Post Magazine

January 2018

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DEPARTMENT 28 POST JANUARY 2018 OUTLOOK 2018 O DEPARTMENT O DEPARTMENT O OUTLOOK O OUTLOOK EDITORS, COLORISTS AND VFX ARTISTS LOOK AT CURRENT AND EMERGING INDUSTRY TRENDS L ast year ended with the post and VFX industries in strong creative and economic positions and ready to build on their strengths in 2018. Here, leaders in editorial, color correction and VFX discuss the explosion of streaming platforms, the emergence of HDR, the perennial enemies of time and budget and new ways of thinking about quality content and advertising in our continuing, annual SWOT (Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats) coverage. ANTHONY SMITH Anthony Smith manag- es the compositing, paint and roto, and digital matte painting departments at Australia's Rising Sun Pictures (RSP), which he joined in early 2016. Previously, he won a VES Award for Outstanding Compositing in a Feature Motion Picture for Gravity (2014) and was nominated in the same category for Quantum of Solace (2009). His recent credits include heading 2D for Thor: Ragnarok and serving as VFX supervisor for Alien: Covenant and Logan. STRENGTHS: "I think the main strengths of the industry today come from an ever increasing aware- ness of the importance of VFX in enabling directors to create their vision and put it on the big screen. As VFX have become prevalent across the film industry, more and more directors have realized that involving VFX facilities as early in the creation process as possi- ble means better results later on. This has meant that concepting and previs are standard for any VFX-driven movie and, creatively, VFX facilities are driving the creative side of pre-production and production more than ever before. "Standards between companies are also a great strength of the industry — everything from file formats and soft- ware through to pipeline procedures on a broad strokes level. Most VFX people can talk the same language visually, as well as technically, and this really helps VFX facilities all over the world collaborate more effectively to produce great images together. Sometimes I'm amazed at what we manage to pull off in short spaces of time." WEAKNESSES: "Despite building my career in London during the rapid VFX growth there, it's clear that the variation in tax rebate offerings around the globe has distorted competition in the indus- try somewhat and is probably the most difficult problem to solve." OPPORTUNITIES: "One of the biggest opportunities for the industry lies in taking advantage of the keenness of the new breed of students who are studying to become VFX professionals. When I started in VFX, I didn't need my degree, just my eyes and a lot of enthusiasm. Now we're lucky to have some great up-and-coming talent studying here in South Australia, and RSP plays an active role in bringing them into the industry. "Opportunities also lie in new media formats such as VR, AR and light field technologies, and VFX companies will play a big role in the usage of these tools to create engaging media as well as in other markets such as China, where the industry is growing at an incredible rate." THREATS: "There may be threats be- tween regions competing for the work, but globally other than drastic changes to the rebate situation, I don't think there are serious threats to the industry as a whole. There will always be entertainment media being produced and ever more challeng- ing VFX to produce. Budgetary and time constraints will always be a challenge, but the industry has risen to it in the past and will continue to do so. Adapting what we know to new forms of media will be a great challenge in the coming years, and we will need to be prepared with an understanding of how they work and how we can best use them." OUTLOOK FOR 2018: "The VFX indus- try is a huge pool of talent and enthu- siasm, and the demands put on people to do more with less have pushed them to produce some incredible technolo- gies and processes. The demands will continue to grow in 2018 and beyond as the speed with which content is required to be produced increases with the increase of things like on-de- mand content streaming. More sequels, prequels and sequels to sequels, etc. will inevitably appear for what is now considered standard fare in the movie industry, and we'll be striving to make even more impressive images for them, as well as contributing to some other exciting projects along the way." BY CHRISTINE BUNISH

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