inthe00s
The Pop Culture Information Society...

These are the messages that have been posted on inthe00s over the past few years.

Check out the messageboard archive index for a complete list of topic areas.

This archive is periodically refreshed with the latest messages from the current messageboard.




Check for new replies or respond here...

Subject: Computer Generated Imagery in Movies

Written By: Tia on 11/15/05 at 8:17 pm

i'm gonna have to say that even though computer special effects in movies these days is often very nice looking, i think on the whole movies suffer when you no longer wonder how a certain illusion was achieved. when i was a kid i used to wonder, when i saw a movie like jaws or star wars -- or "herbie rides again," for that matter --, "gee, how'd they do that?"

but now there's always a ready answer -- well, they probably did it with computers. and i for one think that the magic of the movies suffers because of it.

what say ye?

Subject: Re: Computer Generated Imagery in Movies

Written By: Davester on 11/15/05 at 8:44 pm

  The novelty of CGI has worn off with me, for the most part.  If used with subtlety, then it can be a usefull storytelling tool, I suppose...

  I dunno, CGI characters, for instance, just lack screen presence, IMO.  I find myself thinking, "Wow, that's some cool CGI" rather than suspending my disbelief and losing myself in the story. 

  Personnally, I'm partial to the tried-and-true man in a rubber suit way of doing things, but I guess that's just old fashioned.  Like you, Tia, I was raised on the original Star Wars trilogy...miniatures and blue screens (or smoke and mirrors...)

  Nowadays, I'm more about the acting than anything else.  Believe me, an entire two hours spent with three men in a single room, if done right, acted right, scripted right and directed right can be much, much more compelling and staisfying than an entire feature length, CGI infested movie.

  I don't know if you own the new two-disc special edition of the 1986 The Fly, but if so, watch the movie with Cronenberg's commentary turned on.  He touches on the subject of CGI in movies.

Subject: Re: Computer Generated Imagery in Movies

Written By: MaxwellSmart on 11/15/05 at 11:38 pm

^ I agree with what Davester said.
CGI in a good movie is awesome.

Subject: Re: Computer Generated Imagery in Movies

Written By: ADH13 on 11/16/05 at 12:00 am



I'm not a big movie person.  So the imagery doesn't really matter to me.  If I am paying attention to how the images are being created, it means I have lost interest in the movie, so I will usually end up shutting it off.

Movies usually just don't appeal to me as much as they do for most people.  Once I start watching a good movie, I usually enjoy it... but I almost never say "Wow, I wanna see that movie!"  I think I have about 6 DVD's still in their packages that I bought about a year ago... and haven't gotten around to watching yet. :-[

Subject: Re: Computer Generated Imagery in Movies

Written By: Mushroom on 11/16/05 at 2:45 pm

I have always been a huge movie buff, and will continue to be one.  And I have also worked "inside the industry".

Myself, I think that CGI is absolutely wonderful.

One thing that has happened over the years is the growth of "Special Effects".  And every 20 years or so, there is a large jump in technology and craft employed in this field.

As a good example, look at 50 years ago, when "cool effects" had a sparkler stuck to the back of a "rocket ship".  Heck, you could even see the wires that held the ship up as it "flew" across the screen.  And that was largely how it remained until the 1960's, when chromakey technology and double matte technology gave us the effects in shows like Star Trek.

The next leap came in the mid 1970's, when George Lucas helped to expand the ability of "high speed photography" in special effects.  This allowed them to make much more detailed models, and to have them doing things that were never envisioned even 10 years before.  That is the technology that made the original Star Wars movies even possible.

The next step actually came along in 1984.  That was the year The Last Starfighter was made.  Why that movie?  Well, computers had been used for years, in movies like Tron.  But Starfighter was the first instance where a real world item was made completely by computer generated effects.  In every previous instance, computer graphics were used to simulate things in a computer world (like in Tron).

But then things stagnated for the next 10 years.  Computers simply were not powerful enough to do what the directors really wanted.  1986 saw The Great Mouse Detective, which was the first use of CGI in a mainstream animated movie.  The complex gears of the clock in the ending sequence was drawn in CAD, then hand painted over.  It was not until 1991 and Beauty And The Beast that we finally saw how powerful CGI had become.

The 1990's saw a huge growth in the industry.  The loss of Brandon Lee forced the use of useing CGI to put the face of one actor onto the body of another in The Crow.  Then Pixar (a joint company founded by Steve Jobs, Apple, and George Lucas) got together with Disney and gave us Toy Story, and A Bug's Life.  Dreamworks gave us Antz.  Then finally in 2000, we had Gladiator.

Gladiator really showed what the future was going to be like.  CGI replaced the 80 year old technology of Matte paintings to create an even more lifelike background.  And even better, it looked real!  You could not tell where the real set ended, and the virtual set began.  In modern movies, there can be hundreds of CGI effects, and they are almost never noticed.

And because of the affordability, even small Independent companies can now create effects that 10 years ago were only available to the major studios.  I have a friend who worked on the 2nd Left Behind movie.  He showed me several scenes in which a crowd of thousands of people was in reality a crowd of only a few dozen people.  They would change clothes, move to another location, then be filmed again.  When it was done, they used computers to blend them all together, and you ended up with thousands of people filling a street.

And George Lucas has taken it a step further.  In his "Special Edition" version of the first 3 Star Wars movies, he recreated the shots the way he wanted them in the 1970's, but technology did not allow.  A great Example is the Jabba The Hutt sequence, which was cut from the original release.  Animation and puppetry at the time simply did not allow Jabba to appear as anything other then a puppet.  With CGI, it looked just like he wanted it to.

And now, Lucas no longer even works with film.  Revenge Of The Sith was the first movie shot on, edited, and distributed 100% digitally.  And expect that trend to continue into the future.  This will bring the cost of making a movie down even further, and allow even more creative control by the director.

CGI killing movies?  Not hardly.  There was a time where the thought of "talkies" would kill movies.  After all, who wanted to hear what an actor said?  And they said the same thing about color, Technicolor, and the Anamorphic lens.  And they have also said the same thing about Video Tape, VCR's and Television.

Myself, I see CGI as a great thing.  I hope it helps create a new generation of Maverick independent film makers.  Producers and Directors who work outside the "Studio System", and making movies on their own, and distributing them through companies like "Lions Gate".

Subject: Re: Computer Generated Imagery in Movies

Written By: Lara Spencer on 11/16/05 at 2:52 pm

CGI is great when it's realistic, but sometimes, it's puzzlingly obvious and fake-looking, like in 'The Hulk'.  I don't expect much from King Kong either, but we'll see.

Subject: Re: Computer Generated Imagery in Movies

Written By: Davester on 11/16/05 at 2:58 pm

Subject: Re: Computer Generated Imagery in Movies

Written By: Mushroom on 11/16/05 at 3:51 pm


CGI is great when it's realistic, but sometimes, it's puzzlingly obvious and fake-looking, like in 'The Hulk'.  I don't expect much from King Kong either, but we'll see.



Subject: Re: Computer Generated Imagery in Movies

Written By: Tony20fan4ever on 11/17/05 at 10:13 am

As a fan of one of CGI's biggest(and I don't mean just famous a great big green ogre)stars...I think CGI is cool. It gives movie-makers another medium to work with. And a lot of what makes a character like Shrek cool is how good of a job the scriptwriters do...They are really the ones that give the character their personality,sense of humor, emotions, quirks, habits etc etc....And also with CGI generated 'stars' the voice talent matters too. A lot like cartoons in that matter.

Subject: Re: Computer Generated Imagery in Movies

Written By: Tia on 11/17/05 at 10:17 am


As a fan of one of CGI's biggest(and I don't mean just famous a great big green ogre)stars...I think CGI is cool. It gives movie-makers another medium to work with. And a lot of what makes a character like Shrek cool is how good of a job the scriptwriters do...They are really the ones that give the character their personality,sense of humor, emotions, quirks, habits etc etc....And also with CGI generated 'stars' the voice talent matters too. A lot like cartoons in that matter.



shrek was cool. i rather liked ice age too. it seems like with animation the rules are a little different.

i thought this was kinda interesting. back in the day "dynamation" was marketed much like CGI is now -- finally anything can be realized on the screen! and a lot of dynamation really did look pretty fabulous, almost as good in its own way as CGI looks.

http://www.unmuseum.org/dyna.htm

Subject: Re: Computer Generated Imagery in Movies

Written By: Mushroom on 11/17/05 at 11:19 am


shrek was cool. i rather liked ice age too. it seems like with animation the rules are a little different.

i thought this was kinda interesting. back in the day "dynamation" was marketed much like CGI is now -- finally anything can be realized on the screen! and a lot of dynamation really did look pretty fabulous, almost as good in its own way as CGI looks.


Dynamation is simply an advanced use of matte shooting, combined with double exposure.  And mattes are still used to this day.  The Trueman Show made extensive use of matte techniques.  The problem is that you can often see the "lines" where the mattes end, and the real action begins.  Watch Clash Of The Titans and you will see what I am talking about.  But fot the time, it was phenominal.

Another problem with "old school FX" is that water often looked very fake.  Look at any situation where the used waters and miniatures, and you will see that.  With CGI water, it looks much more realistic.

Subject: Re: Computer Generated Imagery in Movies

Written By: Tia on 11/19/05 at 9:46 pm

this is kinda interesting...

http://news.yahoo.com/s/nm/20051118/film_nm/animation_dc

"LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - Computer-animated movies like "Madagascar" and "Chicken Little" dominated the animation style of 10 films named on Thursday for Oscar consideration, highlighting the shift to the new form of moviemaking.

ADVERTISEMENT
 



Hand-drawn Hollywood animation seemed almost like a relic of the past as the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences put a total of at least five computer movies on its Oscar short list, along with two others using stop-action motion and another two made in the Japanese hand-drawn style of anime.

Along with comedies "Madagascar" and "Chicken Little," the computer-generated movies making Oscar's list of 10 eligible films included "Robots," DreamWorks' "Valiant" and the upcoming Little Red Riding Hood spoof, "Hoodwinked.""

Subject: Re: Computer Generated Imagery in Movies

Written By: LyricBoy on 11/20/05 at 6:07 am


i'm gonna have to say that even though computer special effects in movies these days is often very nice looking, i think on the whole movies suffer when you no longer wonder how a certain illusion was achieved. when i was a kid i used to wonder, when i saw a movie like jaws or star wars -- or "herbie rides again," for that matter --, "gee, how'd they do that?"

but now there's always a ready answer -- well, they probably did it with computers. and i for one think that the magic of the movies suffers because of it.


Ditto, Tia.

For a truly science fiction movie, I guess the compter graphics are OK for selected scenes that are going to violate the rules of physics.

But today's movies (and some TV) go way beyond that.  CGI is now a total crutch to fill in plot gaps or to mask poor composition and screenwriting.

Check out the new "Incredible Hulk".  He is a soulless graphic image, instead of the one that Lou Ferrigno used to play, where you could see his humanity in there.

As for shows hat are COMPLETELY computer-generated?  I'm cool with that, since essentially what that would be is a cartoon.

Subject: Re: Computer Generated Imagery in Movies

Written By: Tia on 11/20/05 at 7:52 am

^i totally agree with you agreeing with me!  ;)

i was watching land of the lost, the last DVD of the first season, and on the commentary -- they had larry niven and the story editor, i forget his name, and the one thing was that the special effects for that show were so, their resources were so modest that they had to have all these episodes that were about the characters or about all this other backstory -- with the sleestaks and the lost city and all that, every other story was some kinda convoluted pretzel involving time travel and tear-jerker stuff and all that. and they had to do all this stuff to get around not having the money to put in fancy effects -- like miming that there was a "force field" when there was really nothing there.

and all that is part of what's been lost a lot of times, decent writing used because you can't have every shot be a gee-whiz shot. now you can just, if you have the money, have big monsters in the first ten minutes and just phone in the writing.

Subject: Re: Computer Generated Imagery in Movies

Written By: La Sine Pesroh on 11/20/05 at 10:12 am

Has anyone seen "Sin City?" My understanding is that pretty much the whole movie was shot with the actor in front of a "blue screen," and the backgrounds were all computer generated behind them. I thought it was one of the best films I've seen all year, and there's no way it could have been made without CGI.

Subject: Re: Computer Generated Imagery in Movies

Written By: Skippy on 11/20/05 at 5:16 pm

I don't believe the proplem is too much CGI, but rather to little work going into the acting, directing, and screenplay. If you look at some of the the higher rated movies with CGI, many had good casts, screenplay, and direction. You can't fix a bad movie with awesomely good CGI.

Has anyone seen "Sin City?"
Now here's a good example of proper mixing of CGI and all other elements of movie making. Without CGI the movie would probably still fly, but with it the movie is enhanced.
BTW AL-B v. 2.0, nice "Little Red Wagon" gif. I remember that as a child(Gawd, that was long ago).

Subject: Re: Computer Generated Imagery in Movies

Written By: Tia on 11/20/05 at 9:18 pm

i thought batman begins was pretty rockin', and it's the same way -- a good mix of CGI and other stuff.

Check for new replies or respond here...