Thursday, June 07, 2007

Time's a wasting

Click on the Post title above to go to the Variety article on the time the studios allow for VFX on feature films.

Some film producers like to brag how little time they have and how close they came to finishing right before the release of the last movie. Personally I look at that as a sign of poor planning.

What the article doesn't really address much is the difference between planned and unplanned work. If you have 3-4 months of post time but it's all prepped and ready to go (models are built, R&D done, concepts are done,locked sequences from editorial, etc) then you have a fighting chance of getting good work done. Unfortuantely if the entire film edit is being revised on a daily basis and there are major concepts (look of creature, key effects, etc) that the director still hasn't nailed down, then it's going to be a rough ride. It gets worse if the studio decides they want to have creative control in the last 2 or 3 months.

The studios first lock in a release date and then drag their feet on giving the final approvals. Many of the production departments and shooting schedules continue as always so the post production phase is where things are compressed.

With the increase in number of vfx shots and the complexity of shots the studios and directors end up hurting their own product. Time = quality. With vfx there's a direct correlation in most cases between the quality of the work and the amount of time available to adjust the shot. Note that this applies to shooting schedules as well, that's why most features aren't shot in 2 weeks. Compressing the schedule may reduced the post production overhead but the cost in overtime and the cost of throwing everything at it (including many new shops and people) surpasses these by an order of magnitude. And studios wonder why vfx cost as much as they do. If you have 100 people at a vfx vender who now have to have 200 people working 90 hour weeks to complete the changes on time it's going to cost more.

At the end of the day the less time the studios provide the higher the cost and the lower the product quality.
It takes a strong director and producer to get the work done correctly in a time or budget limited way.

Related post
VFX Schedules

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