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Markee takes a look at the amazing special effects work Zoic Studios has done for TNT's Falling Skies. Also featured are animation studios putting a new spin on traditional techniques stock house across the country, and a Spotlight on recent film/video production in the Northeast.
It has been called a family drama with aliens. Although Falling Skies tells the story of the aftermath of a global invasion by extraterrestrials and the survivors’ resistance to it, the TNT series is as much about former Boston University history professor Tom Mason (Noah Wyle) and his relationship with his sons – one of whom was abducted by the aliens and later rescued by the Second Mass, a ragtag group of Massachusetts survivors fighting the alien adversaries. But that doesn’t mean the show comes up short on visual effects. Falling Skies is packed with VFX created by Zoic Studios, Vancouver (www.zoicstudios.com) – VFX that rival any big-screen production.
Most of us see animation every day, but it’s often rather conventional CG or photoreal imagery. Other techniques are thriving, however, including traditional stop-motion animation, CG in the style of stop-motion and CG that pushes boundaries with its beauty and artistry.
Whether a production company is working on a documentary about World War II, a televisions series about the social revolution of the 1960s, a PBS special about wonder drugs or an awards program in the movie industry – or any other project – there will be a footage house that can offer just the right content to make the final product truly shine.
It is no surprise that the filmmaking industry attracts independent spirits. It takes a certain kind of pioneering attitude to complete projects under the stresses of shrinking budgets and condensed timetables. Running a small company in this industry not only requires a trailblazing disposition, but a willingness to learn new skills and to know when turning down a job might be the best thing for your company. With our eyes on the Northeast region of the United States, Markee 2.0 shines its Spotlight on a few small businesses forging their own paths.
With increasing frequency, I have been attending web-based seminars (webinars) on how to be a better editor/journalist (with topics as varied as social media metrics and entrepreneurial journalism). I find that these sessions can be quite instructive, especially when they’re hosted or presented by working journalists who have learned by doing. And the webinars certainly are easy to attend since I don’t have to leave my office. Plus, technology and the publishing industry change frequently, so it is important to stay on top things.
Gary Hartley, creative director with Fox Sports Graphics, asked Los Angeles-based Engine Room (engineroomhollywood.com) to create a new, 20-second opening and graphics package for NASCAR on Fox. The goal was to solidify and grow the series’ youngest audience segment – viewers aged 14 to 28.
Television dramas always evolve, especially during the first two years. Showtime’s House of Lies really evolved. In the first season, it was an edgy, profane, sexually raunchy comedy about management consultants lying to clients and pumping them for cash. Then it morphed into a drama with characters you want to get to know. Many dramas leave that up to the actors. In this case, Peter Levy, ASC, ACS, the show’s cinematographer, uses the camera to help.