Hollywood VFX Expert Phaneendra Gullapalli at AISFM

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AISFM had a Master Class with Mr. Phaneendra Gullapalli, a Hollywood VFX expert, and a member of the team that won an Oscar for the Hollywood film The Curious Case of Benjamin Button for visual effects. Phaneendra  has also worked on visual effects for movies like 2012, Mummy-III, Transformers-II, Tron: Legacy, Star Trek: Into Darkness, Percy Jackson & the Olympians: The Lightning Thief and many more. Students enjoyed the interactive and engaging session with the expert greatly.

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Speaking about his journey from Vijayawada to Hollywood, he recounted how he fell in love with animation & visual effects early on in his life. He kept pursuing his passion inspite of being rejected four times for internships at famous Hollywood studios. The secret to his sustenance and success? He says “One third of your life is spent at your workplace and I didn’t want to pursue something that I was not happy with. I wanted to pursue my passion, so I took up animation. Some people give up after a setback. I didn’t because there is a thin line between winning and losing.”

What level of artistic instincts and capabilities, and how much technical skills should a person have, asked a student to which he said that “it is good to have both backgrounds if possible; artists and technologists together is a good combination.”

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Speaking about the process of visual effects in a typical film, he gave a walkthrough of his role of expertise in the process of filmmaking. He demonstrated how with Halon virtual camera, wherein you shoot your film before you shoot your film live. This method was used on projects like Bahubali, where by this previsualizataion, lot of production cost can be saved as the director can pre-emptively make changes to his visualization, rather than trying out his ideas on expensive sets.

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‘When do you come into the picture?’ was another question posed. “VFX and post production are collaborators right from Stage 1 and on a daily basis,” he said and cited an example of Bahubali, “We would shoot 10 to 12 shots for the scene and Director Rajamouli would pick one for the final scene.”

Talking about the role of a VFX supervisor, he said that he ensures that each scene is shot as per the requirement. “In Mummy III, the green screen was blue instead of green, so it is the supervisor’s job to ensure such things don’t happen.”

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Phaneendra also shared tips and tricks used in the industry and said that to tackle the challenges of lighting conditions, a chrome ball can be used and software like Nuke, Maya or Houdini. Talking about the work culture in Hollywood, he said “the culture is a lot different in Hollywood and there is no hierarchy per se but it is more about the role/job description of each individual on the team.”

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What happens towards the end of a shoot, how does an editor receive the scenes? To this, he said that actors have reference points and so do the VFX artists. “For example in the movie The Curious Case of Benjamin Button, we wanted to show an old man’s body and Brad Pitt’s face, so we shot two different portions of the same scene and Brad’s face was superimposed on it.” He went on to add that directing actors is also a fundamental requirement for VFX artists and said “In Mummy III, there is a scene where the demon is holding a sword, to make it more powerful, we made the hand holding the sword shake, which was the improvisation of the VFX artist.”

Sharing his thoughts on the current entertainment industry in India, which is growing at a rapid pace, he said, “These are certainly exciting times as the industry is evolving with new platforms for storytellers like Virtual Reality and Augmented Reality. Example: Mr Rajamouli embraced virtual reality on his last feature film Bahubali2 and you can check it out here http://baahubali.com/vr/

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Content vs Technology, your take on the right balance required to succeed?  To this, he said, “Working on various tent-pole Hollywood feature films I have learnt that story is paramount. Every Hollywood director that I worked with used technology as a tool to create visual experiences that stand out which I believe is striking the right balance.”

What is your favorite movie in terms of animation/VFX and in the ones that he has worked? For this, he shared, “I’ve spend almost two years of my life working on Tron Legacy which is no doubt my favorite feature film till date that I worked on.”

Sharing his thoughts about AISFM and its facilities, Phaneendra said, “I’m impressed with AISFM’s facilities during my tour and believe AISFM is second to none. AISFM is in good hands with Mr. Bala Raj steering the ship with his phenomenal Hollywood industry & academic experience. I hope students will leverage the AISFM’s facilities, resources and personnel.”

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His advice to aspiring professionals in this field, “Focusing on foundations and fundamentals will enable students to adapt to the ever evolving industry and help them be at the forefront at any given time. For example: Virtual Production never existed prior to feature films like Avatar and today it’s pretty much the standard and integral part of film-making process.”

Closing the master class, Phaneendra gave some words of advice, “Job opportunities in other areas like virtual reality and augmented reality are now there to connect to the consumers. If you are up to speed with these latest technologies, then you have more chances. There are lot of applications in diverse areas – like Apple X has IR tech etc. The gaming industry is also garnering a lot of interest, and training in these areas is a good idea.” He further added, “Networking and working hard is very important and of course there is no stopping to your learning curve.”

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AISFM Film Fest Showcases Students’ Splendid Work

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It’s that time of the year again, when Annapurna International School of Film and Media (AISFM) is ready to proudly present to the world, the brilliant work of their graduating students. A festival of films in the truest sense of the word, the films were shown to an eager audience that comprised of celebrities, students, friends & families, at its preview theatre over a period of two days.

The two-day festival opened with the premiere of films made by graduating final year students of BFA, MA & MMBA degrees and the films dealt with nine diversely entertaining and thought provoking topics.

It was definitely a celebration time for all the students since it was the finale of their years of hard work. Behind the arduous and fascinating process of filmmaking were various phases like selection of stories by a faculty committee, meticulous screenwriting, production planning, shooting, post-production work with the support and guidance of their dedicated faculty.

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Films by Bachelors students included “The White Field” by Karthik Parmar, “Nitya” by Abhimanyu Kumar, “Maut ka Kuan” by Prithvi Chahal and “Understanding Moksha” by Sameer Kumar.

The films by Masters Students comprised of “Preme Madhuram” by Anil Kumar, “Bhetala” by Rohit Krishna, “Kadivalama” by Ananya Ayachit, “Talaari” by Degala Sai Akhil Yadav and “Chetak” by Gandhapuneni Nandan.

The festival was attended by industry luminaries Akkineni Nagarjuna, Founder of AISFM, Amala Akkineni, Hon. Director of AISFM, veteran actor Tanikella Bharani, famous director Indraganti Mohan Krishna, young heartthrob and actor Akhil Akkineni, well-known actors Srinivas Avasarala, Adivi Sesh, director Omkar, reputed writer Gopimohan, veteran writer and actor K.L. Prasad and Bala Rajasekharuni, Dean of AISFM.

AISFM Founder Akkineni Nagarjuna lauded the students’ efforts in making the brilliant short films and added how short films were now no less than feature films in terms of the expertise they need, and he added, people can look at options beyond Pune for film education today. “I am confident that the kind of talent that I have seen here today is no less than that of any film professional.”

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AISFM Director Amala Akkineni, congratulated the graduates and said the purpose of the festival was to create a premier environment for the students as a way of celebrating their achievements in filmmaking. “We all are very excited and eager to watch the wonderful films that will be premiered over two days by our talented graduating students. The purpose of this festival is to create a platform for the students as a way of celebrating their achievements in filmmaking. Such festivals not only recognise exceptional student work but also allow insightful feedback from the jury and variety of film professionals that enhance student skills,” she said.

Dean of AISFM, Bala Rajasekharuni, lauded the students’ efforts and said “Through this grad film festival our school is committed to linking films, filmmakers, audiences and the industry. AISFM Grad Film festival provides an opportunity for the talented filmmakers to share their work and engage with working industry professionals and gain valuable advice from the experts, which helps them shape their careers in the film industry”. He further added that apart from artistic merit, AISFM also equips the student filmmakers with the commercial realities of the industry and market expectations, in order for them to succeed in the industry.

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Veteran actor Tanikella Bharani said that in the past, “the only way to learn about the art of films was either through theatre or by watching old films. After FTII in Pune, this is the only other well established vibrant film school in the country.” He added that film schools now do the job that Telugu dramas did back then which is an opportunity to discover yourself. Eminent screen-writer K L Prasad added that he is now in a role of an educator but wished someone had educated him before he entered films. Akhil Akkineni praised the students’ work and stressed on the need of film education.

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Mohana Krishna Indraganti, an FTII product himself and Srinivas Avasarala emphasised on the importance and requirement for more film schools and the need to nurture right awareness before they enter feature films. Adivi Sesh recollected his Kshanam memories, a part of which was shot at AISFM premises and congratulated the students on their outstanding films.

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Things you didn’t know about Bahubali!

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Bahubali, a movie that has created and rewritten history in the annals of Indian cinema and how! The most awaited film, SS Rajamouli’s magnum opus Bahubali: The Conclusion surely kept its word as the biggest film made on Indian celluloid and the massive, stupendous and record-breaking response it received on its opening weekend is more than valid proof enough. It has strengthened its hold at the box office like never before and cooked up a storm, witnessing a mad rush at the ticket counters with numbers reaching new heights by the day.

Did you know that the magnum opus, entered the Rs 100 crore club on its release day and no other Indian film has ever entered the Rs 100-crore club on its opening day. It was also the widest ever worldwide release in close to 9000 screens, no less! Want to know more about the epic movie, then read on to find out about the things you didn’t know about Bahubali!

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  • Bahubali: The Beginning and the sequel Bahubali 2: The Conclusion together are the most expensive Indian movies ever made, with an approximate budget of nearly 450 crore.
  • Out of 100 years of Indian cinema Bahubali is the only movie to be featured in a BBC documentary. And The Rise of Sivagamiis one of the books of Bahubali fiction trilogy.
  • More than 800+ technicians, including the special effects team of Jurassic world, were hired for the making of the movie. Bahubali involved a lot of complex computer-generated imagery (CGI) and VFX shots which comprise almost 90% of the movie, that is about 4,500-5,000 VFX shots in 3 hours!
  • Prabhas worked with his local trainer to build his body. He visited the US and interacted with WWE wrestlers to understand their training regimen. He was so impressed with the infrastructure that he got the equipment, costing INR 1.5 crore, and built a personal gym imitating the set-up of the WWE wrestlers.
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  • Prabhas would work out for 6 hours daily and start training early in the morning. His regime would start with about one-and-a-half hours of cardio, with focus on muscle building. In the evenings, to strengthen his body muscles, he would lift weights for about one-and-a-half hours.
  • Prabhas gained a whopping 20 kilos for his part as Amarendra Bahubali and his diet consisted of fish, egg whites (40 half boiled eggs and egg whites), vegetables and almonds. The actor would eat a meal every two hours, and had a total of six meals every day, which did not include rice. The total calorie intake of Prabhas while shooting for Bahubali was between 2000 to 4000 calories a day!
  • Prabhas did not sign a single movie for the past three years so that he could focus on Bahubali and sink into the feel of it.
  • It is the only Indian movie to be made in 4D and many of the movie halls had to adjust their projectors just to show this movie on their screens.
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  • This is the first Indian war movie which has stood in the category of Hollywood war movies such as Troyand 300.
  • This is the first time any regional movie is getting outstanding applause in the world market.
  • The movie took more than three years to get completed and the pre-production and scripting took one year, while the live action shooting took two years. Post production took more than six months.
  • The production crew consisted of 25 National Award Winning artists and technicians.
  • About 20,000 weapons were designed and used in the entire move and it had 50,000+ VFX shots spanning both the parts.
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  • 110 acres of space was reserved at Ramoji Film City for the shooting of the war scene.
  • Bahubali: The Beginning is the biggest VFX film in Indian film history with around nearly 90% of the final output achieved through various visual effects techniques such as rotoscoping, chroma removal, wire removal, 2D and 3D tracking, matchmoving, color correction, live action shooting and CG (3D Computer Graphics) integration, matte painting, camera projections and compositing.
  • Around 2000 junior artists were in live action shooting.
  • A total of 17 VFX studios and 600+ 3D animation and visual effects artists worked to finish the post production of the movie.
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  • Bahubali poster entered into Guinness Book of World Records and Limca Book of World Records – the production team held an event in Kerala where they revealed a movie poster measuring 51,968 sq ft and gained entry as the biggest poster of motion picture in both the books.
  • Another record set; SS Rajamouli tweeted on March 17: “50 million cumulative views of our trailer, across all languages, on YT & FB. The most viewed Indian movie trailer in 24hours. #BB2Storm”.
  • The climax of Bahubali: The Conclusion was shot with a whopping budget of Rs. 30 crore, which was almost double the budget of the climax shot of its prequel Bahubali: The Beginning.
  • The waterfall scene in Bahubali – The Beginning that took almost one-third of the total shooting time of the entire film.
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  • To get their bodies fit for the role they were playing Prabhas and Rana Daggubati were on a strict fitness regime, including diet and workout. They were even trained in martial arts by Vietnamese trainer Tuan. Both actors gained over 30 kilos to get into the skin of their characters.
  • Reportedly, director SS Rajamouli plans to make Bahubali 3.
  • It is said that Rajamouli took about more than 100 days to get the waterfall shot right. Being the most important scene in the movie, the team shot the sequence at three different waterfall locations to give it a grand effect.
  • A new language named ‘KILIKI’ was invented for the terrifying Kalakeya tribe in the movie. A completely new language was developed, with 750 words and 40 grammar rules!
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  • It will be the first Indian movie to have its own museum. The museum being made will house all the weapons, armours and costumes that the actors sport in the film.
  • ‘Bahubali’ has surpassed ‘300’ in IMDB ratings and is ranked at 9.4 out of 10.
  • A leading ticket-booking website revealed that they sold one Bahubali ticket every 12 seconds, breaking records there too!

The Man behind the “Visual Treat”: D.o.P of “Bahubali 2: The Conclusion” at AISFM Campus!

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SS Rajamouli’s magnum opus “Bahubali 2: The Conclusion” is breaking all records with its successful run at the box-office. The film which is in its second week has garnered an estimated whooping 1000 crore across India, on its second Monday.

Mr. K K Senthil Kumar, D.o.P/Cinematographer of “Bahubali 2: The Conclusion” visited the AISFM Campus for an Interactive session. AISFM hosted a special screening of “Bahubali 2: The Conclusion” for its cinematography students and also for the camera technicians working for Annapurna Studios. Followed by the screening, Senthil was congratulated by AISFM, for the huge success of the film and the impact it is creating on millions of people.

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As VFX and storyline are an integral part of the movie, Senthil shared his thought-process and ideas on certain shots of the film.; sharing facts like – the film was shot on 4:3, rather than a 16:9 to purposely serve the IMAX screen. “The directors vision for the complete series was accurate in his head, and as the D.O.P, I helped him execute that vision through my camera. We worked with each other on most of the pre/post production,” said Senthil answering a question posed by one of our students.

When asked about ‘VFX to normal scenes ratio’ in the movie, and how it acts on his decision-making while capturing particular scenes; he said “The key is to keep it simple. I always try to keep it simple while I’m working. I have a list of scenes and I approach each one with the simplest solutions.” he answered.

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“As the film had exceeded expectations with the first part of the movie, the director had to take it up a notch, to surpass the audiences’ expectations which were set really high, already,” he added in the Q/A session, which was really insightful for the attendees who could gain behind-the-scenes knowledge about this blockbuster phenomenon taking over the world.

He also mentioned that planning and resource management is really important with a high budget project like Bahubali. He further added that, it took a complete year of pre-production before the sequel’s shoot began. If a brief idea of what has to be projected on screen is fairly accurate in the head, the execution becomes way easier. He mentions the skill-set to be prepared for instinctive decisions as when the shoot happens, improvisation for getting an edge should be done, naturally on a regular basis.

As Bahubali will be known for setting a trend, in the size that it has, it was an honour to have an interaction with the D.o.P of the biggest hit in the cinema industry, making and breaking records, in quality of talent and quantity of revenue, while uniting the world globally with the fascinating art of filmmaking.

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Digital Domain: Leading Hollywood VFX Company visits AISFM!

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Digital Domain, is known for VFX on about 200 blockbuster Hollywood movies like “Titanic”, “Maleficent”, “X-Men: Days of Future Past”, “Iron Man 3”, “TRON: Legacy”, “Furious 7”, “Pixels”, “2012” and many more. Providing an exciting new future in storytelling and content creation technology, from Digital Domain; Austin Armus, Director – Business Services Integration, Lala Gavgavian – Vice President, Human Resources/Recruiting/Training, and Sudhir Reddy – Head of Digital Studio (India) were at the campus addressing the students along side Bala Raj (Dean, Academics) and Amala Akkineni (Hon. Director, AISFM).

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The Master Class included the representatives of Digital Domain showing us their work reels as an introduction to display their creative techniques and talking about the content that they have been making. The session then commenced from being an introduction to turning into a informative Q/A between the representatives and the students.

As VFX is one of the most indulged courses at the institute, art/animation enthusiasts were present amongst the students and faculty members. During the Q/A, the concerned representatives, according to their expertise, answered questions put up by the students in depth. With a vast number of movies in their roaster, they have worked with the best of the directors in the industry including Steven Spielberg.

Talking about the rapid pace at which the technology is evolving, Digital Domain mentioned that they fully utilised the potential of the advancement in their equipment, over the years. With High Definition viewing, HD has also paved it’s way for VFX and animated content to be seen by the audiences in HD.

As they plan to expand to India, working alongside the offices in Los Angeles and Vancouver they want to diversify in terms of creativity by having a presence in different countries. Austin also spoke about the scale of planning and collaboration with the director that goes into the pre/post production stage before they start on a film project.

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As technology is advancing day-to-day, Digital Domain tries to keep up with the best technical resources to get the desired output for their films/commercials. As high definition viewing has become necessary for the quality of the product, Digital Domain has expanded to areas of Virtual Reality, and are currently working on movies made especially for VR.

Founded in 1993, Digital Domain is one of the largest and most influential visual effects studios in the world. The company and its artists have produced industry-leading work for movies, commercials, video games, music videos, concerts, and virtual reality projects. The company has been at the forefront of innovation for over two decades and pioneered the creation of internationally famous Digital Performers including Virtual 2Pac (the “Coachella Hologram”) and Teresa Teng. Digital Domain was also a co-producer on the feature film “Ender’s Game”.

During that time, its artists have earned multiple Academy Awards in the Visual Effects and Technical Award categories. Digital Domain has evolved in its artistry to hundreds of commercials, video games, and music videos, from “Become Legend” game trailers, to Nike’s virtual reality “The Neymar Jr. Effect”, to the ground-breaking Ronda Rousey fight trailer “Revolution” for the UFC.

From setups in California and Vancouver, including its own state-of-the-art performance capture studio, Digital Domain continues a tradition of creating extraordinary imagery and productions for entertainment and advertising purposes.

Oscars Nominations for 2017

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Come January and the entire entertainment fraternity, of course with fans included, around the world eagerly await the Academy Awards. Interest levels are high and it reaches a crescendo up to its telecast in February, when millions of movie lovers worldwide tune in to watch the glamorous ceremony.

Considered the highest form of recognition, The Academy Awards or ‘Oscars’, recognizes excellence in cinematic achievements. Did you know that the awards ceremony was first broadcast to radio in 1930 and televised for the first time in 1953 making it the oldest entertainment awards ceremony in the world.

The much-awaited and coveted list of nominees for the Oscars 2017 is finally out! La La Land is the leading contender for the 89th Academy Awards with a record-equalling 14 nominations. This includes nominations in each of the big four categories: Best Picture, Best Director for Damian Chazelle, Best Actress for Emma Stone and Best Actor for Ryan Gosling. Only All About Eve and Titanic have been nominated as many times in the past.

The winners will be announced at a ceremony in Los Angeles on February 22. Check out the list of nominations in the popular categories below. Who do you think will win?

Best Picture

Arrival
Fences
Hacksaw Ridge
Hell Or High Water
Hidden Figures
La La Land
Lion
Manchester By The Sea
Moonlight

Best Director

Denis Villenueve – Arrival
Barry Jenkins – Moonlight
Damian Chazelle – La La Land
Mel Gibson – Hacksaw Ridge
Kenneth Lonegan – Manchester By The Sea

Best Actor

Casey Affleck – Manchester By The Sea
Andrew Garfield – Hacksaw Ridge
Ryan Gosling – La La Land
Viggo Mortensen – Captain Fantastic
Denzel Washington – Fences

Best Actress

Isabelle Huppert – Elle
Ruth Negga – Loving
Natalie Portman – Jackie
Emma Stone – La La Land
Meryl Streep – Florence Foster Jenkins

Best Supporting Actor  

Mahershala Ali – Moonlight
Jeff Bridges – Hell Or High Water
Lucas Hedges – Manchester By The Sea
Dev Patel – Lion
Michael Shannon – Nocturnal Animals

Best Supporting Actress

Viola Davis – Fences
Naomie Harris – Moonlight
Nicole Kidman – Lion
Octavia Spencer – Hidden Figures
Michelle Williams – Manchester By The Sea

Original Screenplay

Hell Or High Water
La La Land
The Lobster
Manchester By The Sea
20th Century Women

Original Score

Jackie
La La Land
Lion
Moonlight
Passengers

Animated Feature

Kubo
Moana
My Life As A Zucchini
The Red Turtle
Zootopia

Best Foreign Language Film

Land Of Mine
A Man Called Ove
The Salesman
Tanna
Toni Erdmann

“The Fall Guy”, Bob Brown visits AISFM

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Bob Brown was at the AISFM Campus addressing the students and sharing his experiences about the time he was working as a stunt man and later a stunt coordinator in a numerous set of Hollywood projects, including both film and television. Bob is also a World Champion professional high diver.

A stunt coordinator is usually an experienced stunt performer hired by a TV, film or theatre director or production company for stunt casting (i.e.) to arrange the casting (stunt players and stunt doubles) and performance of stunts for a film, TV or a live audience. He has been nicknamed “The Fall Guy” as he is known for his high falling stunts.

With a vast number of films, from 1985 to 2017, Bob is one of the most experienced professionals in the business having an experience of over 30 years. He has had a successful transition from being a stuntman, to a stunt coordinator to a second unit director and then a director/producer of his first feature film called “Urban Games”, but he enjoys doing stunts the most.

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Bob started off with an introduction about his field of work and engaged in a Q/A session with the students, speaking about his process as a stunt coordinator, while having different experiences on different films. As he has been in the industry for quite a bit, he follows his set of methods and techniques to get the output required by the director.

Filmmaking being a collaborative process, Bob and his team play a vital part in the sequencing of stunts, ensuring the actor’s safety and delivering the product as per the vision of the director. On the job, he ensures enough rehearsals are done to make the shot seem realistic.

Bob has constantly been experiementing on the move, travelling to different parts of the world and contributing to the process of filmmaking, in a global way. As the job requires a passion for the risk and threat, Bob was always, from his childhood interested in watching action movies and found the movies really fascinating.

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He draws his inspiration for stunt ideas and moves from Jackie Chan. Inspired by video games, playing them gives him a lot of ideas on thinking of a new stunt. With a technical point of view, he does prefer long takes and is also a fan of a scene with multiple cuts, if executed perfectly. As he is also well versed with editing, he endures the added advantage of knowing what he wants, right in his head.

He also spoke about the other side of the industry where a few stunt coordinators can offer a lot but with the risk of safety. Bob has the right mindset for choreographing stunts realistically and safely with the use of the “right” equipment. He also spoke about VFX and it’s relevance in the idea of any stunt. He feels the need of a healthy working relationship with the DoP and the director to be very essential for creating something great on screen.

Sets of videos of his sequences were shown to the students throughout the interaction. You could see the versatility, in his body of work as each sequence had an extra edge to it; from integrating an animal in an action sequence, or blowing up cars, or the kick-punch sequences with an accurate sense of choreography. Speaking about the difference in TV and film, he says, “After a TV sequence, I don’t get that feeling of ‘Oh! I did it!’” He enjoys doing film sequences better as the scale of it is much larger in size, he said.

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Bob believes a stunt is as good as the preparation put behind it. He is also a fan of shooting on film over digital as film is richer and has more texture. Emphasizing on the rehearsals is a key to his success as a coordinator, he said. He was also a stunt double for Jim Carrey and encourages the idea of safety and professionalism.

Talking about his journey on how it was when he started out he shared instances where he donating blood from time to time for a few dollars. With 150$ in his pocket and the willingness to go behind his dream he moved his way up slowly and steadily getting noticed by all the studio heads. His recent body of work includes movies like XXX: The Return of Xander Cage, Pixels, San Andreas, Captain America: The Winter Soldier, The Lone Ranger, Modern Family, Transformers: Dark of the Moon, Percy Jackson & The Olympians: The Lightning Thief and many more.

The students were very interactive and discussed many topics with him and had a witty exchange of opinions. As Bob started out with having no film background and made his way up with sheer passion, he says, “Education always prepares you for what you are up against. It’s great that students can get an education in Film and Media prior to their work, as it makes them ready for it. Like being on a set, and knowing the functionality of it.”

Lights, Camera, Stunts!!!

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Bahubali is a movie that caught the nation’s attention like never before and people all over are awaiting the concluding part of this epic movie that has been narrated through spectacular visuals and amazing special effects. Bahubali, with its epic dimensions in nearly every aspect of filmmaking has been lauded for its exceptional stunts and special effects and its grandeur of scale especially in its stunts and battle sequences are truly spectacular.

Stunt coordinator of this blockbuster film King Solomon Raju visited AISFM for a stunt and action workshop for Bachelors and Masters students who will be graduating next semester. The outdoor shoot with our students was conducted on our campus by the man himself. Students got a hands-on experience on how stunts are supposed to be acted out and shot.

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Speaking to us during a break in the workshop, Solomon said about youngsters nowadays joining film schools to learn the finer nuances of various aspects of film-making, “It is imperative that today’s generation gets the right training and for that learning in a film school is very important. Just like how you cannot go from Grade 1 to Grade 10 in school, here you cannot just join the film industry and become known. By learning in a film school, they always have an added advantage. More and more people are joining the film industry now than earlier and it is a great thing.”

Talking about his favourite movie Bahubali, he said that it is one of the best things that has happened to him and rates the stunts and the movie as the best. When we are talking about the iconic movie how can we not ask the proverbial question on everyone’s lips, ‘Why did Kattappa kill Bahubali?’ To this, he smiled and said, “Even, I don’t know!” “Stunts have come a long way from the initial days of the film industry and have improved greatly. With the aid of computer graphics, various stunts can be tried in films,” he said and added that Bahubali has raised the standards for stunts too.

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Before getting back to the workshop, he left a word of advice for the youngsters who want to pursue film-making, “Follow your dream, work hard with passion and don’t give up.”

One of the AISFM students’ who attended the workshop, shared her thoughts on it. Isha Thota, said “The stunt workshop was quite an interesting experience. It made me aware of the intricacies that went in to the production of a “professional” stunt scene and also the need of a stunt coordinator even for low budget films. We learnt about other aspects we may use in a film that we may not have previously thought would need a coordinator for i.e. something as small and insignificant as a scene where a character falls onto the floor is in need of an awareness, about stunts.”

“One main aspect that was spoken about, that is of grave importance is that of safety. Mr. Solomon and his team were very prudent, and took various safety measures with the use of body harnesses and crash mats. We were also informed about the importance of using our own safety equipment in order to ensure that the quality has not deteriorated or any problems that come with wear and tear come up during a shoot. Apart from the basic need for safety, the film production and insurance is also at a risk if appropriate steps are not taken.”

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“We were also made aware of the steps taken in the production of a stunt sequence, from interacting with the director who informs the coordinator of the mood of the scene and the events leading up to the stunt sequence, and of course the setting and to the actual rehearsal of the stunt  sequence itself. During the shoot Mr. Solomon also did a mock pre vis using a camera phone to check different angles, after which the sequence was practiced, safety measures were taken and then we were onto actual production. We were told about various different “cheat” angles and movements we can use so as to insure actual impact isn’t needed, especially since we were shooting without VFX.”

“The day long shot was very engaging, the students were quite involved often doing the camera work themselves and the workshop was a educational first step to a more in-depth awareness of what goes on during a stunt sequence.”

These Sidekicks are no sidekick!

These Sidekicks are no sidekick!

The trusted friend, the partner in crime, the inner voice or just the comic relief; whatever their role might be, they’re a very important part of the film. Every hero needs his/her sidekick. We present to you a list of sidekick duos from everybody’s favourite Disney/Pixar films!

  1. Olaf & Sven

These Sidekicks are no sidekick!

The adorable snowman and the goofy reindeer from Frozen are the perfect sidekicks. Olaf’s character has a “big role to play representing the innocent love in the scale of fear versus love” says the director of the film. He is first seen as an inanimate snowman during Elsa and Anna’s childhood, and later on when he is recreated by Elsa during ‘Let it go’.

Sven is a carrot loving reindeer who has dog like traits. He is Kristoff’s best friend, conscience and sleigh-puller кредитная карта росбанк. With a childlike outlook on life, he makes a perfect companion to Olaf, who holds a similar personality, allowing the two to bond rather easily.

  1. Flounder & Sebastian

These Sidekicks are no sidekick!

Sebastian is the royal court composer who is given the task of looking out for Ariel by the king, her father. He is, at most times, grumpy because of Ariel’s stubbornness. Flounder is the total opposite of the crustacean. He is Ariel’s companion for all her adventures in the deep blue. He might be one of the most stressed sidekicks to have been created by Disney, while Sebastian is probably the one with most mood swings. Whatever the case may be for the two, they do not think twice when it comes to helping Ariel when she is in danger.

  1. Genie & Abu

These Sidekicks are no sidekick!

According to Disney’s official description, Abu is Aladdin’s pet monkey, who is obsessed with shiny items. Unlike his owner, Abu doesn’t steal for survival, but because he is a kleptomaniac. However he may be on the outside, he has a soft heart and is one of the most loyal and compassionate sidekicks. Genie on the other hand, is an all-powerful spirit residing in a magical oil lamp hidden within the ‘Cave of Wonders’, meant to only serve the “diamond in the rough”. His character is known to break the fourth wall, which is seen when he mimics people from the real-world, outside the universe in which he resides.

  1. Maximus & Pascal

These Sidekicks are no sidekick!

Pascal is Rapunzel’s chameleon roommate in Mother Gothel’s tower, while Maximum is a Palace horse who at first has a tiff with Flynn Ryder, but later befriends him, thanks to Rapunzel. The duo were created to add comic relief to the film and also act as companions, in whatever form they might be, to the two leading characters. The duo later go on to become ring bearers to the couple at their wedding, in the sequel to Tangled. Pascal and Maximus were very well received by viewers and critics alike, and have even been called ‘scene stealers.’

  1. Cogsworth & Lumière

These Sidekicks are no sidekick!

Cogsworth and Lumière are two of the helpers many at Beast’s castle, who get turned into a clock and a candelabra respectively, when the castle gets cursed many years ago. Lumière is kind-hearted, liked by all, and has a very charming persona, while Cogsworth is bossy, serious and prefers to abide by the rules stated by the Beast. The contrasting personalities of the two, combined with their loyalty towards the Beast is what makes them well, them!

  1. Timon & Pumbaa

These Sidekicks are no sidekick!

A meerkat and warthog friendship might seem like a weird thing for us, but it sure is not in the world of Disney! The two find Simba and save him when he was a cub, and the three remain best friends for life. When somebody says ‘Hakuna Matata’ one automatically relates this to The Lion King; this is all thanks to the duo Timon and Pumbaa. They teach Simba to not worry about little things in life, and live life to its fullest; something we all can learn from the two.

  1. Jaq & Gus Gus

These Sidekicks are no sidekick!

Cinderella would not have been able to do over half the things that led to her getting the prince of her dreams, were it not for her little helper-friends Jaq and Gus Gus. Jaq is shown to be the somewhat leader of the group of mice. He is sharp, brave and loves troubling the house cat, Lucifer. Gus Gus on the other hand is Jaq’s best friend; he is compassionate, but rather dim-witted. He is the main target of Lucifer, who prefers Gus Gus out of all the mice because of his plump size and slow speed.

  1. Ray & Louis

These Sidekicks are no sidekick!

A jazz-loving alligator and a romantic Cajun firefly pair up to help Tiana and Naveen in Disney’s Princess and the Frog. Despite his size and ferocious appearance, Louis is a gentle giant with a heart of gold. He is very fond of his trumpet and his dream is to become a famous jazz singer and perform in front of a human audience without scaring anyone. Friendly and helpful, despite being the smallest creature in the movie, Ray has the biggest heart. Some of his loves include music, singing and entertaining guests of all kind. The firefly was also shown to have no real fear.

  1. Flit & Meeko

These Sidekicks are no sidekick!

Flit is a ruby-throated hummingbird who is a friend of Pocahontas, along with Meeko, a racoon. Meeko is sly and loves stealing from others, which is rather annoying for Flit. Meeko is Pocahontas’s confidant. The duo adds much-needed excitement and fun to the film, and without the two, the film would have been a tad boring. Flit and Meeko prove that everybody needs a hummingbird and a racoon by their side.

  1. Baloo & Bagheera

These Sidekicks are no sidekick!

Bagheera is like a guardian for Mowgli while Baloo is like more like a getaway in Disney’s The Jungle Book. Bagheera is presented as level headed and intelligent, while Baloo is presented as aloof and carefree. In spite of his loyalty to his “bare necessities”, Baloo is not above abandoning morals and disregarding the safety of others for himself, or what he believes in. The juxtaposing between the two characters allows Mowgli to combine the traits of both his companions and succeed in defeating Sher Khan.

Special Mention

These Sidekicks are no sidekick!

Seven Dwarfs

Doc, Grumpy, Happy, Sleepy, Bashful, Sneezy and Dopey are the seven dwarfs. They take pity on Snow White when she tells them the story of how she got into their home, and they allow her to stay on the condition that she would take care of the house in their absence. The dwarfs save the protagonist’s life time and again, indirectly foiling the Evil Queen’s plans to kill her, which is why we feel they deserved a special mention despite not being a ‘duo’.

Beauty and the Beast over the years

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The tale of loving somebody for who they are and not for their physical appearance is what French novelist Gabrielle-Suzanne Barbot de Villeneuve’s fairytale, Beauty and the Beast taught all of us. Jeanne-Marie Leprince de Beaumont rewrote the story and published it, giving us the story that we hold dearly. Our childhood would seem a little incomplete had this story not been made into the Disney animated film that we all love. This version, thought the most popular, is however not the only adaptation of the tale. With Emma Watson and Dan Stevens starring in the latest version of the fairytale, we thought we’d take a look at the different adaptations of ‘Beauty and the Beast’!

  1. La Belle et la Bête (1946)

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This French version of the traditional fairy tale, written by Jeanne-Marie Leprince de Beaumont in 1757 was directed by French poet and filmmaker Jean Cocteau; the film stars Josette Day as Belle and Jean Marais as Beast. This was the first film adaptation of the story. The set designs and cinematography were intended to evoke the illustrations and engravings of Gustave Doré and, in the farmhouse scenes, the paintings of Jan Vermeer.

  1. The Scarlet Flower (1952)

Beauty and the Beast over the years
This film is a 1952 Soviet feature-animated version of the tale. The film is an example of the Socialist Realism period in Russian animation, which lasted from the 1930s to 1950s; it featured heavy use of ‘rotoscoping’ as well as a focus on adapting traditional Russian folk tales. Nearly all of the character animation was first performed by live actors or animals and then traced by the animators. It was restored at the Gorky Film Studio in 1987.

  1. Beauty and the Beast (1962)

Beauty and the Beast over the years
This was the first English language adaptation of the tale! The film was directed by Edward L. Cahn and starred Joyce Taylor and Mark Damon in the lead roles. The film was shot in Technicolour and was a “fairytale for everybody – no messages, no menace,” according to the film’s executive producer, Edward Small.

  1. Beauty and the Beast/Die Schöne und das Biest (1987)

Beauty and the Beast over the years
This was an American/Israeli musical film, part of the 1980 film series Cannon Movie Tales. It is a contemporary version of the classic tale of Beauty and the Beast. The movie was shot in Israel and popularized the taglines: “The monster they feared was the prince she loved” and “The classic fairy tale about seeing with your heart”

  1. Walt Disney’s Beauty and the Beast (1991)

Beauty and the Beast over the years
This was the 30th film in the Walt Disney Animated Classics series and the 3rd in the Disney Renaissance period, and the 1st English language animated version of the film. The Disney version also names Beauty “Belle” and gives her a handsome suitor (named Gaston) who eventually plots to kill the Beast. What many do not know about this very popular version of the film is the fact that Walt Disney first attempted unsuccessfully to adapt Beauty and the Beast into an animated feature film during the 1930s and 1950s!

  1. Blood of Beasts (2005)

Beauty and the Beast over the years
How would Beauty and the Beast be if it was set during the time of Vikings?! Well, Hollywood has an answer for that in the form of the 2005 film Blood of Beasts. Freya (Beauty), a warrior and the beautiful daughter of a Viking king, is held prisoner on an island castle by a Beast who has been cursed by Oden. The film however has received negative reviews, with Rotten Tomatoes rating it at 24%.

  1. Spike (2008)

Beauty and the Beast over the years
Spike is a gorgeous and haunting meditation on love and death, childhood and fantasy. Director Robert Beaucage’s adaptation can be described as a dark fantasy version of the film set in modern times. The plot of the film goes like this: Through a series of dreamlike images, a girl (Sarah Livingston Evans) and her three friends find themselves stranded in a dark and surrealistic forest by someone; or something (Edward Gusts) who has obsessively loved, watched, and waited for the girl ever since childhood.

  1. Beastly (2011)

Beauty and the Beast over the years
Yet another modern rendition of the film finds its way onto our list. This Vanessa Hudgens and Alex Pettyfer starrer is also said to be loosely based on Alex Flinn’s supernatural novel of the same name (2007). It tells the age-old tale in a modern-day New York city setting. The story places the basics of the original fairy tale in the context of a contemporary American high school. The film also features Neil Patrick Harris as Kyle’s blind tutor and Mary-Kate Olsen as the girl responsible for cursing Kyle and causing his subsequent transformation.

  1. La Belle et la Bête (2014)

Beauty and the Beast over the years
This is a Franco-German romantic-fantasy version of the traditional fairy tale. Written by Christophe Gans and Sandra Vo-Anh and directed by Gans, the film stars Léa Seydoux as ‘Belle’ and Vincent Cassel as ‘Beast’. The film was nominated for the People’s Choice Award for Best European Film at the 27th European Film Awards. It also received three nominations at the 40th César Awards, winning Best Production Design.

  1. Disney’s Beauty and the Beast (2017)

beauty_and_the_beast-2017
Emma Watson and Dan Stevens starrer is the next film to join the long history of film adaptations based on this fairy tale, stretching back to the earliest days of cinema. Principal photography began at Shepperton Studios in May 2015, and ended on August 21. The film is to be released on March 17, 2017, in standard, in RealD 3D, and IMAX 3D!