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Kurtis
04-16-2007, 09:59 AM
Zoic Studios Breaks New VFX Ground in Fox Series Drive
New Render Features in LightWaveŽ v9.2 Help Make Demanding Car Race Sequences Photoreal


Las Vegas, Nevada -- NAB -- April 16, 2007 -- NewTek, Inc., innovator of award-winning 3D animation and video products, today revealed the extensive use of LightWave 3DŽ by the artists at Zoic Studios in the creation of the new Fox Series, Drive. The series as described by Fox is "an action-fueled drama following a diverse group of Americans driving for their lives (or the lives of their loved ones) in a sinister, cross-country road race." The show features locations all over the U.S. but the production is headquartered in Los Angeles, resulting in the extensive use of green-screen photography to transport the audience from location to location. Zoic Studios has developed an entirely new approach to the visual effects for Drive by introducing an omniscient camera that moves seamlessly from the open road in and around moving vehicles.

Full press release... (http://www.newtek.com/news/releases/04-16-07c.html)

Limbus
04-16-2007, 11:47 AM
Nice. Cant wait for Driver. I see that NewTek is raising Lightwaves price. This must mean that it is selling very well. This is great.

Florian

JeffrySG
04-16-2007, 09:38 PM
There's a great podcast about the FX and Zoic too, over at:

http://www.fxguide.com/article415.html

Nicolas Jordan
04-16-2007, 09:58 PM
I watched the first 2 hours of Drive on Friday night last week. The effects with the camera at the beginning were pretty cool! :thumbsup:

hairy_llama
04-16-2007, 10:30 PM
"the show has a budget of US$100,000 per episode to pull off around 130 visual effects shots."

Are they on CRACK? that equals $769 dollars per VFX shot. How do they keep their company running and paying employees??

duke
04-17-2007, 12:06 AM
Maybe they outsourced it.

hairy_llama
04-17-2007, 06:06 AM
I would love to know, because at rates like that I would like to hire them for local TV spots. For 16 VFX shots at $769 I could have an entire VFX commercial for $11,535 dollars. I'm just not sure how rates like that can pay for a 14,000 sq ft. building and 80 employees in LA.

Nicolas Jordan
04-17-2007, 08:28 AM
"the show has a budget of US$100,000 per episode to pull off around 130 visual effects shots."

Are they on CRACK? that equals $769 dollars per VFX shot. How do they keep their company running and paying employees??

Ya, I would really like to know how they manage to charge so little for effects work and still stay in business.

prospector
04-17-2007, 09:25 AM
students

Nicolas Jordan
04-17-2007, 12:19 PM
students

I think the students should be paid industry rates and the guys making the show should pay up for the effects work if they want it so badly. Wouldn't want the cost of effects work to cut into profit now would we.:rolleyes:

prospector
04-17-2007, 12:26 PM
I would think that just like every other industry, you would be on some kind of probationary time period.
With half or less pay, no medical, no 401 plans.
Then if you show promise you can become a reg employee.

But students are just a guess that explains prices. Not saying they are.

But thats how I'd do it.

Training in lue of full pay.
6 months of training then a review.

Nicolas Jordan
04-17-2007, 12:31 PM
Ya, I would think they have a crop of students and interns most of the time that they can pay less than regular pay. I guess it would reduce the risk associated with hiring new talent and put them to the test first.

Cageman
04-17-2007, 01:13 PM
Well, first of all... anyone who has been in this industry for a while should know that VFX for film and TV doesn't pay that much if you compare to commercials. There are only ha handfull of studios that can survive doing only VFX for huge movies (ILM, Weta from on top of my head). Zoic probably has a handfull of projects besides Drive. One of the reasons behind doing Drive with such a small cost could be simple:

1) it is a challange
2) if it turns out good = great reelstuff to use when bidding
3) it is FUN
4) Because they use LW, they don't need alot of artists...

And, as I said, they probably have ALOT of commercial stuff going on that are real cashcows and make up for the low income that Drive may bring.

Ohh.. and some projects has to be seen as investments. Just look at Pans Labyrinth. CafeFX didn't get all the money they should have had, but they loved the project and decided to invest in it... Smart choice because they got to show off some CA and beautiful VFX-work... I guess Zoic think drive gives them an oppertunity to do something unique that they probably will benefit from when some big Hollywood director wants to do something and have seen what Zoic can do...

To add some of my own experience into the this...

When I worked at Fido Film in Sweden I learned that the movie-projects they were involved in were about 15-25% of the total income. The rest was purely commercial jobs. They also did some movie-stuff at some risk; they more or less got even. But the reason behind it was to try to ignite the Swedish movieindustry to give it an idea of what can be done with modern technology and good artists IN SWEDEN. Not to forget; all the guys working at Fido love movies and VFX-stuff and would love to do VFX all the time, but the moviebudgets arn't that big, at least not most of them...

Bog
04-17-2007, 02:11 PM
Zoic. Fillion. Minear.

*sobs*

So close, so close!

Jarno
04-17-2007, 08:06 PM
I have it on bad authority that Zoic pays in Twinkies. After several weeks interns are physically unable to leave the building.

---JvdL---

Nicolas Jordan
04-17-2007, 08:42 PM
I have it on bad authority that Zoic pays in Twinkies. After several weeks interns are physically unable to leave the building.

---JvdL---

A very clever business strategy on Zoics part for sure. :D

DogBoy
04-18-2007, 04:22 AM
A very clever business strategy on Zoics part for sure. :D

And they get a concession from Twinkies. Plus, I have it on even worse authority that they are filming their interns to make a follow-up to Morgan Spurlocks' movie, "Supersaturate me!"

hairy_llama
04-18-2007, 04:04 PM
Even if they were paying students 30k/year I still don't see how it could be done. I'd say it would take at least 3 people 2 days time to create a high end VFX shot from start to finish.

Previs, modeling, texturing, lighting, rendering, animating, chromakeying, rotoscoping, color grading, 2d/3d motion tracking, compositing.

Thats what it takes to pull off most decent VFX shots.

If you pay your guys 30k/year (that's not gonna be very good in LA)
you still end up paying $625 for a VFX shot that's gonna take 6 days to complete.

Not to mention having to pay the creative director/acount manager/ saleries/building/rent/utilities/massive power consumption/software/hardware upgrades etc. etc...

Maybe you are right and this is a freebie while they do commercials?

richcz3
04-18-2007, 04:28 PM
I doubt the numbers are added up on one show only. What I mean by that is that ZOIC most likely has worked out a much wider deal with the production company(ies) involved in producing Drive. If anyone knows of the production companies involved in producing Drive they may be able to see what other projects they are undertaking. Good chance Zoic would have a hand in those as well.

So the seemingly low cost may be guaranteed production rights for shows in development and increases "once and if" productions are picked up for recurring seasons. In other words becomes a hit (budgets go up). The classic deferred payment with vested interest in the long term financial gains.

Speedmonk42
04-18-2007, 04:59 PM
But as for the cost, is it not possible that in a show like drive, many of those shots are very similar, different camera angles?

It's not like they have to start over every shot.

I can't see any way of pricing things simply on the time or number of shots.

Bog
04-19-2007, 03:06 AM
Or (just a notion) the numbers are inaccurate. Wouldn't be the first time someone was vague to the point of untruth on their budget.

I still harbour silly hopes like "Cutting edge studios pay decent money". I know, I know, I'm dangerously insane...

wavk
04-19-2007, 10:35 AM
http://www.fxguide.com/press-482.html

zoic on pathfinder.
prolly lw used too!

mlon

Elmar Moelzer
04-19-2007, 10:48 AM
Hmm, the numbers seem to be to low to me too. The show is being filmed on 35mm which by itself is very expensive (and only demanded by people that insist of having the best quality possible). With this focus on visual quality it would be somewhat shortsighted to invest that little into visual effects.
CU
Elmar

theo
04-19-2007, 03:03 PM
Hmm, the numbers seem to be to low to me too. The show is being filmed on 35mm which by itself is very expensive (and only demanded by people that insist of having the best quality possible). With this focus on visual quality it would be somewhat shortsighted to invest that little into visual effects.
CU
Elmar

Ditto. And I will tell you this much- these numbers give me pause to the point of being forced to give them the benefit of the doubt. Because if this number IS indeed accurate what the heck kind of slave-grade business practices are going on there?

Nothing I hate worse than companies that abuse employees.

hairy_llama
04-19-2007, 05:34 PM
Right on, Theo.

The numbers I have heard in the past make these look INSANELY low.

And if that 100 grand for 130 shots number is correct, our studio will probably end up hiring them in the future. Because that is so low, how could you go wrong?

Cageman
04-19-2007, 11:46 PM
Ahem...

Did anyone read my input on this? :)

Even if Zoic is "loosing" on this project, they do break some new grounds in VFX for TV, and they most likely have other projects that a few people can do that are the cashflow stuff... Other projects "paying" for Drive, sort of. When I worked at Fido I did most of the animation on the "bread and butter" project, while the more experienced guys worked on R&D for an upcomming project. I worked 8 hours /day and didn't put any overtime into the project, still, it payed so much so that the rest of the studio could have taken a vaccation with payments. But they didn,t; they did R&D and some other small, very well payed work!!!

hairy_llama
04-20-2007, 10:16 AM
Right on Cageman, perhaps you are right. Even at my small studio
that happens :)