fox Home Entertainment's (TCFHE) most ambitious DVD project yet. Streeting Dec. 2, 2003 and priced at $99.98, QUADRILOGY contains four films, nine discs and 45 hours of bonus materials. Plus new vfx in ALIEN and ALIEN3 supplied by TCFHE and five houses (Svengali, R!OT, Encore, Frantic and Modern Video). There are 15 new CG shots in ALIEN, including CG blood, CG fire, wire removal and star fields.
The Pipeline 2003, held by Techimage at the ICA in London on Nov. 20, attracted more than 700 digital artists and animators.
Katy Edwards, human resources, Framestore CFC commented: "The Pipeline event was well organized and attended, and Framestore CFC were very glad to be involved. It was particularly exciting to see so many motivated and enthusiastic students at the event, who will no doubt be adding to the existing talent within the U.K. in the next few years."
In addition to selling mental ray 3.2 integrated in 3ds max 6, Discreet will now offer a standalone version of the high-quality rendering solution. mental ray 3.2 can be deployed in multi-workstation and render farm configurations enabling greater return-on-investment and productivity gains for the world's largest community of 3D animators in film, games and design visualization.
Digital Element, an Oakland-based software developer and publishing firm specializing in art tools, and Digimation Inc., a leading provider of 3D models, announced the release of the Modelshop plug-in for Photoshop, which includes 50 3D models from Digimation's Model Bank Collection.
Syd Mead, the renowned designer behind such films as BLADE RUNNER, TRON, 2010, and ALIENS, has joined the EXPOSÉ 2 Advisory Committee. EXPOSÉ 2 is the second in Ballistic Publishing's series of award-winning digital art books celebrating the talents of digital artists worldwide. Advisory Committee members will collaboratively assist in the selection of artwork to be presented in EXPOSÉ 2, as well as take on an advisory role ensuring the highest quality standards.
Finalists in the nine of 12 categories of competition for the Australian Effects and Animation Festival (AEAF) Awards have been announced. Winners in each category will be announced at the AEAF Awards presentation, Dec. 9, 2003 at 7:00 pm. AEAF will be held at the Sydney Convention Center, Darling Harbor from December 7-10.
All finalists entries will be screened during the Awards ceremony in an evening of animation and vfx entertainment
dvGarage teams up with the Gnomon School of Visual Effects up to make Maya more accessible to new users. THE MAYA LAB: VOLUME 1 provides a visual step-by-step introduction to the powerful but sometimes complicated application.
"We get requests for step-by-step training," explained Gnomon founder Alex Alvarez, "but we wouldn't be able to cover everything that we do if we built this kind of training day to day. It's really a daunting task to get it right."
X2: X-MEN UNITED (Fox Home Entertainment, $29.98) has arrived on DVD. The highly anticipated follow-up to X-MEN has director Bryan Singer and crew surer footed with both the comic book conventions and demanding vfx, supervised by Michael Fink, who recently wrote about the history of previs for VFXWORLD.
Kaydara Inc. and MAXON Computer GmbH announced full integration of Kaydara's versatile FBX 3D interchange format into the new CINEMA 4D R8.5 upgrade, MAXON's premier high-end 3D modeling and animation tool. Kaydara FBX allows for the universal interchange of 3D data between every major 3D package and a significant number of second-tier applications.
Cinesite (Europe) Ltd announced that it has moved into production on visual effects for several major feature films, which will complete throughout 2004. These include TROY (Warner Bros.), HARRY POTTER AND THE PRISONER OF AZKABAN (Warner Bros.), ALIEN VS. PREDATOR (Fox), AROUND THE WORLD IN 80 DAYS (Walden Media), SAHARA (Paramount), KING ARTHUR (Buena Vista) and ALFIE (Paramount).
Warner Bros.' GOTHIKA, the contemporary ghost story starring Halle Berry, Robert Downey Jr. and Penelope Cruz, marks the debut of new digital fire effects created by CafeFX. With fire a central motif in the movie, CafeFX was challenged to develop custom software for fire shading and motion in key sequences, and with creating effects that heighten the impact of other frightening scenes.
Veteran motion picture and television animator Everett Burrell has joined Café FX as animation supervisor. Burrell comes to Café Fx from Cantina Pictures Inc. He brings 18 years experience managing teams of 3D animators, 3D digitizers, texture artists, compositors, technical directors and freelance artists, and working collaboratively with directors, producers, art directors and software engineers in defining the creative and technical direction of projects.