7th June – Stu’s Friday Filmmaking Wonders

21 Stu's Friday Filmmaking Creative Tips & Wonders

The world of filmmaking is ever-evolving, influenced by technological advancements that continuously redefine the boundaries of what’s possible on screen. From the advent of artificial intelligence to the intricate artistry of visual effects, these innovations are shaping the future of cinema. This blog delves into three distinct aspects of modern filmmaking, exploring how AI is transforming the industry, the critical differences between VFX, CGI, and SFX, and then finally we take a look at how a talented young filmmaker recreated that iconic ‘Foot shot’ from Barbie.

Is This the End of Filmmaking as We Know It?

 

A recent article from No Film School discusses the heated debate among filmmakers regarding the rise of artificial intelligence (AI). The article highlights both the excitement and the fear surrounding AI’s potential impact on the industry.

AI doesn’t replace artists; it augments their capabilities, acting as a superpower that enhances creativity. For instance, one filmmaker used AI to create an entire trailer in just two weeks with a budget under $500. This is akin to having Jarvis from Iron Man assist you, making complex tasks more manageable and opening up new creative avenues. Just as AI has revolutionised chess without diminishing its human appeal, it can enhance filmmaking without replacing the human touch. People still prefer watching human performances and storytelling, much like they prefer watching human athletes over robots, despite the robots’ technical superiority.

While AI can’t replace the artist, it can replace certain labour aspects of filmmaking. This shift might be daunting, but it’s a wave that filmmakers need to learn to surf. Historically, technological advancements have always disrupted certain jobs while creating new opportunities. The key is adaptation. Those who can evolve with the technology will find new ways to thrive, while those who resist might struggle. Despite the fears, filmmaking has never been more accessible or profitable. More filmmakers today are making a living from their craft than ever before, thanks to the democratisation of technology. The challenge is to continue evolving and leveraging these new tools to enhance storytelling and production efficiency.

Technological progress is unavoidable and often painful, but it’s essential for growth. Just as the invention of the lightbulb made oil lamp lighters obsolete, AI will change certain filmmaking roles. Embracing these changes and using them to create something better is the way forward. The future of filmmaking lies in the seamless integration of these technologies, enabling creators to produce more ambitious and visually stunning projects than ever before.

 

VFX vs. CGI vs. SFX — Decoding the Debate

 

An article from Studiobinder explores the differences between visual effects (VFX), computer-generated imagery (CGI), and special effects (SFX), providing clarity on these essential filmmaking techniques.

 

 

VFX encompasses the integration of real footage with manipulated imagery to create realistic environments that would be dangerous, expensive, or impossible to capture on film. It includes both CGI and practical effects (SFX). CGI, a subset of VFX, involves creating photorealistic or stylised images with computer software, such as entire landscapes or animated characters. CGI is heavily rooted in digital artistry, involving stages like modelling, texturing, and animation. VFX, on the other hand, includes additional steps like compositing and matte painting, where digital and live elements are combined. This combination is essential for creating believable cinematic experiences. SFX refers to practical effects performed on set, such as mechanical effects, makeup, and controlled explosions. While VFX is predominantly digital, SFX brings a sense of tangibility that digital effects alone can’t match. Films like “Pan’s Labyrinth” and “Mad Max: Fury Road” are prime examples of SFX’s impact, where practical effects enhance the realism and immediacy of the action.

Case Studies

  • Star Wars: A New Hope: Pioneered the use of miniatures and practical effects, setting a new standard for visual effects in cinema.
  • Avatar: Relied heavily on digital effects and mo-cap technology to create immersive worlds, pushing the boundaries of what CGI can achieve.
  • Oppenheimer: Blends practical and digital effects to recreate historical events with stunning realism.

These examples highlight how VFX, CGI, and SFX work together to create the cinematic experiences we cherish. The future of visual effects lies in mastering the art of blending these techniques to tell compelling stories.

 

Recreating the iconic foot shot from Barbie

 

This week we saw a fantastic new TikTok video from William H Baker that gave an in-depth look at the meticulous craftsmanship behind recreating the iconic foot shot from the film ‘Barbie’. Very impressive stuff indeed! Here’s a very brief rundown on how he recreated the shot.

@william.h.baker

The iconic foot shot from Barbie… you would not believe how much work went into this little shot😅 First time having a set built, but my friend Anna did such an amazing job! And thank you to @DZOFILM for sending out the VESPID 75mm to make this happen! #barbie #filmmaking #behindthescenes #shotrecreation

♬ original sound – William H Baker

 

The process began with purchasing the necessary props and materials, including heels and building supplies. After two days of cutting and painting, a set that looked messy in person but perfect on camera was constructed. This attention to detail is crucial in filmmaking, where the final product must always look impeccable. Lighting plays a pivotal role in achieving the desired visual effect. In this case, a backlight and a large soft light were used to recreate the lighting from the original shot. The camera choice and movement were equally important. Initially, the camera move was attempted in post-production, but the lack of parallax led to an unnatural look. Switching to a DZIO film vspid 75 millimetre lens and using a camera slider achieved the right parallax effect, ensuring the shot’s authenticity.

Filmmaking often involves problem-solving on the fly. For instance, the absence of a pre-ordered blue screen led to improvising with a makeshift version. This adaptability is a crucial skill in filmmaking, allowing for creative solutions when things don’t go as planned. In post-production, Photoshop was used to generate painted mountains to replace the blue screen, and 3D camera tracking ensured the background stayed consistent with the movement. This blend of practical effects and digital enhancements is a hallmark of modern filmmaking, where the boundaries between real and artificial are seamlessly blended.

 

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