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Movie Magic


Looks like the Rogue One home video may have an odd assortment of extras.


‘Eastenders’ of all things, is getting some flack for a some bad VFX;

In a similar way to the ‘Walking Dead’ causing a fuss with a badly composited deer (about 27 seconds in) recently;

I can only assume that these shots were after-thoughts? Or that they slipped through the net when prepping the shows?

Or maybe, no-one wanted to pay the extra to do them better?


Sometimes when someone says “There is no more budget” it means “There is NO more budget!”


Kiwis are uncommonly cool and friendly…

…its suspicious


Sometimes, but not as often as you think.

It is also the responsibility of the producer to plan for shots and ensure they have sufficient budget to produce them, that applies equally to live action and VFX.


Have you been rummaging about in my brain again?




We’ve mentioned before that there is budget and also time. Eastenders is almost a daily show nowadays constantly filming, The Walking Dead has US TV deadlines, Lost was picked up for a really bad water effect with a submarine in one episode and that had one of the highest TV budgets ever. One of the DVD extras on that show said they basically had 3 weeks to film and finish an episode ready for airing.

Someone like Gareth Edwards on Monsters had bugger all money and staff but plenty of time and skill to impress with his effects.


Time is often the key factor, quotes for VFX work (like many other jobs) are generally done on time (applied to a day or hour rate).

Big movies involve hundreds of thousands of man hours, spread across thousands of workers.

On a TV show with a fast schedule it’s important to identify things that require extra time as early as possible, that’s something a producer should be doing, and consulting with department heads as and where necessary.

Speaking from personal experience, it’s the pinning down of the “what” that can be a problem. Once the client knows what they want you can start to work out the “how” to achieve it.

If they can’t afford the “how” then they can either come up with an alternative shot, try and find a cheaper supplier, or accept that something won’t be great.

The audience may not be prepared to go along with that.


On big films I think they have a bit too much freedom to change things sometimes.

For ‘Ghost in the Shell’ (no spoilers I promise) Major is wearing a skintight combat suit, and Weta Workshop made it as a practical costume;

Wonderful work!

Except… it was replaced in post. She’s actually “wearing” a CGI replacement in most scenes;

That’s not cheap, but a film on this scale has that option.


I saw the original video but didn’t know it was replaced in post that much.

The more I see even now, the more I struggle to see how they made it for $110 million if that figure is true. They must have cut the money down seriously, elsewhere in the film, I guess I’ll find out when I get the chance to see it.


So much can be on salaries with budgets. The way they tender for VFX means the companies can lose money. An Avengers movie can pass $80m on actors wages before anything is filmed.


It’m more that they are - how shall I put this? - using effects more effectively! Okay, WETA had to invent almost everything for Lord of the Rings. Racks and racks and rooms full of servers. Just the tech has advanced so a huge floor-to-ceiling rack is now a polite desk component. So, time plus tech equals cost reduction.

Also (check me here, Steve) real time has therefore dropped. The true cost is always labor - whether laying cable or compiling data. So instead of expensive techs sitting around waiting for an image to compile, it’s done and up - and that’s pure processing speed.


Throwing people at a solution can definitely save time but that also costs and there are human limits and logistical difficulties.

If you give me 2 hours and 15 staff to make a website it’ll likely be serviceable in a project very difficult to co-ordinate. Give me one expert and 30 hours I am certain it would be better.


It’s something we struggle with. We’re always telling clients that advance notice and preplanning are good things that will pay off for them in the long run, but there’s still the mentality that post production means making all the choices after filming.

Some people genuinely can’t plan, they have to discover things through filming, that’s their process, but others are just prevaricating and that creates problems.


I know that chaos! It’s what made my friend Tim lose all his hair!


It was probably actors budgets - ScarJo is literally the only star in the film, the rest are either japanese actors (who will take less of a salary) or TV actors - with the sole exception of Binoche who probably didn’t get paid much either.

It’s also, @steveuk can correct me here, a lot cheaper to do digital these days then it used to be - with that said, though, the film looked really really good.


A lot of individual things are cheaper. If you made ‘Jurassic Park’ today with exactly the same shots and the same level of detail in the dinosaurs it would be cheaper than it was in 1993.

But what really happens is that people want more shots and they want more to happen in those shots.

I can totally understand why ‘Ghost in the Shell’ cost $110m, but I would believe figures above and below that. It depends on how much work they decided they were willing to pay for?


Presumably they changed it because her boobs didn’t have enough unrealistic definition in the original.

Also, her thighs were too fat.

I mean, the expense was entirely justifiable when you think about it.


There are some good reasons why it was changed, I think.