The Next Big Thing Goes to the Movies

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If 2007 was the summer of three-peats at the movies, 2008 may be the year of 3D. Beowulf got us started with it's recent 3D release, and in the coming year U2 and Tim Burton have plans to go 3D, and there's rumors that we might see Darth Vader and Luke Skywalker using the force in three dimensions. Of course, it's not just technology that will be the next big thing in movies this year, the writer's strike may have a big impact on the box office, if not this year then likely in 2009 if this drags on much longer. So tell us, what are you looking forward to at the movies this year? A specific actor, or movie, is it the technology, or something else?



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For 2008, I would like to see more plot & character driven movies, e.g., in the vein of Juno.

Sent by Stacy R | 3:47 PM | 1-2-2008

A note on one of the caller's questions concerning Beowulf... I believe the question was whether the trend was to do more movies in the CGI style like Beowulf attempting to look more photoreal. The caller commented that it is difficult to watch this kind of movie. As an animator, I wanted to clarify what exactly is going on with this kind of situation. The phenomenon of feeling uncomfortable with a near photoreal CGI movie like Beowulf, Final Fantasy, or Polar Express is referred to as the "Uncanny Valley." Wikipedia has a good article explaining it more. What's happening with these films is the use of motion capture, or what some filmmakers like to relabel as performance capture.

The resolution, or fineness of capturing motion in the face and eyes is among the largest challenges. Productions that don't take the time to do actual hand animation in addition to motion capture have a very stiff, wooden feeling around the face and eyes which creeps out the viewer. Since we see people and spend our lives reading subtle facial queues, when they're not quite right, we feel that and the performance doesn't resonant with us. The reason we don't feel this way when watching something more stylized such as a Pixar film is the caricatured motion. It's not trying to be perfect, it feels right and animators spend alot of time and sweat to make it look that way.

Sent by bob nelson | 5:22 PM | 1-3-2008

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