Oscar 2013: life of Pi – #VFXProtest

The VFX Community responds to the victory of the film “Life of Pi”.

Two days ago the film Life of Pi, directed by Ang Lee, won the Oscar for Best Visual Effects. It so happens, however, that the house responsible for the visual effects of the film, Rhythm & Hues, went bankrupt a few days ago announcing the bankruptcy and leaving its numerous employees at home.

Oscar 2013 life of Pi - VFXProtest


In addition to the damage, also the insult.

Yes, because the visual effects supervisor, Bill Westenhofer, during the award acceptance speech was abruptly interrupted by the soundtrack of “The Jaws”, just as he started talking about the problems of R&H, the crisis that is hitting. the VFX industry and while he was also remembering the 400 R&H workers who just then were protesting outside the Dolby Theater.

The saddest thing is that the director, during the usual thanks, thanked everyone – even the guy responsible for cleaning the pool! – except the visual effects artists who brought the tiger to life via CG and created the incredible. scene of the “Storm of God”, which amazed and delighted the audience.

The visual effects community is obviously outraged.
Below you will find a letter posted by Zoic Studios lead compositor Philip Broste on the VFX Soldier blog.

Dear Mr. Lee,
regarding the failure of R&H, the house of VFX responsible for much of the success of her film “Life of Pi”, she said:
“I wish it had been a cheaper, less complicated job [for VFX salespeople]. It’s easy for me to say, but it’s very complicated. It’s very difficult for them to make money. Research and development is very expensive. ; and this is a great burden for all the VFX houses. All of them have been through good times and hard times and, in difficult times, some fail to [survive] ”

I would just like to point out that, yes, R&H can be expensive and yes, it takes a lot of technology and computing power to make movies like yours, but it’s not computer chips or hard drives that cost that much – it’s the artists who they help her create her film.


Oscar 2013: life of Pi – #VFXProtest

So when you say “I wish it was a cheaper job”, I take it personally as an artist. The processing requires hundreds of hours of work by skilled artists and the hard work of coordinators and producers to create the settings and performances of “La vita di Pi”. Not to mention the engineers who wrote all the proprietary code and built the R&H pipeline. That’s where his money went. And I would also say that since the night she just spent [the night of the Oscars], it’s been a great deal for her.

Among other things, the scenes with those wonderful sunsets and panoramas – for which his director of photography, Claudio Miranda, took credit without spending a single word of thanks for the other artists – are the same scenes that, animated, they won her the statuette for best director. It’s nice of her to mention the pool managers during the thanks, but maybe she could also thank the guys who turned that pool into an ocean. And that they put a tiger on top of that boat.

Articol by Elisabetta Paolucci

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