Media Production Mentoring

Free online film school designed with beginning filmmakers in mind.


The Life Within

I guess I haven't blogged about it, but I was really unimpressed with Beowulf. The CG just wasn't there. The motion was very poor and the animation suffered from a claymation feel.

A few days ago we got to talking about Final Fantasy: Spirits Within which came out a good six years earlier than Beowulf.

Here are my impressions after watching the DVD. I had seen the movie once before in theaters...

Aki's Eye

Good skin detail. They added freckles because perfectly smooth skin looks plastic. Overall, the motion was better than the modern stuff, but there were still many places where it felt like I was watching my wife play Sims 3 rather than a ground breaking animated film.

Also, hair just wasn't very good back then. They really worked hard at it in a few key moments, but it still wasn't anywhere near that of Sulley in Monster's, Inc. I'm not blaming Square, considering Zemeckis hadn't improved on their look.

The other major problem with "photo-realistic" animation is that objects just don't interact with each other properly. It just didn't feel like they were connecting in the kissing scene. Rather, they looked like two puzzle pieces that didn't quite fit.

Unfortunately, the DVD quality was horrible. For a movie that was originally rendered on a computer, having the image grainy and washed out is simply unacceptable. Also, I think the sound was a few frames off which can also happen when you have poor compression. Both of those facts made it really difficult to judge the quality of the animation.

Was the lame fire effect because it was made in 2001, or because the DVD was put together so poorly?


I'm pretty sure that primitive particle engines--that fling dust and debris around virtual space--are part of the issue. But the bad compression certainly didn't help anything.

The lesson? Your movie can be "hurt" at every point... even when you put it onto a DVD. So be careful at each stage.

 ~Luke Holzmann
Your Media Production Mentor

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