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Best of the month in vfx animation and motion graphics

From the Storyboard pages this month, beastly behaviour from Glassworks; Lola blasts into space and Picasso crosses dimensions

X-Pollination films
Glassworks’ senior 3D artist and in-house director Dan Hope created a series of films for X-Pollination, a bi-annual event in Amsterdam that aims to bring creative professionals from different backgrounds together to cross pollinate ideas. To illustrate this, the films show animals of different species...cross pollinating.

X-Pollination Jungle from GLASSWORKS VFX on Vimeo.

X-Pollination Alaska from GLASSWORKS VFX on Vimeo.

How the universe works
After Lola completed the visual effects for both series one and two of Pioneer’s How the Universe Works for Discovery, it was again called in to supply vfx for series three across nine cg-heavy episodes. Each episode focuses on a different planet and Lola also had to recreate The Milky Way and a starship travelling through space.

How The Universe Works - Season 3 from Lola Post on Vimeo.

Jaime Pardo
Dolman promo
This is Jaime Pardo’s promo for Dolman track Monobrow. It’s described as a “playful blend of stark geometrics, tattoo imagery and vibrating skulls.” Pardo says, “stylistically I wanted to create something quite trippy
and menacing to match the track. I used a lot of 3D cg effects but in a way that hopefully looks more natural and not too digital.”

One of a kind
Trunk director Rok Predin’s latest film is One of a Kind. The film is described as “a contemplation about all the people who had to meet, all the tiny acts of fate and chance that had to come together, in order for you to sit here right now.” The producer was Richard Barnett and costumes for the 70 characters were created by Sara Savelj. The composer was Daniel Pemberton.

One Of A Kind - TRAILER from Trunk Animation on Vimeo.

Citizen spot
This spot for Japanese watchmaker Citizen was shot by John Kramer and looks back through the history of the brand. Filmed using the respective camera for the era portrayed – from a 1930’s hand cranked 35mm to a 1980’s VHS camera, MPC enhanced or degraded the shots to fit with the era as well as animating many of the older watches.

Rabbit and Deer
Rabbit and Deer, a film by Picasso Pictures director Péter Vácz, is getting its London premiere this month after a successful run through the international festival circuit. Mixing 2D, 3D and stop motion, the film is about the friendship between two characters who live happily in a 2D world and how they learn to live together when one becomes 3D.

Rabbit & Deer - excerpt from Picasso Pictures on Vimeo.

Cream Tease
Cream Tease, a steamy short set on a hot beach during an 80s summer, is the first film from Seed Animation’s  Seed Home Videos strand.

Cream Tease from Seed Animation Studio on Vimeo.

Deki spot
This is Aardman’s ad for Bristol microfinance charity Deki. The spot shows how small loans transform lives in developing countries. 

How we got to now
Peepshow Collective created the animated graphic sequences for Nutopia’s six part series How We Got To Now for PBS.

The Corner
Back to the 90s
The Corner London created this nostalgic spot to promote Nat Geo’s series The ‘90s: The Decade That Connected Us.

Posted 17 September 2014 by Jon Creamer

Matt Rudge on All Creatures Great and Stuffed

A catcopter, a sharkjet, a radio controlled flying rat: Matt Rudge’s new doc on modern taxidermy, All Creatures Great and Stuffed, features some unusual hybrids.

But as both a Bafta-nominated doc maker with credits like The Autistic Me and House of Surrogates to his name and also a regular on the stand up circuit, he’s an unusual hybrid himself. It’s not a career mix that many combine. “Although someone told me Morgan Spurlock once tried stand up.” But, he says, the two jobs are “closer than you’d imagine. When you write a stand up show it’s an hour-long narrative weaving themes in and out. It’s not that dissimilar to a documentary.”

Except stand up places all the focus on the storyteller, whereas Rudge is rarely in the camera’s glare on his documentaries. “On the projects I’ve done so far, I would have got in the way. It would have to be required by the film instead of me being plonked in front of the screen to present.”

And there’s more than enough to focus on visually in Get Stuffed. The modern resurgence of taxidermy made it an obvious subject for documentary. “People don’t know how to react to it. Perhaps that speaks about our attitude to death. Also, I’m not going to lie, there were things like a radio controlled helicopter cat!” And there was bound to be a rich seam of characters, he says. “I don’t think the average person looks at a dead lamb and thinks, ‘I could do something with that.’”

And it’s those characters that are ultimately the focus. “When I was toying with the original concept I thought ‘could we invent the scalpel camera? or use a mini rig above where the taxidermists work like a camera in a mortuary?” But more kit and crew “would have reduced the time I could spend with each character.” And that’s key. “I self shoot as it’s all about the relationship with the contributor. When you get to know these people they open up. There’s a back-story that is quite sensitive. It’s difficult to get that relationship if you turn up and say the crew is just unloading.”

All Creatures Great and Stuffed, Mentorn for Channel 4: Wednesday 10th September

Posted 10 September 2014 by Jon Creamer

Writer Jack Thorne on Glue (E4)

Jack Thorne’s writing covers theatre, radio, film and TV. His latest project, Glue, is a rural murder mystery for E4. Jon Creamer reports

Jack Thorne’s writing career is nothing if not varied, taking in theatre (Bunny, Let the Right One In), radio (People Snogging in Public Places), film (The Scouting Book for Boys, War Book, an adaptation of Nick Hornby’s A Long Way Down) and, of course, TV with Skins, Cast Offs, This is England and the decommissioned-before-its-time, The Fades.

“My big worry is I’ll end up telling the same story over and over again,” he says. And by working in different genres “you’re constantly exposing yourself” to new challenges. “I took two years away from theatre at one point. Then when I tried to come back and write something new I found it impossible. You have to keep in practice.”

Each genre also allows you to tackle vastly different subjects, he says. “I’m doing a play at the Royal Court in December and the plot is a local council working through a budget settlement. You couldn’t do that for E4. But then you couldn’t tell Glue on the Royal Court stage.”

The aforementioned Glue (pictured) is his latest series for E4. In essence, a rural crime drama based around the world of riding stables. The initial impetus for the series came from Thorne’s own rural upbringing in Newbury and a feeling there weren’t “quite enough stories being told about the countryside” and certainly not crime dramas. Although that’s not so much the case now. “Two years in to the development process we heard about this show called Broadchurch. Then about a year after that we hear about a show called Happy Valley...”

So, no pressure then. “You always worry about the shows you’re going to be compared to.” But, he says, Glue is based specifically around rural young people. “Young people in this country tend to be represented as urban young people.” And the crime element in Glue is not front and centre. “Genre allows you to tell stories and it allows you to put people in crisis and that is always a quite interesting way to discover the truth about them.” But the push was to “not worry too much about the police element of it. Hopefully we use genre rather than get controlled by it.”

Channel 4 will have high hopes that Glue, like Thorne’s previous E4 show Skins, can return for series after series. “Certainly now we’ve reached the end we don’t want to say goodbye to these characters,” he says. Although “you don’t want to be stuck in a situation where it’s Midsomer Murders” with a new killing every five minutes.

But bringing a series back needn’t mean it must stick rigidly to its previous incarnation. Drama formats are changing in an exciting way, he says. “True Detective is returning without any of the central characters, just with the promise that the world that was set up would be repeated in some way. If you get it right people will want more so you just try to get it right.”

And planning series two during series one is just not healthy. “We were concentrating on getting the first series right and not worrying too much about the future until the future comes along.” Because Thorne has bitter experience of making assumptions about recommissions. His originated BBC3 supernatural series, The Fades, found itself in the curious position of both winning a Bafta and getting cancelled after series one. “On The Fades, I knew from quite an early stage what I wanted to happen in series two and three, and then I had my heart broken. With this I didn’t want to think about the future, just how we nail this one.”

Like Skins, Glue is a collaborative writing affair with Thorne as the lead. And it’s the collaborative element that makes scriptwriting interesting, he says. “The great thing about having other writers involved is you’re in the middle of writing episode five and suddenly episode three turns up and takes a character in a totally different direction and you see things in a whole new way.” It’s also defined and “led by the actors and what the actors do” as well as other crew: “The location manager can be the best storyteller on the crew. On The Fades we rewrote the opening sequence on the basis of the location the location manager found.”

And whether it’s TV, film or theatre, the writing experience is largely defined by your collaborators, he says. “Working on This is England was very different from working on Glue. My job was to work on the story with Shane [Meadows] then when it’s right my job is done. That’s the way that works and that’s what makes him brilliant. Glue, by its nature, was a lot more constant which is great but has its difficulties. You can walk in from a day on set and you’ve got three hours of writing to do and four cuts to watch.”

As to the future, that is largely defined by collaborators too, he says. “You just hope that the people you want to work with still want to work with you.”

Theatre: When You Cure Me, Fanny and Faggot, Stacy, Burying Your Brother in the Pavement, Bunny, The Physicists, Let The Right One In.
Television: Skins, Shameless. Co-creator of Cast-offs, co writer of This Is England ‘86 and This Is England ‘88 with Shane Meadows.The Fades, Glue
Radio: When You Cure Me Left at the Angel, an adaptation of The Hunchback of Notre Dame, People Snogging in Public Places, A Summer Night
Film: The Scouting Book For Boys, A Long Way Down, War Book

Posted 03 September 2014 by Jon Creamer
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