Magazine article Screen International

VFX Advantage Conference Helps Filmmakers Hone Visual FX, 3D Skills

Magazine article Screen International

VFX Advantage Conference Helps Filmmakers Hone Visual FX, 3D Skills

Article excerpt

Conference expands to two days at Ravensbourne.

On July 4-5, the Directors Guild Of Great Britain held the second VFX Advantage Conference at Ravensbourne, funded by Creative Skillset. Through case studies, lectures and discussions, the conference allowed filmmakers to gain insights into the latest techniques and practices in visual effects and 3D production, with particular application to feature films.

The conference content was divided into two sections. Day One focused on visual effects, day two on stereoscopic production. Attendance was diverse, with a few delegates still doing degrees, others with decades of experience under their belts, and the crafts represented included cinematographers, compositors, stereographers, editors, directors, producers and screenwriters. In a recent industry survey, 50% of those polled said they needed help understanding how technology is impacting their job. The VFX Advantage Conference sought to meet this need.

Producer Vikki Scott of Fahrenheit Films organized this year's conference, with Directors Guild chair Ivor Benjamin, which was expanded from last year's single-day event. "Visual effects and 3D have been specialist subjects that are now becoming more mainstream. It's everywhere. We've had interest from visual effects supervisors who are in adverts, but who want to cross over into film." It was important to Scott to keep the conference focus on professional feature film development. "We could have opened it out to complete beginners or people interested in the film industry but not working in it, but we wanted people who had a credit who would really be working in these areas."

Scott, currently producing Fortunate Sons, starring Emily Watson, believes visual effects have moved well beyond the summer blockbuster, "I am interested in how it's going to cross over into other genres. I do think that what can sometimes happen with visual effects is that people forget about story. The really great films have a fantastic story in place as well as all the visual effects."

Sue Rowe of Cinesite gave the Day One opening visual effects address. Her keynote on the visual effects of John Carter gave a thorough overview of the visual effects supervisor's place in the current industry. The vfx supervisor was often "First in, last out," Rowe said, particularly with larger, design-intensive movies. The traditional roles in the film are becoming blurred which Rowe didn't count as a negative. …

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