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Friday, 24 February 2017

New Documentary: Hollywood's Greatest Trick

I just became aware of a 2-day old article about a documentary available in full, showing the current situation of visual effects workers in Hollywood's film industry.

Hollywood's Greatest Trick

It talks about how the industry has been able to continue to raise the bar on the quality and increased number of visual effects shots in an average Hollywood film.

The revenue generated by these films are also discussed. This is put in context when compared to the overheads and marginal profits that can be made from film to film. The documentary then shows that on top of struggling just to break even, what visual effects vendors and companies are up against when bidding for movies to be awarded to them from a limited and fixed pool of client studios.

At the artists level, the film talks about how artists are expected to work long hours, and their passion for their work was being taken for granted, oftentimes for the benefit of the clients.

More and more companies are hiring on a per-project basis, and they set-up offices in places that allow them to operate at the cheapest costs (labour costs and tax breaks offered to film-related business activities). Artists are forced to move with the companies, in order to find work, and that may only last for a few months to a year, as most companies hire on contract terms nowadays.

If you have friends, family or relatives working in the visual effects industry, or if you just enjoy Hollywood films, or maybe you enjoy watching behind the scenes featurettes, fascinated by what visual effects can do, it is definitely worth your time watching this film.

It is my hope that more people become aware that behind the beautifully magical visuals of Hollywood films lie not just advanced image manipulation technology and software, but also a huge team of highly skilled workers who work the software and craft their shots.

In the middle of the article, there is an excellent infographics animation that clearly introduces the major stages of how a visual effects shot is created. It is really enlightening and can be easily understood by the lay person. I highly recommend watching this!