Category Archives: Entertainment Tech

The Rise of Visual Effects in Film

If you look back on the history of filmmaking one progression will stand out more than anything else you will see in the industry. We are not talking about the evolution of the camera, though it has been impressive, or even the progression of the lighting and sound recording ability. No, we are talking about how visual effects have grown and molded the very life of film and television. With cutting edge technology we are now able to see new worlds come to life before our very eyes in ways that were not even possible before. While CGI might get a bad rep from vocal fans of oldschool filmmaking we have to realize that it is here to stay. Let’s take a look at a few moments where visual effects truly rocked our world.

‘District 9’ and the low budget CGI.
District 9 came out back in 2009 with South African director Neill Blomkamp at the helm. Blomkamp at the time was a non entity in the world of movies but he had been drumming up some interest as a potential candidate to direct the live action Halo film. That never came to fruition and Peter Jackson, who was producing the aforementioned video game film, instead backed Blomkamp as he went to work on ‘District 9’. The film showcased gorgeous aliens, called Prawns, and over 311 visual effect shots done by Weta Workshop. With a budget of only $30 million, ‘District 9’ showed that big F/X were becoming budget friendly.

‘Inception’ changes our view on dreams.
In 2010 Christopher Nolan stole our hearts forever with his trippy story on dreams and the dreams inside of them with ‘Inception’. The film featured Leonardo Dicaprio and a then relatively unknown Tom Hardy and focused on the traditional ‘heist film’ in a whole new way. That twist on the genre was represented by their ability to control dreams, bending them to their own will. There is a particularly trippy scene developed by the VFX team Double Negative which showcases a city folding in on itself, wowing the audience completely. It took Double Negative thousands of pictures and weeks of effort to get the single shot.

While the two sequences we mentioned above are mega popular examples, there have been VFX teams working quietly behind the scenes for years getting things done. John Textor, former CEO of Digital Domain, knows a thing or two about the industry. His work with Digital Domain created some of the finest VFX and CGI work that we have ever seen on films such as: ‘Benjamin Button’, ‘Transformers’, and ‘Pirates of the Caribbean: At Worlds End’. Now Textor is revitalizing the industry with Pulse Evolution, creating computer generated VFX according to Yahoo Finance.