VFX Videos of the Week 10-31-14

by Graham Edwards

Ambition - ESA & Platige ImageFirst up in my personal choice of this week’s effects videos is Ambition, a short film presented by ESA, the European Space Agency, to publicise their groundbreaking Rosetta mission to study the comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko. Directed by Tomek Bagiński, and featuring impressive visual effects by Warsaw-based Platige Image, it’s a bold collision between educational science fact and inspirational science fiction:

If you liked that, you’re going to love my next video, which is nothing less than the making of the movie. Director Bagiński talks about his inspirations and approach, while ESA’s Senior Scientific Advisor, Mark McCaughrean, and VFX Supervisor Jakun Knapilk of Platige discuss their own contributions to the film:

Next is another short film. This one’s called Bag Man, and it follows the journey of an enigmatic 12-year-old as he treks out of the city and into the countryside. What’s his purpose? And what’s he carrying inside that mysterious duffle bag? If you watch this haunting little gem, directed by Jonathan and Josh Baker of TWIN, you might just learn the answers … and get to enjoy some seamless practical and visual effects conjured by Legacy Effects and The Mill:

Sticking with sci-fi, my next choice is a new trailer for Ex_Machina. Written and directed by Alex Garland and due to be release next spring, this looks like a thoughtful riff on the themes I enjoyed recently in Caradog James’s The Machine (the female android stars of the two movies even share the same name – Ava). Ex_Machina stars the wonderful Domhnall Gleeson, features some gorgeous visual effects courtesy of Double Negative and Milk VFX and is my favourite trailer of the week:

More androids next, with a short proof-of-concept film by VFX artist-turned-director Hazraf Dulull. The high concept behind Sync is that, in the near future, hack-resistant robotic data couriers will be used to transfer sensitive material securely. That is, until something goes wrong. The film includes some smart effects shots, many delivered by graduates of Escape Studios:

You’ll want to set aside the best part of an hour to watch this next treat. It’s a full recording of this week’s Interstellar press conference, posted yesterday by HeyUGuys. The event was held in London and featured conversation with writer/director Christopher Nolan, together with cast member including Matthew McConaughey, Jessica Chastain, Anne Hathaway and Sir Michael Caine:

As a Brit who grew up reading Michael Bond’s Paddington books, and chortling over the charming animated series that aired on the BBC, I find myself approaching this big-screen adaptation of the classic children’s stories with considerable trepidation. The production values are high, the London settings look pretty, and Paddington himself – that sweet-natured-but-clumsy bear from Darkest Peru – is convincingly realised by Framestore. It’s just that … sheesh, he’s an awfully long way from the Paddington I know and love. Or maybe I’m just getting old. Watch the latest trailer, released just this week, and decide for yourself:

Since it’s Halloween, I thought I’d end this round-up with something spooky. Prosthetic Makeup Transformation is a great little time-lapse sequence showing Spectral Motion’s Mike Elizalde transforming EdenBeauty into a horrible hag using classic makeup techniques and a neat two-piece prosthetic:

Now I’m done for another week, it’s over to you. Which is your favourite from this little roundup? Vote in our poll below. Or perhaps you spotted a video you’d like to share with the world – if so, just paste the details into the “Other” box. If I see one I like, I’ll include it in next week’s roundup.