Highlander movie FX

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Money...

Postby ravi » Thu May 04, 2006 8:46 am

Money for Nothing was animated by Ian Pearson at Rushes, using a Bosch computer graphics system - he later set up both the Mill and then Mainframe Animation in Canada.

There were other studios doing interesting stuff with CGI - eg Lodge Cheeseman - Bernard Lodge, who designed the graphics and some effects (using slit-scan) on the first Alien film - FilmFex and Geoff Axtells' were also doing effects work, the former doing a lot of slit-scan too.

The guys who made Max Headroom, though, were the most interesting simply because they seemed to be streets ahead of what anyone else was doing at the time, mixing up animation, graphics and CGI - a lot of it "fake" CGI created using 2D animation.
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Postby Ahem » Fri May 05, 2006 6:38 am

Filmfex and LODGE/CHEESEMAN were doing CGI? Really??? I just thought they were more Slitscan specialists, having done Dr. Who and Alien.

Did you have anything to do with the company Camera Effects (who disappeared in 87)?
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Lodge Cheeseman

Postby ravi » Fri May 05, 2006 7:09 am

Lodge Cheeseman were really a design company specialising in broadcast graphics - they did do some CGI but this was usually carried out by another company (whoever was around at the time...)

I think there's a website someplace re Camera Effects - mainly set up up by ex-CE people / person - quite interesting..

I remember visiting a co' called Electronic Arts (not the game co') who did CGI - a lot of people came out of there and went on to do other stuff with different companies eg The Mill, for example...
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Re: Lodge Cheeseman

Postby Ahem » Fri May 05, 2006 3:43 pm

ravi wrote:Lodge Cheeseman were really a design company specialising in broadcast graphics - they did do some CGI but this was usually carried out by another company (whoever was around at the time...)

I think there's a website someplace re Camera Effects - mainly set up up by ex-CE people / person - quite interesting..

I remember visiting a co' called Electronic Arts (not the game co') who did CGI - a lot of people came out of there and went on to do other stuff with different companies eg The Mill, for example...


Never heard of Electronic Arts!

Costas Charitou runs the Camera Effects website- no CGI, but that was one hell of a titles house. Pretty amazing how so many of those guys either left the industry to set up a pub or ended up working on The Matrix! http://www.camerafx.co.uk/

Can you tell me anything more about Digital Pictures Ltd? Cheers

For anyone wanting to know more about Pearce Studios and their simulated CGI, check here:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=h8VZgm6Ykdk&search=terrahawks
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aXiZftLrfNc&search=terrahawks
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8ShtL6pYI90&search=max%20headroom%20art%20of%20noise
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Postby cellarboy » Fri May 05, 2006 4:03 pm

Thanks for those links Ahem. I used to love Terrahawks as a nipper. I'd totally forgotten about the noughts and crosses game at the end of every episode!

The animation still impresses me to this day. You'd swear it was early CGI. Incredible perspective shifts.
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Postby Ahem » Fri May 05, 2006 4:21 pm

The show all round was technically very good, especially considering it's visual effects supervisor was a 21 year old Steve Begg! :eek: That's Rob Bottin territory in terms of early talent!!

NO motion control was used on the show either, and the spaceship stuff especially looks like Space1999 by way of 1980s ILM. Harry Oakes and Paddy Seale were the miniature effects DPs, both of whom along with Begg would make a considerable contribution to the visual effects of ALIENS.

In his autobiography, Gerry Anderson wrote that he had approached Derek Meddings to do the VFX on TERRAHAWKS. Medding's response:

"Gerry, you couldn't possibly afford me".

:!:

It's ironic, because Begg became a Meddings protege on films like BATMAN (the ultimate passing of the mantle being Begg as model unit supervisor on both the new BATMAN BEGINS and James Bond film CASINO ROYALE).

TERRAHAWKS use to terrfy me in the 80s. Ever remember the episode where Zelda is eating jelly? I haven't touched the stuff since 1985.
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Postby cellarboy » Fri May 05, 2006 7:02 pm

Ahem wrote:TERRAHAWKS use to terrfy me in the 80s. Ever remember the episode where Zelda is eating jelly? I haven't touched the stuff since 1985.


Oh my god yes. Zelda and her kids are some of the most disturbing (and disgusting) creations on kids tv ever! They always had some slimey looking gunk coming out the sides of their mouths. The show always seemed to be on while I was eating my dinner too. Uggh. Oh and that freaking demonic looking Teddy Bear! I know now why I have such an ingrained hatred of the mascot for snuggles fabric softener!

http://www.fab1.net/t-hawks/yuri-1.jpg
http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/en/b/b4/342956670_l.jpg

They're right up there with the guy with the bowler hat no face from 'Sapphire and Steel' for giving me nightmares. Haven't been able to look at a René Magritte painting without feeling uneasy ever since seeing that show.

*Cellarboy pines for his long since lost Terrahawks annual and diecast Battlehawk toy*

http://www.fab1.net/t-hawks/b-hawk.htm
http://www.fab1.net/t-hawks/th-ann83.htm

Ahh, the just don't make enough nightmare-inducing kids TV these days....
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Postby Ahem » Sat May 06, 2006 6:22 pm

Is it merely coincidence that in another forum I was involved in a discussion about Sapphire and Steel :?:

Glad, for all of our shakey beginnings, Cellarboy, that our love of TERRAHAWKS has proven that underneath we were all traumatised by a show "photographed in SUPERMARCOMATION and HUDSONCOLOUR"!! :lol: :wink:
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Terrahawks etc

Postby ravi » Sun May 07, 2006 7:32 am

Another apocryphal story coming up...I visited Beggs set-up at Bray and met Alan Marques there, who was working with Begg on a prototype Motion Control rig - this was just after they had made the pilot for "Space Precinct" - they were making a test piece featuring a space battle and I think were hoping to use Mo-Con for the series but I think it never got beyond this stage since CGI was used for the ships for the most part...

Very interesting though - there were props from the pilot knocking around eg the Blade Runner style police vehicles - but I don't think the pilot was ever aired...

Incidentally - I worked on the pilot for the proposed Dan Dare TV series which never happened in the late 80s (not the early 80s aborted version) - the pilot they made was pretty ropey in the Live Action & make-up dept, but the CGI ships were created by Ron Thornton and looked pretty good...I have a VHS somewhere of the finished piece which is actually not bad despite the above shortcomings....
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Re: Terrahawks etc

Postby Ahem » Sun May 07, 2006 9:58 am

ravi wrote:Another apocryphal story coming up...I visited Beggs set-up at Bray and met Alan Marques there, who was working with Begg on a prototype Motion Control rig - this was just after they had made the pilot for "Space Precinct" - they were making a test piece featuring a space battle and I think were hoping to use Mo-Con for the series but I think it never got beyond this stage since CGI was used for the ships for the most part...

Very interesting though - there were props from the pilot knocking around eg the Blade Runner style police vehicles - but I don't think the pilot was ever aired...

Incidentally - I worked on the pilot for the proposed Dan Dare TV series which never happened in the late 80s (not the early 80s aborted version) - the pilot they made was pretty ropey in the Live Action & make-up dept, but the CGI ships were created by Ron Thornton and looked pretty good...I have a VHS somewhere of the finished piece which is actually not bad despite the above shortcomings....


When was that SPACE PRECINCT visit? There was the 1986 pilot called SPACE POLICE which Begg model unit directed at Bray, and then there was the 1994 SPACE PRECINCT series, models shot at The Magic Camera Company at Shepperton. Most of SPACE PRECINCT's space stuff was actually motion control, Steve Begg told me that Rick Mietowski (spe?) and Nigel Stone worked on a stage by themselves (loading, setting up the camera, doing the grip and electric work too) throughout the whole series! The 2D work comped on the miniatures was Alan Marques and Steve Begg on the Matador 2D paint system. Marques and Alan Cameron are credited for a lot of the 3D CGI work.

I know Alan Marques was also involved with an Anderson project in the late 80s that was suppose to be loaded with CGI (but never made it to completion).

Do you know who the DP was on the Dan Dare TV show?
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Space Police

Postby ravi » Thu May 11, 2006 5:23 am

1989 / 90, I think...no I don't know who the DP was on Dan Dare - it was a very rushed affair from what I recall, as in shot very fast...
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Postby Ahem » Fri May 19, 2006 5:39 am

Aah, as early as that?? Whoa!

This isn't you is it, Ravi?:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-w7pdSaP6hQ&search=queen%20magic
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Postby boneheadfx » Fri May 19, 2006 10:11 am

John Deacon's bass line in that Queen song rules the Earth.

Money for Nothing was animated by Ian Pearson at Rushes, using a Bosch computer graphics system - he later set up both the Mill and then Mainframe Animation in Canada.


Just out of curiosity, were these fellows involved in the 3D graphics for the video "The Big Money" by Rush? Some of those reminded me of the Money For Nothing graphics.

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Lodge Cheeseman

Postby aj.buchan » Tue Jul 25, 2006 7:23 am

ravi wrote:
"Lodge Cheeseman were really a design company specialising in broadcast graphics - they did do some CGI but this was usually carried out by another company (whoever was around at the time...)

I think there's a website someplace re Camera Effects - mainly set up up by ex-CE people / person - quite interesting..

I remember visiting a co' called Electronic Arts (not the game co') who did CGI - a lot of people came out of there and went on to do other stuff with different companies eg The Mill, for example... "

FWIW: I worked at FilmFex from 1975 to 1980 and shot most of the Lodge Cheeseman SFX material during that time. We did a lot of slit scan and "streak" work where streak referred to using backlit outline artwork with similar time exposure motion effects to slit scan. The artwork was then changed on a frame-by frame animation basis between each exposure run. Some of the streak artwork was CGI, often produced by John ? (old age kicking in) at Middlesex Polytechnic. I think he branched out on his own later. We also used his CGI images for BBC work with designers like Liz Friedman and Oliver Elmes. The streak technique was also used with live action film images for Sportsnight and Morons from Outer Space (!).

All this was in the days of 35mm film cameras working with computer generated images - albeit with computer controlled camera rigs - rather than true CGI as now. At Axtell's ('83 - '85) we used a more impressive US designed motion control computer (programs on floppy disks instead of cassettes), but the basics were the same. TeleCine/Cell also got in on the act before specialising in video with Quantel's Harry effects generator.
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Postby Ahem » Tue Jul 25, 2006 10:57 am

Aj-

WELCOME!!!! :)

So you must have been involved with the ALIEN Nostromo explosion and possibly the Dr Who title sequence?

You mentioned Middlesex Polytechnic- was this the same as the Harrow College of Art and Design, credited at the end of the original SUPERMAN? I am not entirely clear on who did what for the groundbreaking SUPERMAN titles- I know Dennis Rich and the Greenbergs designed them but they were executed over here in the UK at CAMERA EFFECTS- is this true (macro backings by Oxford Scientific of course)?

MORONS had top drawer visual effects overseen by David Speed, who had done all of those technical VFX TV commercials up in Bradford before doing the Zoptic stuff on SUPERMAN I and II so I am not suprised he made use of the slit scan.
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Postby aj.buchan » Tue Jul 25, 2006 5:24 pm

So you must have been involved with the ALIEN Nostromo explosion and possibly the Dr Who title sequence?

Thanks for the welcome.

At FilmFex I shot the Nostromo explosion sequence and all the Mother computer screen material for Alien. (Sneeze and you've missed it, but it took hours to shoot and optical - Dave Smith, later at Camera Effects, now with CapitalFX, did the aerial image work.) The Doctor Who titles were designed by Bernard Lodge and shot by Pat Joseph; I'm sure that they were both still at the BBC then; Pat's still in the biz, somewhere in Soho I think.

You mentioned Middlesex Polytechnic- was this the same as the Harrow College of Art and Design, credited at the end of the original SUPERMAN? I am not entirely clear on who did what for the groundbreaking SUPERMAN titles- I know Dennis Rich and the Greenbergs designed them but they were executed over here in the UK at CAMERA EFFECTS- is this true (macro backings by Oxford Scientific of course)?

Camera Effects were very much the competition at the time, their gov'nor Roy Pace was responsible for the initial version of the Texas Instruments based Pacesetter programme that we used for slit scan, but I'm not sure who operated on the Superman sequence. My involvement was later on S III - a bunch of rockets chase Superman, he kicks out and flips one over, they all explode. I had a print of Christopher Reeve's action on blue screen which I lined up carefully (rotoscope) with the animated rockets so that his foot made contact with the nose cone of the lead rocket. If you frame-by-frame the movie (I'm that sad) you'll see that the rocket starts to flip one frame before his foot gets there. I needn't have been so pernickety.

On the College side, I don't think M'sex and Harrow were connected, but it's 30 years ago, so I may well be wrong there. I know I've worked with Oxford Scientific materials but can't remember which production(s) it would have been on. Almost certainly Lodge/Cheeseman were involved.
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Postby Ahem » Wed Jul 26, 2006 5:43 am

Thanks for the info!

Were you part of the OPTICAL FILM EFFECTS LTD crew on SUPERMAN 3 or was that subcontracted work?

OFE get sole credit for optical effects on SM3 (although efects animator Peter Chiang is uncredited), but I do know trravelling matte work was done in the States at CINEMA RESEARCH CORP by Peter Donen. Any idea what other shops worked on that flick? You weren't on SUPERGIRL or SANTA CLAUS? Did you work directly with Roy Field?
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Postby aj.buchan » Wed Jul 26, 2006 7:07 am

[i]Were you part of the OPTICAL FILM EFFECTS LTD crew on SUPERMAN 3 or was that subcontracted work?

Superman 3 was subcontracted work while I was at National Screen's Telefects (Soho) unit. I think the animator was Richard Taylor but neither of us rated a credit on the movie. It was the same with Alien and a load of movie title sequences shot at National Screen - sometimes there was a company credit, but no individuals. The only credit I have is on Watership Down, good old fashioned cell animation, though there was some multi-plane work. The visual effects work was more anonymous, much of it for TV titles & promos or commercials. FWIW a Pat Joseph is currently Creative Director at The Mill, so if it's the same guy he's still very much involved in the industry. (I've been 'out of industry' for 20 years, so I'm a wee bit out of touch.)
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Postby malducin » Wed Jul 26, 2006 11:22 am

Welcome to the boards aj.buchan!!! Lots of good info.

I do remember vaguely that another company had also the name Electronic Arts ages ago.

Were you at Axtel for The Keep?

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Postby aj.buchan » Wed Jul 26, 2006 1:20 pm

Were you at Axtel for The Keep?

Hi malducin

No, I wasn't involved in The Keep at Axtell's. One guy who probably was though is Martin Bullard the aerial image specialist there at the time who also did the live action scan work for MORONS. Now Axtell's has gone, Martin and a couple of the others are still working their magic as Cineimage.
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