WETA Digital’s Joe Letteri and Dan Lemmon Talk DAWN OF THE PLANET OF THE APES, Technical Challenges, Deleted Scenes, and Future Projects

by     Posted 82 days ago

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The visual effects company Weta Digital became a household name following their groundbreaking work on the Lord of the Rings trilogy, and they’ve worked on a number of other impressive films in the interim, ranging from District 9 to Avatar to Man of Steel.  With Rise of the Planet of the Apes, however, the company built upon the technology used to bring Gollum to life in Lord of the Rings to create phenomenal motion-capture apes.  That technology has advanced even further for the sequel, Dawn of the Planet of the Apes, with astounding results.  What Weta has accomplished in conjunction with the actors that played the Apes is a huge step forward for how technology can shape a movie.  I cannot wait to see where it goes from here.

At the recent San Francisco press day I landed an exclusive video interview with senior visual effects supervisor Joe Letteri and visual effects supervisor Dan Lemmon about their work on the film.  They talked about advancements in technology and the challenges of bringing realism to the screen, deleted scenes, the technical challenges in the script, what it was like working with Matt Reeves, what it meant shooting a majority of the movie on location, future projects like Batman v Superman and The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies, and a lot more.  Hit the jump to watch.

Weta Digital’s Joe Letteri and Dan Lemmon Talk Building to LOTR with THE HOBBIT: THE BATTLE OF FIVE ARMIES; Confirm They’re Working on BATMAN V SUPERMAN

by     Posted 94 days ago

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The visual effects company Weta Digital became a household name following their groundbreaking work on the Lord of the Rings trilogy, and they’ve worked on a number of other impressive films in the interim, ranging from District 9 to Avatar to The Avengers.  With Rise of the Planet of the Apes, however, the company built upon the technology used to bring Gollum to life in Lord of the Rings to create phenomenal motion-capture apes.  That technology has advanced even further for the sequel, Dawn of the Planet of the Apes, and Steve recently got a chance to speak with senior visual effects supervisor Joe Letteri and visual effects supervisor Dan Lemmon about their work on the film.

During the course of the interview, Steve also asked Letteri and Lemmon about Weta’s progress on The Hobbit: The Battle of Five Armies.  They talked about ensuring that the titular battle has massive stakes and builds a bridge to the Lord of the Rings trilogy.  Additionally, Letteri confirmed that Weta is also working on Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice.  More after the jump.

TOP 5: THE HOBBIT: THE DESOLATION OF SMAUG, First Trailer for GODZILLA, POMPEII Set Visit, TERMINATOR Reboot News, JUPITER ASCENDING Trailer

by     Posted 291 days ago

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What began as a way to keep my mind off of my upcoming fantasy football playoff matchup has blossomed into a full-on love affair. Over the past week I’ve watched a considerable amount of Parks and Recreation via Netflix and I couldn’t be happier with my time killer of choice. I’ve made it through the first three seasons, all of which have delivered consistent laughs and excellent character moments (Ron’s inability to resist his ex-wife and Leslie’s attempt to stay awake during Pawnee Cares’ diabetes telethon come to mind). I’ll admit that my television viewing is often marred by my own skepticism. When Parks debuted, I watched the first few episodes and wrote it off as cutting and pasting The Office‘s format into a small town, local government setting. These last few days I’ve realized that’s almost exactly what Parks is and yet I couldn’t care less because it’s smart, funny, and endearing at nearly every turn.

My new found love of Parks and Recreation now officially on the record, this week’s Top 5 includes The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug interviews and review, the first trailer for director Gareth EdwardsGodzilla, a recap of Steve’s visit to the set of Paul W.S. Anderson‘s Pompeii, several bits of news out of the Terminator reboot camp, and the first trailer for The Wachowski Siblings‘ latest Jupiter Ascending. What comes next is a brief recap and link to each of the above.

Weta Digital’s Sr. Visual Effects Supervisor Joe Letteri Talks THE HOBBIT: THE DESOLATION OF SMAUG, MAN OF STEEL, DAWN OF THE PLANET OF THE APES, More

by     Posted 292 days ago

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About a year ago I landed an extended video interview with Weta Digital’s Sr. Visual Effects Supervisor Joe Letteri for Peter Jackson’s The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey.  During our wide ranging conversation we talked about everything from how performance capture technology has reached a new level in terms of integrating CG characters into live-action filming, to how they didn’t use miniatures on The Hobbit, and so much more.  With the second installment in the trilogy (The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug) now in theaters, a few days ago I landed a new video interview with Letteri here in Los Angeles.   He talked about the technical advancements they made to create Smaug, how they decided to visualize Smaug’s speech, the time required to render visual effects like the billion coins in Smaug’s vault, just how many people worked on the film, the Desolation of Smaug extended edition, and so much more.

In addition, with Weta working on other projects, we talked about Zack Snyder’s Man of Steel (Weta did the incredible opening on Krypton), whether Weta will be doing some of the effects on Batman vs. Superman, the Tintin sequel, Matt Reeves’ Dawn of the Planet of the Apes, what it will take for motion capture to be recognized as a legitimate art form, and more.  Hit the jump to watch.

TOP 5: A GOOD DAY TO DIE HARD, THE MORTAL INSTRUMENTS: CITY OF BONES Set Visit, VES Awards Interviews, BEAUTIFUL CREATURES, Toy Fair 2013

by     Posted 1 year, 227 days ago

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Before I dive headfirst into what could be considered overselling to the “nth degree”, I have a disclaimer: I’m a total sucker for nostalgia-inducing, high school-centric, coming of age films. With that out of the way, I cannot recommend enough that you watch author/writer/director Stephen Chboksy‘s adaptation of his own novel, The Perks of Being a Wallflower, as soon as possible. The pic hit Blu-ray/DVD this past week and over the course of 24 hours I rented it, watched it, loved it, returned it (yes, somehow late fees are still a thing…), and purchased it for my own collection. I could go on and on about the emotional note the movie hit for me at every turn but I’ll spare you the fanboy torment. Suffice to say that I’ll be looking back fondly on this one for quite a while.

My “Blu-ray/DVD pick of the week” aside, this week’s installment features a week of Die Hard that includes Matt revisiting the entire franchise and A Good Day to Die Hard interviews with Bruce Willis and more, coverage from Steve’s visit to the set of The Mortal Instruments: City of Bones, a slew of video interviews from this year’s VES Awards including talks with Ang Lee and Wally Pfister just to name a few, Beautiful Creatures interviews with Emmy Rossum and more, and a healthy amount of images from the floor of Toy Fair 2013. Yep, you guessed it, a brief recap and link to each of the above can be found on the other side.

Weta Digital’s Joe Letteri Talks THE HOBBIT and the Film’s Oscar-Nominated Visual Effects, Plus a New Featurette on Digitally Created Creatures & Landscapes

by     Posted 1 year, 229 days ago

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With all of the focus landing on The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey’s use of high frame rate/48fps, the rest of the production’s stunning achievements in visual effects have been unfairly shunted to the sidelines.  Thankfully, four-time Oscar/BAFTA/VES winner Joe Letteri recently spoke about the VFX behind the first film in Peter Jackson’s new trilogy and we were invited to check out the presentation.  As both the visual effects supervisor on the films and the current Director of Weta Digital, Letteri pulled back the curtain on the unbelievable amount of work, creativity and expertise that goes into making a film like The Hobbit.  Hit the jump to watch a video featurette on the film’s VFX, as well as a break down of Letteri’s presentation with some incredibly cool behind-the-scenes information.

Andy Serkis and WETA Digital’s Joe Letteri Talk THE HOBBIT, DAWN OF THE PLANET OF THE APES, Whether Performance Capture Will Ever Be Recognized by the Academy, and More

by     Posted 1 year, 231 days ago

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At the VES Awards last week, I was able to get a few minutes with Andy Serkis and Weta Digital’s Sr. Visual Effects Supervisor Joe Letteri.  During our red carpet interview we talked about the audience reaction to The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey, the sequences that were the most challenging to get right, how far along they are on the sequels, and more.  In addition, Serkis talked about Dawn of the Planet of the Apes, and they both talked about the perception of performance capture and why it seems to be overlooked by the Academy.   Hit the jump to watch.

TOP 5: MAN OF STEEL, THE HOBBIT Interviews, PACIFIC RIM, GANGSTER SQUAD Set Visit, AFTER EARTH

by     Posted 1 year, 289 days ago

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I offered a similar sentiment following the tragedy at Aurora, CO back in July and I’ll do the same today: the event that unfolded yesterday in Newtown, CT is inexcusable and genuinely heartbreaking, even from a distance. The optimist in me wants to believe that any negative situation can be used to educate and improve the world we live in going forward. In this case, I’m hopeful but unsure that’s possible. On behalf of everyone here at Collider, I want to offer our deepest condolences to the family and friends of those who were lost yesterday.

As petty as it may seem, I feel fortunate to be able to offer a bit of diversion to your day with this week’s Top 5. Included in a trailer-heavy rotation this week is a new cut from Zack Snyder‘s Man of Steel, The Hobbit interviews with Martin Freeman, Andy Serkis and more, the first trailer for Guillermo del Toro‘s Pacific Rim, Andre’s coverage from his Gangster Squad set visit, and the first look at Will Smith and Jaden Smith gallivanting across the human unfriendly Mother Earth found in M. Night Shyamalan’s After Earth. A brief recap and link to each will greet you after the jump.

Weta Digital’s Sr. Visual Effects Supervisor Joe Letteri Talks THE HOBBIT, How They Didn’t Use Miniatures, Creating Worlds Digitally, and the Next 2 Movies

by     Posted 1 year, 292 days ago

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At the recent New York City press day for Peter Jackson’s The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey, I was able to land an extended video interview with Weta Digital’s Sr. Visual Effects Supervisor Joe Letteri.  During our wide ranging conversation we discussed turning The Hobbit into three films, how performance capture technology has reached a new level in terms of integrating CG characters into live-action filming and creating worlds digitally, the process of creating an effects-heavy scene, his thoughts on tweaking previous movies effects, how much have they worked on the dragon Smaug, how they didn’t use Miniatures on The Hobbit, and more.  In addition, when discussing the next two Hobbit films (The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug and The Hobbit: There and Back Again), Letteri  said the biggest task left is to stage the Battle of the Five Armies.  In the book, it’s mostly about the dialogue but they are going to make it a big action scene.  He also compared the Battle of the Five Armies to the Battle of Helm’s Deep in The Two Towers.

Hit the jump to watch.  And if you missed Letteri talking about Weta’s work for Man of Steel, Dawn of the Planet of the Apes, The Wolverine, Iron Man 3, and the Avatar sequels., click here.

Weta Digital’s Sr. Visual Effects Supervisor Joe Letteri Talks IRON MAN 3, MAN OF STEEL, DAWN OF THE PLANET OF THE APES, the AVATAR Sequels, and More

by     Posted 1 year, 297 days ago

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At yesterday’s New York City press day for The Hobbit, I was able to sit down with Weta Digital’s Sr. Visual Effects Supervisor Joe Letteri for an extended video interview.  While Weta is currently hard at work on the next two Hobbit films, they’re also working on a few other high profile projects.  Towards the end of our interview, I got a few updates on Weta’s work for Man of Steel, Dawn of the Planet of the Apes, The Wolverine, Iron Man 3, and the Avatar sequels.  As you might imagine, the updates on the projects are focused on the visual effects, but if you’re a movie nerd like me, it’s always cool to hear how they’re working to make the effects look even better and what scenes Weta is working on.  Hit the jump to watch.

First Look at the Digital Apes in RISE OF THE PLANET OF THE APES; Live-Chat with WETA on Wednesday

by     Posted 3 years, 173 days ago

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With the first trailer for Rise of the Planet of the Apes set to be released on Thursday, Fox has released a first look at one of the film’s digital apes created by WETA.  There’s not much motion in this brief four-second clip, but I do like the level of detail and it’s a nice reminder that we’ve come a long way since Tim Burton’s atrocious 2001 remake.  I’m also encouraged that Fox recently rescheduled the flick out of a crowded Thanksgiving weekend and into the summer movie season.

Hit the jump to check out the clip, the official logo, and to learn more about a live-chat with WETA.  The film stars James Franco, Freida Pinto, John Lithgow, Brian Cox, Tom Felton, and Andy Serkis.  Rupert Wyatt (The Escapist) will direct from a script by Rick Jaffa & Amanda Silver.  Rise of the Planet of the Apes is due out on August 5th.

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