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Arnie in Terminator Genisys (2015)
A digital and younger Arnie created at MPC

MPC and the VFX industry

As audiences demand ever-more spectacular films and TV, the VFX industry seems to be growing. The UK is a global centre for VFX with well known companies based here.

The UK’s VFX capabilities are now a major draw for Hollywood’s big budget films and they helped drive inward investment in the film industry to 920 million dollars as far back as 2010. Now there are around 6000 personnel working in the UK industry.

Like most multinational VFX companies MPC, originally known as The Moving Picture Company, started out small. It was founded in 1970, and started life as a production company in Soho, London making TV commercials shot on film. They soon became early adopters of video technology, and eventually digital post-production. By 2005, MPC had became part of Thomson, now known as Technicolor, and became a leader in digital film.

Today’s guerrillas are tomorrow’s top box office

It’s helpful to understand the difference between how a company like MPC does visual effects as compared to what the guerilla filmmaker can accomplish.

“It’s like an small car customization service compared to a major car manufacturer”, says Andrew Schlussel, Global Head of Training and Development at MPC, “An independent filmmaker can make an individual shot or two look good, but they can’t scale up to doing a large number of shots with a high level of complexity demanded for big box office feature films”.

MPC has hundreds of people working in its various departments and many others supporting them, like the production team and software department. So you shouldn’t expect to be able to achieve VFX work at the level of MPC. However, if you plan well, have realistic expectations, and an understanding of what goes into the process, you can create effects that can enhance your work and get you noticed.

You may want to read a short article on LinkedIn by Andrew Schlussel here on tips for becoming a visual effects artist.

Today’s guerrilla filmmakers become tomorrows hot shot directors who seek the services of experts like MPC. Tarantino, Lynch, Scott, all cut their teeth on small productions before getting into features- so this course has worked with MPC on a series of video interviews and articles that we hope will give an insight into complex and startling VFX, as increasingly today’s high-end techniques makes their way down to tomorrow’s guerrilla filmmaker everyday use.

We hope you enjoy these special insights. First, we’ll hear from MPC’s Head of Crowd Simulation and Motion Capture. If you don’t know what Crowd Simulation entails, stay tuned!

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This article is from the free online course:

Visual Effects for Guerrilla Filmmakers

Norwich University of the Arts (NUA)

Get a taste of this course

Find out what this course is like by previewing some of the course steps before you join:

  • Storyboards are only one way to communicate. Lets look at some VFX definitions.
    Visual effects or special effects?

    Like any creative subject it helps to share definitions about what things mean -this can be confusing for newcomers; it'll help us communicate better.

  • Tracking and layers: a gentle start
    Tracking and layers: a gentle start

    HitFilm guru Simon Jones shows us how to build a dramatic shot in HitFilm using layers of stock footage we provide on the course. Enjoy your 'comping'

  • The Blaine Brothers guide to using VFX
    The Blaine Brothers guide to using VFX

    The Blaine Brothers have a positive can-do attitude to VFX, and see it as a tool that should be used in the service of a story, not as decoration.

  • Still from Georges Méliès' "India Rubber Head" (1901)
    A short history of keying

    Keying isnt just a digital invention. From the early days of cinema in the 19th century film makers had used 'mattes' to amaze their audiences.

  • Insider tips on shooting green screen
    Insider tips on shooting green screen

    Justin Hunt, our long suffering director of photography for our HitFilm footage has years of experience of green screen to share with you here.

  • Cab Calloway (1932) Minnie the Moocher
    What is Rotoscoping?

    Rotoscoping is probably the most time-consuming of VFX techniques. It's often a last resort when you can't pull a key. Let's find out more about it.

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