animation is changing the way movies are made,
writes Stan James
IT may not be obvious to those
whose breath is taken away by the
astonishing Cyberworid 3-D extravaganza
that a film-making revolution is
not far away.
In feature movies, humans are going to be replaced by computer-generated
It has happened in a small way with Jar Jar Binks in Star
Wars Episode One.
Then there was Final Fantasy, the boring space drama with
computer generated characters accompanied with actors'
The warning bells in the Screen Actors Guild should have
been ringing loudly after having a look at that.
Cyberworld, the stunning IMAX 3-D compilation of dazzling
dramatic, musical and cartoon scenes, shows just what is
possible and how far forward the digital computer imagery
has leapt in the past five years.
Cyberworld producer Steve Hoban, on the line from Los Angeles,
believes Final Fantasy-style characters will replace real-life
actors very soon.
"It's inevitable," Hoban says. "Live actors will never disappear
completely but there's no question the first people to disappear will be stunt
people. What they do is dangerous and expensive. "With a virtual animated
character, there is no danger involved and the process is going to become cheaper
every six months."
Hoban says that with stunt people, it takes much time to
set up the scene and perform it.
"It will be cheaper and safer to do it digital and the film-makers will
have more control," he says. "When you want Arnie Schwarzenegger doing
something that you have a stunt man doing, it's faked and you can't see Schwarzenegger's
face. It's a stunt guy.
"Now you can put a digital Schwarzenegger in. These are exciting times."
Cyberworld is a dazzling, visual smorgasbord of just how
far computer-animated films have moved - with something
resembling lightning speed. The creative abilities, stunning
in a 3-D experience that gives new meaning to third dimension,
are i in compilation. It includes a futuristic presentation
of how sea creatures will evolve, a Jules Verne-style showbiz
air machine and cartoon scenes from the movie Antz and
Homer and Bart Simpson, a long way from their home, and
in a new world.
The show is hosted by slim, trim, pretty and cool Phig,
who looks and acts like a real girl. But she's just a collection
of electronic blips skilfully put together.
"The 3-D technology has a long history," says Hoban. "My co-producer
is head of technical production at IMAX. He was doing technical work with a couple
of companies who were taking digital material created for regular feature films.
One had just done the film Fly Away Home, about a girl leading wild geese on
their migration path from Canada to Florida."
They took the original geese test and the data which was
for usual flat screen, went back into the original data
and created two "cameras", the same space apart
as human eyes, and re-recorded it. There were then two
strips of film for each eye. IMAX saw it and "was
amazed", says Hoban.
Several years ago, Hoban's colleague was watching the movie
Toy Story, which featured new, digital animation. "It
occurred to him that with all the data stored in a computer,
it should be possible to take it and go through the two-'camera'
process," says Hoban. "You could turn Toy Story
into an IMAX 3-D movie."
And to prove his point, that's what Hoban has done with
the sequence from Ants in his film.
article is from "The Advertiser" Guide
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