Post Magazine

August 2018

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Page 35 of 43 34 POST AUGUST 2018 REMOTE COLLABORATION technology has developed alongside that expan- sion. More and more, we're seeing a production's geographical location — and that of those working on it — possess increasingly less importance when it comes to producing great work. "On Thor: Ragnarok, we employed 18 different VFX facilities, all scattered around the globe. On a daily basis we quite literally chased the sun," says Jake Morrison, Marvel VFX supervisor. "Our days started with a CineSync with Germany. After that, London. Then New York, Vancouver, Los Angeles, and finally across the Pacific to Australia for a last round with Sydney, Melbourne and Adelaide. "But the creative process remained a personal one – remote tools like CineSync allow me to con- vey the vision of the director, brainstorm new ideas with colleagues around the world and — essentially — keep the creative process fresh and engaging, wherever I happen to be." Remote technology has bridged the gulf between a show and its contributors, thanks to the developments that have occurred in the transmission of ideas and concepts with minimal disruption. Today VFX vendors can connect with directors in complete realtime synchronization, thus bridging a previously impassable communi- cative divide and fundamentally altering how and where work is awarded and the way individuals then go on to interact with with a production. Today, creative collaboration can take place at any time, any place, and ideas can be transmitted without losing their original form. It's made for an industry that is, essentially, location-less. THE CHANGING DEFINITION OF 'POST' What constitutes "post production" in 2018 is up for debate. The lines have blurred around when the process really begins. VFX supervisors now routine- ly jump in at the previs stage and artists can watch dailies and feedback during production. Post is no longer strictly relegated to after the shoot. It's often happening before a camera is even switched on. "In Season 7 of Game of Thrones, we were shoot- ing two huge battles at the same time: the Battle of the Goldroad (the loot train sequence) and the frozen lake battle," says Adam Chazen, visual effects coordinator for HBO. "Loot train was in Spain, while we were over in Northern Ireland conjuring up a vi- sion of the war beyond the wall. We were stretched thin, trying to stay on top of it all and making sure we met the needs of each set. But CineSync was in- credibly useful when it came to reviewing the shots and passing them between everyone involved, no matter the international distance." Considering remote technology's facilitation of work across all stages of a project, post production is increasingly earning a reputation as a misnomer. With remote tools, consideration and collaboration around VFX can happen before, during and after. Post is no longer solely an end process. CHANGING ROLES As the concept of post is changing, naturally so too are the roles of people working within that part of the process. In the past, supervisors or VFX artists could not always be in the same place at the same time, and that meant confusing phone calls and convoluted email back-and-forths. But as remote technology has made physical location (to an extent) irrelevant and empowered visual col- laboration, it has changed how people interact with content as it is produced. Lighting artists can consult on-set lighting and feedback with their thoughts; VFX supervisors can advise on pre-production storyboards and determine what is feasible within a narrative; animators can con- sider the space required for character movement within a virtual set. An integrated mindset has seeped into the indus- try, with job titles losing definition. With the advent of remote technology, "generalist" is becoming less a specific title and more an expected condition of any creative's CV; individuals can and should get involved across all stages of a production. "CineSync has revolutionized the way visual effects are carried out – and not just in post," says Boyd Shermis, VFX supervisor on Fear the Walking Dead. "Remote technology has brought the world to- gether as a single community of visual effects artists, studios and production facilities and allowed direc- tors, supervisors and VFX facilities to collaborate on a frame-accurate basis in an entirely new way." THE DECENTRALIZATION OF POST Why encumber yourself with the expensive over- heads associated with a large studio situated in Vancouver, Los Angeles or London, when you can access more scalability and flexibility — at a lower cost — via a remote workforce? Having at least a portion of the workforce as remote and scalable is quickly becoming common sense for many VFX facilities in this increasingly global age. Today, we're seeing the emergence of studios like VFX Legion and Capital T — the former a remote VFX studio with its artist resource scattered all across the globe, and the latter a small, nimble VFX studio based on the paradisiacal shores of Hawaii. Both models work today thanks to the many technological evolutions we've witnessed over the years: the ubiquity of ever-faster broadband, reinforced security protocols, and of course re- mote technology. Capital T's husband-and-wife VFX supervisor/ VFX producer duo oversee work on the biggest films on the planet, including Avengers: Infinity War and Black Panther, all from a beach house overlooking the waters of Maui — a far cry from the VFX hubs of the world. Meanwhile, new technology enables remote studios like VFX Legion to dis- seminate work to artists across the globe. From its Burbank HQ shots can be sent to London, Sydney, Vancouver — wherever the talent happens to be located. The team can then discuss updates to Avengers: Infinity War Rory McGregor

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