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Though three different actors have played Bruce Banner on the big screen in the past decade, only one can really say he also played the Hulk. When Mark Ruffalo appeared as the iconic character in last summer’s The Avengers, he was the first actor to actually portray the Hulk half of the character in motion-capture. (His predecessors Edward Norton and Eric Bana let the CG artists take over that part.)

The decision paid off, as fans enthused that Ruffalo’s Hulk was the best they’d seen in recent memory. Now a new video shows just how Industrial Light & Magic pulled off the trick. Hit the jump to check it out.

First founded by George Lucas in the ’70s for Star Wars, ILM has been behind some of the most notable cutting-edge effects work of the past few decades. Last year alone, they contributed work to Red Tails, The Hunger Games, Battleship, Cloud Atlas, and Paranormal Activity 4, in addition to The Avengers. Grantland posted this video from their studios.

No matter how often I watch these behind-the-scenes videos, I’m always startled by the massive difference between what I saw in the theaters (i.e., the Hulk stomping around Manhattan) and what was actually filmed on set (i.e., Ruffalo in a goofy hat prancing around a green-walled room).

As we’ve said before, part of the “problem” with VFX is that the really good work is so seamlessly done it’s easy not to notice it at all. But videos like this one demonstrate just how much skill and labor have to go into making scenes like this one work — and, unfortunately, the recent VFX protests highlight just how badly these talented artists are treated in return.

If you’re curious to see more of Grantland‘s series on the famed effects company, here are Parts 1 (From Star Wars to Today, Inside ILM Headquarters) and 2 (The Evolution of Filmmaking Technology at Lucasfilm).

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In Joss Whedon‘s The Avengers, the director has two long takes that feature all the members of the team. The first is in the research lab on the Helicarrier where Loki’s plan to disband the team goes into play. The second takes place during the Battle of New York where the team completely get in sync with their combat. Speaking with Whedon during the release of the film, he explained the choice as follows;

I did know I had a couple [long takes] that I felt were integral, one because it was a way of showing how disjointed they all were and one to show how united they all were.

That second one, with people flying around the city, jumping on enemies and more, wasn’t actually shot as a long take. Obviously. It was the result of countless man hours at Industrial Light and Magic as effects were placed in the shots and each was stitched together. A brand new video has come online that explains the creation of this shot, shows some animatics and more. Check it out below.

Thanks to Comic Book Movie for the heads up.

Here’s the description from the ILM YouTube channel.

While “The Avengers” posed many visual effects challenges, one of the larger challenges was pulling together the “tie-in” shot during the third act of the film. Rather than frames, this single shot is measured in minutes on screen and is one of the longest effects shots in the film. It incorporates both practical special effects and extensive digital visual effects by ILM. The New York City environment that serves as the setting for this shot (and virtually the entire alien invasion) is computer generated by the visual effects team at ILM.

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Here at /Film, we’re big fans of pop culture artist Olly Moss. Peter has been writing about his Threadless t-shirts from the earliest days, I was quoted on his first book and the guy continues to amaze with his work both for Mondo and other clients as well. Earlier this year, he gave a talk at Offset 2012, a UK based conference, and took the audience through a tour of his career. From his earliest drawings as a 15 year old boy, through full concepts for some of his most famous work at Mondo (The Evil Dead, Star Wars), video game covers, his first art show (above) and much more. Did you know he designed the opening credits for The Losers? What was his first screen print? If you’re a fan of Moss’s, or movie posters and art in general, it’s a fascinating watch. Check it out below.

Thanks to @ollymoss for the heads up on this video.

Olly Moss – OFFSET2012 from OFFSET on Vimeo.

The biggest take from this video is just how humble Moss is. Almost every single thing he’s done, he has a criticism for as he’s grown as an artist. It’s never good enough, even when a set of his Star Wars prints – prints he think are too big – now sell for $4,000 dollars or so. But also just how he conceptualizes his work. Some of the interactions with the clients. The way his Evil Dead piece is really just an homage to the original poster. The way Captain America is kind of a joke because he walks around with a target. These are all just ideas a pop culture fan would have, and Moss turns them into beautiful art. No wonder we’re fans, right?

P.S. – I cameo at 34:07. Too cool.

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Medium shots, long takes, parallel editing, whip pans, rack focus. Out of context, film techniques kind of sound like medical terms. But in practice, these ways of moving the camera, setting up a shot, or putting two pieces of film together can do more than simply heal you. They can make you feel good, bad, scared, romantic, tense, or just about any other single emotion in existence. The names might sound clinical but to see them in practice is magical.

Film student Oscar Feiven put together a cool little video editing together clips from movies such as Children of Men, Lord of the Rings, Inception, Cloverfield and other recent films to show twenty film techniques in practice. Check it out below.

Thanks to Oscar Feiven for the video. Check it out.

On the YouTube channel, Feiven lists the movies features as well as the techniques. Here are his lists. The films:

Children of Men, Star Wars Episode IV, Shaun of the Dead, Reservoir Dogs, Lord of the Rings, Atonement, Cowboys and Aliens, Citizen Kane, Mission Impossible, Cloverfield, Inception, Zombieland, Kill Bill Vol. 1, The Other Guys, Limitless, 8 Mile

And techniques:

Establishing Shot, Long Shot, Doggie Cam, Steady cam, Pan, Fast Cut/Rapid Zoom, Low Angle Shot, Crane Up, Dutch Angle, POV, Special Effects, Slow Motion, Panoramic Traveling, Horizontal Traveling, High angle, Tilt, Limitless Zoom, Camera Split

Admittedly, the scope of these “techniques” is pretty broad. “Special Effects” and a “Dutch Angle” don’t exactly belong in the same conversation. But you’ve got to be impressed with this as a project for school. I wonder what grade Feiven got.

Can you think of any major techniques he missed? Though these are all relatively new movies, do you feel like he should have used more classic instances? Or does the fact that so many of the films are from within the last decade simply prove the timelessness of technique?

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Academy Award-winning visual effects supervisor Rob Legato has been involved in many Hollywood classics and blockbusters over the last two decades, including: Apollo 13, Titanic, Armageddon, Cast Away, Harry Potter, Bad Boys 2, The Aviator, The Departed, Avatar, and Hugo. Over the summer, Legato gave a TED talk entitled “The Art of Creating Awe” about how visual effects are used to recreate reality or sometimes even “trump the real thing”.

In the TED Talk, Legato shows us behind the scenes footage of how the movie magic was created, how he tries to recreate the idealized memory of a moment and not necessarily the reality of a moment We learn about the reaction from a NASA consultant who worked on Apollo 13 and legendary astronaut Buzz Aldrin. We see how he seamlessly blended real footage of the Titanic with shots of miniature models, and how our brain is tricked into believing that its all real. And lastly, Legato shows how set size limitations on Martin Scorsese’s Hugo resulted in some creative choices: Moving the floor to create the illusion that the train was moving and combining a five different sets and a multitude of shots into the long “steadicam” shot from the beginning of the film.

In the wake of excitement over NASA’s mars rover Curiosity I recently revisited Apollo 13, and was amazed at how well the visual effects held up for a movie released 17 years ago. And after watching Legato’s TED Talk, I’m pretty sure most people watching the film today probably don’t even notice the visual effects. Watch Legato’s TED Talk embedded after the jump.

Thanks to FirstShowing for alerting me to this video.

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Playing Bane in The Dark Knight Rises might have made Tom Hardy a household name, but it wasn’t his first major genre sequel. The actor – who really hit the radar of film fans starring in Nicolas Winding-Refn’s Bronson – previously appeared in Star Trek: Nemesis as Shinzon, a villainous clone of Captain Jean-Luc Picard, and a video of the actor’s screen test has surfaced online. Check it out below.

Thanks to E! Online (via Trek Movie) for the heads up.

Obviously, the audition footage is edited together with footage from the film itself and sort of jumps all around but it’s really fun to watch this retrospectively. You can almost see the movie star beginning to exude from him. Granted, it would take six years until his break out role – Bronson – and after that, another four until his huge coming out party, Dark Knight Rises so a decade passed from then to now. In between, films like Layer Cake and Inception certainly helped, and Warrior was a star making performance in an under appreciated film, but it’s hard to deny the real milestones of his career were this, Bronson and Dark Knight Rises.

Did you remember Hardy was in this film? When you saw it, did he stand out?

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We’ve just come out of Comic Con, which detractors say is an event that breaks down potentially good movies into indigestible, value-free ad pieces. And there’s something to that. But there’s something to be said for breaking films down into their component parts, and great inspiration can be found in single movie moments that evoke a greater memory or feeling than you’d think a couple seconds of film might be able to provide.

So let’s go to a supercut. In this case we’ve got a collection of 135 shots from 86 movies that one site and its commenters chose as the most beautiful in film. This shouldn’t be considered an authoritative list, as that would be absurd, but rather a lovely eight-minute reminder of some of the visual splendor of film.

This supercut comes from Flavorwire, which also provides an ID for all the films used. There are bound to be some here that even well-versed cinephiles don’t know, or don’t recognize immediately, so the list is useful. Nice choice of score for this piece, too. I’m always happy to hear Clint Mansell’s work from Moon.

If this whets your appetite for something that is focused on the wonder of cinematography, but is also a little more substantial, search out the 1992 documentary Visions of Light. The film, shamefully is not on Blu, but can be found here and there on DVD.

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Jimmy Kimmel has produced an epic 9-minute movie trailer parody featuring nearly every actor and actress in Hollywood. Movie: the Movie tackles every blockbuster and crowd pleaser movie and movie marketing cliches, and packs them all into one film trailer. Watch the trailer now embedded after the jump.

The trailer features appearances by Ryan Phillippe, Jessica Alba, Taylor Lautner, Antonio Banderas, Edward Norton , Josh Brolin, Colin Farrell, Charlize Theron, Tom Hanks, Bryan Cranston, Jeff Goldblum, Gary Oldman, Cameron Diaz, Samuel L. Jackson, Emily Blunt, John Krasinski, Jason Bateman, Kevin James, Daniel Day Lewis, John Goodman, Don Cheadle, Matt Damon, Kate Beckinsale, Chewbacca, Danny De Vito, Meryl Streep, Helen Mirren, Christoph Waltz, Matt Damon, George Clooney, Gabourey Sidibe, Steven Tyler and even directors J.J. Abrams and Martin Scorsese.

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Earlier this year I received an e-mail from Mike Jutan, a Research & Development Engineer at George Lucas’ visual effects powerhouse Industrial Light & Magic, who was prepping his TED Talk. Despite having previously worked at Pixar, Mike was having trouble gaining clearance for a WALL-E image he had found on /Film. I was able to connect him with the right people, and he finally got the mouse house’s permission. Jutan’s TED Talk is about “The Power of Enthusiasm”. While the movie isn’t completely movie-centric, I think it’s worth sharing. Here is a brief description from Mike:

A large portion of the talk (begins around the 8 minute mark) is about the moment I first saw the friggin’ epic T-1000 effect in Terminator 2 as a 10 year old kid and I knew at that moment I HAD to do visual effects with my life. I talk a lot about my journey, from dream to little wins, internships at Pixar, and finally achieving my dream to work at ILM 15 years later.

I think in this cynical world, Mike’s message is important. Watch the TED Talk now embedded after the jump.

Official description:

At age 10, Mike Jutan envisioned his future at Industrial Light & Magic (ILM), George Lucas’s groundbreaking visual effects film studio. His passion for computer graphics led him to earn his B.Math (Honours Computer Science Co-Op) degree at the University of Waterloo. He now lives his childhood dream every single day as a Research & Development Engineer at ILM in San Francisco, California. Mike is always busy planning his next adventure, to explore the globe and to make a difference to the world around him. Using his mentoring skills and extremely contagious enthusiasm, he is determined to share his joie de vivre with the world and inspire the next generation through a blend of art and science.

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