The Visual Effects Society — the non-profit dedicated to advancing the art, science and application of VFX and supporting the artists and technicians working within it — has issued a statement on behalf of its 4,500 members in 45 countries to address the downplay of their contributions to major motion pictures.
This issue came to the fore recently when director Christopher Nolan asserted that there was no computer generated imagery in his historical drama Oppenheimer and neglected to include possibly up to 80% of the DNEG VFX crew, led by Giacomo Mineo, who worked on the picture in its credits.
Andrew Jackson, the film’s VFX supervisor, followed up by clarifying that the film contains no CGI simulations, but does make use of extensive digital compositing to combine practical and in-camera effects. The recreation of the Trinity Test alone utilized about 400 individual elements captured by special effects supe Scott Fisher and his team, Jackson told The Hollywood Reporter. Oppenheimer overall contains about 200 VFX shots, including practical.
THR followed up on this story with a special look at the trend of filmmakers and studio marketing departments insisting on the realness of their films — a particular kind of old school clout chasing amid the VFX-saturated movie scene. One source told the outlet that there are sometimes direct orders to have “no discussion of VFX” in order to not “overshadow the actors” or “break the mythology somebody did all of these stunts.” This erasure denies credit, awards recognition and respect for the artists who elevate today’s films to the next level.
Here is the reply offered by the VES:
“Respect and recognition for visual effects artists has been a longstanding issue across the global entertainment industry — and this story (“VFX Pros Expose the Hidden Costs of Selling a Movie as ‘Real’” 9/1/23) exposed a truth of what so many of our members and VFX practitioners have been grappling with for years. Once characterized as a postproduction role, visual effects pros are now part of the ‘first on/last off’ essential crew, and VFX is an instrumental and ubiquitous part of the creative process. It is through VFX artistry and innovation that stories that were once impossible are brought to life. VFX artists deserve to be justly recognized and appreciated for their enormous contributions as agents of cinematic storytelling and significant contributors to financial profits — just like any other craft that is a key part of the creative collaborative — and not downplayed or cast into the shadows as if they are detractors dispelling an illusion of ‘pure’ filmmaking.
“Speaking in one voice for our more than 4,500 members in 45 countries worldwide — visual effects artists are proud of their work, of their craft, of pushing the envelope to use technology in service to the story. They are proud to work in partnership to bring visually stunning stories to the screen and enrapt audiences. And they absolutely deserve credit where credit is due, as the essential professionals they are. It’s high time to bring visual effects into the light and recognize what we can now achieve — together.”
Learn more about the Visual Effects Society at vesglobal.org.
[Source: The Hollywood Reporter]