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The Apprentice: the new season

And so to the launch of the sixth series of The Apprentice where a screening of the first episode, in which contestants had to make and sell sausages, reveals that the show and its format have sensibly not been changed by one little jot.

Nick Hewer’s back still tutting from the sidelines, Margaret, of course, is off studying parchments but Karren Brady looks like a worthy replacement despite being yet to develop a shtick to rival Margaret’s raised eyebrows. And, of course, there’s Surallan, who’s now morphed into Lord Sugar, a name that sounds more suited to a Mr Big character from a 70s Blaxploitation movie than a businessman and Labour peer.

The 16 contestants are the usual bunch of shy, retiring wallflowers describing themselves variously as “supremely intelligent”, “charismatic” “fantastic” and claiming that “everything I touch turns to sold” and that “my first word wasn’t mummy, it was money.”

To reflect straitened economic times, the line up includes those who’ve been hit by recession including people made redundant, or who’ve gone bankrupt and graduates who can’t find a job to “prove it’s possible to come through and be a winner,” said Lord Sugar at the post screening Q&A.

When asked about the danger of ending up with a group of candidates more interested in getting on telly than working for him, he said the show had “overcome that a long time ago. Occasionally one slips through the net” but “generally I can spot them a mile off.” He said that this series he’d “insisted on some credible people that had achieved something” and that he was “very conscious of having contenders who are potentially good business people.”

The series TXs on BBC1 on Wednesday 6th October at 9pm with The Apprentice: You're Fired, now hosted by comedian Dara O'Briain, on BBC2 after the main show

Posted 28 September 2010 by Jon Creamer

Aardman sets tiny record


Aardman has set a Guinness World Record for the 'Smallest stop-motion animation character in a film', with its new short Dot for Nokia.

The film, directed Aardman collective Sumo Science (Will Studd and Ed Patterson), was shot on the new Nokia N8, with the film showcasing the phone’s 12-megapixel photography capabilities and also the CellScope, an invention by Professor Daniel Fletcher that can attach to a Nokia handset and help diagnose fatal diseases in remote areas of third world countries.

The film features Dot, a tiny 9mm girl who wakes up in a magical, magnified world to discover her surroundings are caving in around her. She escapes the encroaching wave of destruction as her world unravels via a path made up of tiny, familiar objects such as coins, pins, pencil shavings, nuts and bolts, until she finds peace by knitting herself a blanket from the very matter that pursues her.

To create ‘Dot’, Aardman’s in-house production technology engineer, Lew Gardiner worked alongside the Physics Department at the University of Bristol to create their own CellScope production camera. Aardman used Rapid Prototyping 3D printing technology that uses a computer-generated model of an object or character and then prints it in full 3D using a plastic resin material. The entire set was no more than a metre and a half long. The film was painted under a microscope by modelmakers and animated using tweezers. Heather Wright was the executive producer. The agency was W+K.

Posted 16 September 2010 by Jon Creamer

Sky Arts' particle perfection



Brighton's Artillery Design produced and animated the 3D and effects for one of Sky Arts' new series of channel Idents. It was directed by Jon Yeo from BSkyB. Artillery's Val Wardlaw used bespoke scripting and N Particles in Maya to produce the spot and render farms had to be used to cope with the immense weight that the large HD particle systems generated. It was composited in Nuke by Mike Connolly.

Posted 14 September 2010 by Jon Creamer
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