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Things I learned from a film student

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jon agnew
Things I learned from a film student
on Aug 21, 2008 at 5:43:16 pm

First of all, I know this doesn't quite fit this forum, but I thought you all might enjoy it.

I had a conversation with a Film Student today who clued me in to a few things about cinema of which I was previously unaware. They are as follows:

1. Blade Runner sucks. Especially the special effects.

2. Star Wars was Lucas' first film.

3. Sound effects aren't all that important in horror movies if you shoot it right.

4. Aliens is vastly superior to Alien, which is cheesy and dated. "Thank god they got a good director for the sequel."

5. "Terry Gilliam's visual style is kind of boring. Wait, who is Terry Gilliam again? Brazil? Oh yeah, that movie with De Niro where he plays the missionary in the Amazon. Yeah, that guy sucks."

LOL!!!! *wipes tears from eyes* God bless the UC _ _ film program!



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Mike Cohen
Re: Things I learned from a film student
on Aug 21, 2008 at 5:58:16 pm

That's pretty funny.



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Stephen Smith
Re: Things I learned from a film student
on Aug 21, 2008 at 6:08:22 pm

Oh my, was this film student asking for a job at the same time?

Stephen Smith
Salt Lake Video

Check out my DVD Money Making Graphics & Effects for Final Cut Studio 2


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Mike Cohen
Re: Things I learned from a film student
on Aug 21, 2008 at 6:59:52 pm

somewhat related - I was at my local library, flipping through a young adult book called "Computer Animation" which was on the new non-fiction shelf.

When discussing Star Wars (the 1977 version) I found these shocking quotes:

"It also set a very high benchmark for CGI, featuring sophisticated scenes of animation that were produced by the computer."

and

"Lucas did merge several computer-animated scenes into the final print of the film. For example, in the closing minutes of the film the hero, Luke Skywalker, must navigate a jet fighter over the mechanical terrain of the Death Star on his way to dropping a torpedo into an exhaust port of the ship. The surface of the Death Star was generated by a computer; in the film, the terrain speeds by under Skywalker's jet fighter as the hero evades enemy fighters. It took the computer animators a month to produce two minutes of footage; just forty seconds were used in the final cut of the film."

later when discussing Empire Strikes Back:

"In the film, audiences were dazzled by the backgrounds surrounding the Cloud City, which were created through computer animation."

and the final nail in the coffin:

"And then, in 1983, the third film in the series, Return of the Jedi, included even more CGI effects - some seven hundred images that made it into the final film were produced on the computer. "

If this example, from a book written for young people, can have such inaccuracies, I can only imagine the drivel young people are getting fed in film school, or worse, from their local libraries!

Sure this is an extreme example. Perhaps the author, Hal Markovitz, is confusing the DVD special editions with the originals.

Ok, now I return the book to the library. Should I write the correct information in the margins..?

Mike


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jon agnew
Re: Things I learned from a film student
on Aug 21, 2008 at 7:26:47 pm

There was some 3D animation done for the original 1977 release, though not for the scene described by the author of that book. I found this on youtube. Pretty amazing stuff. I really want to get my hands on that setup.









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Tim Kolb
Re: Things I learned from a film student
on Aug 22, 2008 at 4:25:32 am

[Mike Cohen] ""Lucas did merge several computer-animated scenes into the final print of the film. For example, in the closing minutes of the film the hero, Luke Skywalker, must navigate a jet fighter over the mechanical terrain of the Death Star on his way to dropping a torpedo into an exhaust port of the ship. The surface of the Death Star was generated by a computer; in the film, the terrain speeds by under Skywalker's jet fighter as the hero evades enemy fighters. It took the computer animators a month to produce two minutes of footage; just forty seconds were used in the final cut of the film.""

Hmmm...wasn't the surface of the death Star driven past the camera on Edlund's or Dykstra's pickup truck? I have a very good ILM book around here somewhere...I need to check.

The confusion may have come from the very early computer (if you can call it that relative to what we have today) -controlled camera motion that was used on several shots.

however, with all the information out there on ILM and Star Wars, it does seem like a significant error...









TimK,
Director, Consultant
Kolb Productions,

CPO, Digieffects


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Mike Cohen
Re: Things I learned from a film student
on Aug 22, 2008 at 1:34:28 pm

I thought that the author was confusing computerized motion control or multiplane cameras with computer animation, or as someone else said, the targeting computer and stolen plans animation.

It is actually pretty amazing how low tech the original Star Wars was, versus how incredible it looked on film. To think that movie was made for like 11 million dollars!

Anyway, the point of mentioning this was that inaccurate information, as wikipedia has been accused of, is a problem for young people who, from what I hear, are becoming lazy in terms of research.



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Arnie Schlissel
Re: Things I learned from a film student
on Aug 22, 2008 at 4:51:38 pm

[Mike Cohen] "It is actually pretty amazing how low tech the original Star Wars was, versus how incredible it looked on film. To think that movie was made for like 11 million dollars! "

I often say the same thing about Merian C. Cooper's original King Kong. This is still the yardstick that I use to measure any FX heavy film against. I like to say that the 18" high doll is the best actor in the film!

In the case of both Kong & Star Wars, the VFX are beautifully integrated into the telling of the story, which is often not the case with FX heavy films. A tribute as much to the genius of the crews of Willis O'Brien & ILM as it is the the rest of the people who worked on these films.

Arnie

Post production is not an afterthought!
http://www.arniepix.com/


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jon agnew
Re: Things I learned from a film student
on Aug 21, 2008 at 7:02:24 pm

HAHA! Fortunately for him, it wasn't an interview.

I'm hoping I can have another conversation with this kid...maybe about westerns. He can tell me that Holden Caufield played the main character in The Wild Bunch, Peckinpah was too commercial, and Unforgiven's presentation of morality is too black and white.





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Herb Sevush
Re: Things I learned from a film student
on Aug 22, 2008 at 2:16:12 pm

Jon -

If this is the dumbest stuff you've heard from a film schooler then your living a charmed life.

While statements 2 and 5 reveal a certain level of ignorance and answer 3 indicates some limitations in cerebral functioning not uncommon to the young, his comments re: Blade runner and Alien just indicate that he doesn't like the work of Riddley Scott - an opinion I tend to share - and prefers the work of James Cameron. Surely this is not an outrageous statement - I know many people who prefer Aliens to Alien.

As for Blade Runner, it was revolutionary in it's Art Direction, it had the good sense to show the young Daryl Hannah in skin tight outfits as often as possible, and it provided Phillip Dick with some much needed money and recognition in his last year on earth. Other than that, well what can you expect from a movie that passed over the original book title "Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?" for the empty hipness of "Blade Runner."

Herb Sevush
Zebra Productions


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Mark Suszko
Re: Things I learned from a film student
on Aug 22, 2008 at 4:47:44 pm

This is how it really went down...

http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=5058529870025933880


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Craig Seeman
Re: Things I learned from a film student
on Aug 27, 2008 at 6:03:23 am

Everybody knows THIS was Lucas' first film. Sheesh!





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Stephen Smith
Re: Things I learned from a film student
on Sep 4, 2008 at 2:02:30 pm

jon agnew (jjbutts) [First of all, I know this doesn't quite fit this forum, but I thought you all might enjoy it. ]

Looks like you found the right place to post it!

Stephen Smith
Salt Lake Video

Check out my DVD Money Making Graphics & Effects for Final Cut Studio 2


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