Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Standard-Issue Flapdoodle

Here's the typical analysis of the visual effects biz:

... Between last year’s visual effects-laden favourite, Ang Lee’s The Life of Pi, and the release of Gravity, we have seen films as varied in substance and style as Baz Luhrmann’s The Great Gatsby and Jacques Audiard’s Rust and Bone tie their fates to visual effects (VFX) work.

Visual effects facilities are increasingly responsible for subtle effects in films lauded by serious-minded critics.

Nowhere has this faith in VFX paid better dividends than in Cauron’s long-gestating space opus, which won over audiences and critics with its visual virtuosity.

Restrained and elegant in its use of 3D aesthetics, Gravity is an innovative work of animation: it will surprise many to know that 98% its shots were digitally created, frame by frame, by a team of more than 400 visual effects artists. ...

And of course, after rhapsodizing about the artistry of visual effects, after acknowledging the expanding power and influence of visual effects, there's the wrinkle-browed caveat:

... While there are renewed calls from visual effects artists to unionize, there is also awareness that the budget blow-outs that would ensue from artists being properly compensated would force many facilities to close. ...

It turns out if CG artists want decent wages, benefits and a civilized work environment, they'll bankrupt the companies for which they work and cause visual effects to be shipped to Bangladesh or tax-subsized Vancouver where our fine, entertainment conglomerates can keep their costs down.

Funny how everybody else in the motion picture food chain can belong to a union and everything rolls right along, but if effects artists go in that direction, economic disaster will result. Administrative incompetence, unworkable business models, and bloated overheads have nothing to do with it.


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