News Reel & Blog

Written by James Cheetham on 29th October 2014


As Netflix continues to make headlines with further acquisitions and original content announcements, it came as no surprise when they pushed themselves into the movie business with news of their 4-picture deal with Adam Sandler and funding for a Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon sequel.

Having already disrupted the TV business and now setting their sights on Hollywood, some of the US’s biggest chains are now starting to show defiance towards this change in the market place, with Cinemark, Regal,AMC and Carmike all refusing to show the announced films in their screens.

It’s baffling that they’d rather cause a conflict than embrace the new technologies, and as Netflix continues to grow along with its competition, it could prove to be a fatal mistake.

And speaking of the competition, HBO recently announced they plan to move further into the VOD market place, developing their HBO Go service to offering an outright VOD streaming service that could prove some serious competition for Netflix.

HBO of course have a very attractive back catalogue to offer a new customer base, and their announcement should have the Netflix bosses worried, especially with news of Netflix not hitting subscriber targets in the last quarter.  

But from a consumer point of view this is all good news; as Netflix continue to seek out new original programming, and with HBO entering the ring, it will only mean both models will be aiming to put out the best content possible.

And as Netflix continues to expand further afield and establish itself in more countries, their international hold increases. During October’s MIPCOM 2014, Netflix’s Chief Content Officer Ted Sarandos spoke about their move into the French market and made the pertinent point that programmes without international potential simply won’t get produced.    

So while others across the TV and Film businesses are starting to get on the defensive, the rest of us could be in for a new wave of exciting and boundary breaking TV and Film.  (Adam Sandler pictures aside of course…)


Written by James Cheetham on 2nd October 2014

With Summer Blockbuster season at an end and the usual bombardment of CGI and Motion Capture films coming to a close, we thought we'd look at the top ten VFX milestones in cinema.



Directed by George Melies, this French silent film was one of the first forages into VFX as it depicted a group of astronauts journeying to the moon and being set upon by a race of underground lunar creatures.  



An adaptation of Arthur Conan Doyle's celebrated novel, it featured Willis O'Brien's pioneering stop motion animation which led to the iconic animation in King Kong and was the inspiration to stop motion legend, Ray Harryhausen.  



One of the most influential Science Fiction films of all time, this German expressionist film used new special effects methods such as the use of miniatures (a method still utilised by directors such as Peter Jackson) and mirrors to give the impresion the actors were occupying the miniature sets, a process which became known as  the Schüfftan process.



Another film that utilised stop motion animation, and possibly one of the most famous alongisde Clash of The Titans, this epic fantasy had its special effects in the confident hands of Ray Harryhausen, one of its most iconic scenes being the skeleton sword fight. 

5. 2001: A SPACE ODYSSEY(1968)


A Stanley Kubrick classic, this film pioneered the use of front projection (now replaced with green screen) which produced the backgrounds such as the desert terrain and the surface of the moon, a technique which also utilised the use of mirrors and reflections with the camera, a progression of the VFX used in Metropolis back in the 1920s. 

6. TRON(1982)


A box office failure on release, and now a cult classic, TRON was one of the first films to use extensive computer animation, although because of this they were omitted from a special effects nomination; the Oscars judging panel claimed they'd 'cheated' by using computers. 

7. TERMINATOR 2 (1991)


A huge success at the box office and the winner of Best Special Effects at the Oscars, James Cameron's Terminator sequel used a mix of painstakingly detailed models and computer animation to create the T1000 antagonist and his liquid metal morphing.

8. TOY STORY(1995)


An obvious entry, Toy Story was the first feature length computer animated film, a classic Pixar movie which paved the way for what has become the staple for family films.  

9. LORD OF THE RINGS - The Two Towers(2002)


The dawn of VFX motion capture and Andy Serkis' break through role, the mixture of Serki's Golum portrayal  and the VFX motion capture team at Weta Digital paved the way for the motion capture you see in the majority of large scale blockbusters released today. 

10. AVATAR(2009)


Taking the motion capture and green screen methods used throughout the 00s, Avatar took it to the next level and created an entire new world, motion captured each creature and character and was filmed entirely in 3D. And while it could be argued the plot was fairly standard, the VFX used through out took the industry a step forward.

So there you have it, our personal VFX milestones, but more importantly, what are yours?

Any changes or omissions you would make?