Post Magazine

December 2015

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Page 34 of 51 33 POST DECEMBER 2015 he VFX and animation industry is flourishing. New entertainment platforms are seeking content — and just about every type of content needs VFX. Working globally and collaboratively is a big advantage, and VR and AR both hold promise as potential blockbuster tech- nologies. Here are a few thoughts from industry pros on 2016's prospects. SAM NICHOLSON Founder/CEO Stargate Studios Los Angeles An international production and VFX company, Stargate Studios has 10 facili- ties worldwide. Its credit roster includes six seasons of AMC's The Walking Dead, NBC's new Heroes Reborn, and produc- ing VFX for the final climactic episodes of the Brazilian daily drama, The Ten Commandments. STRENGTHS: "The inevitable Moore's Law: Computers are getting stronger and stronger every day. The convergence of camera technologies, computer process- ing and storage make what was impossi- ble yesterday very possible today — and on an affordable budget. "Global access to talented artists is another strength. There's a remarkable amount of talent out there. We just opened Stargate Mexico City. I went to interview artists and asked them where they learned their craft. They were all self-taught on the Internet! With Adobe and The Foundry tutorials you can learn how to use these tools on the Internet at your own pace. "I'm excited about the global produc- tion community and the opportunities available in foreign markets — the projects we've done for Italy, Spain and Brazil have been huge. The world is just waking up to what we've been doing: feature-quality VFX for broadcast television." WEAKNESSES: "I prefer to think of them as challenges we need to overcome. And time is the greatest demon we all face. Clients ask us to do things we've never seen before or go one step beyond what we've done. As shots become more complex the time to create them becomes shorter and shorter. Everyone wants instant VFX: Why can't you snap your fingers and part The Red Sea? Even though water simulations take 12 hours per frame to render. "Every job is a high-wire act. Nobody knows where the edge of the world is, and you don't want to fall off! That makes it thrilling and scary. You have to have a Plan B — and even a Plan C — in place as a safety net." OPPORTUNITIES: "Collaborating country to country or company to company offers great opportunities. Stargate has 10 integrated facilities now, and I love seeing great shots come in from Mexico, Malta, Canada, Germany. Software is a global common language. The US leads the way creatively and technically, but there's a lot of amazing talent around the world and being able to collaborate with them on an instantaneous basis is absolutely brilliant. "Unlimited forms of distribution are another opportunity. This is the era of the independent publisher, the independent producer. Just look at the success of Lindsey Stirling on YouTube." THREATS: "Close-mindedness is a big threat, thinking you are better than every- body else. Look at the VFX companies that disappeared. They were over-confi- dant and didn't have a balance between good art and good business sense. Film and TV are artistically driven, but they are also businesses. When you achieve the right balance, everybody wins." OUTLOOK FOR 2016: "We've just scratched the surface of 3D — augment- ing reality by using digital art will be stun- ning. It will make what we're doing today look like we're playing in a sandbox. "VFX is essentially a creative, technol- ogy-driven business. We're working with manufacturers to develop products that fit at that intersection of creativity and technology, like a depth-imaging camera with the fastest ever SanDisk storage array that will be revolutionary. We're also working with Sony, Arri and Canon, and with DJI to use drones as a matter- of-fact tool for shooting and mapping. Today, the only thing holding you back in this business is your own imagination. Dream big — you can achieve those dreams now!" JONAH HALL Creative Director/Partner Timber Santa Monica, CA Timber is a design/VFX/finishing com- pany whose recent projects include the T-Mobile "Think Again" and "The Hits Keep Coming" campaigns; digital content and an experiential campaign in Times Square for Beats by Dre Wireless NEW WORKFLOWS BOOST VFX VR AND AR HOLD PROMISE AS BLOCKBUSTER TECHNOLOGIES OUTLOOK VFX/ANIMATION O T BY CHRISTINE BUNISH Heroes Reborn

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