Thursday, May 08, 2008

9 Keys to Innovation: Brad Bird

I found this neat little interview/article linked from I haven’t seen it linked in the usual animation related blogs I check now and then, so I thought I’d throw out a link. It’s a really great (and quick) read on how to keep innovation growing. An excerpt to whet your appetite….

Lesson Two: Perfect is the Enemy of Innovation

Brad Bird: I had to shake the purist out of them—essentially frighten them into realizing I was ready to use quick and dirty “cheats” to get something on screen… I’d say, “Look, I don’t have to do the water through a computer simulation program… I’m perfectly content to film a splash in a swimming pool and just composite the water in.” I never did film the pool splash [but] talking this way helped everyone understand that we didn’t have to make something that would work from every angle. Not all shots are created equal. Certain shots need to be perfect, others need to be very good, and there are some that only need to be good enough to not break the spell.

More cool stuff like this in the article. Take 10 minutes and check it out.

1 comment:

Keith Lango said...

All previous comments:
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Like you said, great, great stuff! Cheers Keith!

Comment by Alan Starship — May 8, 2008 @ 9:18 pm

Quick and dirty cheats are fine if you are only doing something once but if you have to do something many times then it can be a problem.

The splash is a good example of how such work arounds can contrain changes at a later date

Brad’s approach would work well for films or advertising where things are often only done once but may not work for TV series.

Comment by Andy — May 9, 2008 @ 12:46 am

Yes, this is a great interview.

If you are doing cheats more than once, usually, you can find an economical way of replicating them. Kind of the same principal of buying in bulk. The cost of figuring out the effect the first time amortizes over the run of the series.

In the case of a one-off, like Brad was saying, it depends on the importance of the shot. The parting of the Red Sea requires a lot more attention than debris falling in the ocean 20 feet behind the main character. Effects like that just need to be good enough not to distract.

I was watching the behind the scenes from the original Terminator, and found out that the final close up shot of the Terminator being crushed was done with foamcore painted to look like a steel press and someone blowing cigarette smoke in front of the camera from off screen. Beauty. We bought it because we were watching that glowing eye, not the steel press or the smoke.

Comment by Tim Hodge — May 9, 2008 @ 12:44 pm

..that’s very inspiring.all his lessons are very refreshing ..Perfect is the Enemy of Innovation..just the words i live on . :) thanx keith, or i would’ve missed the whole thing !

Comment by roshan — May 13, 2008 @ 3:26 am

This is the best interview I have read in my entire lifetime… Brad Bird ROCKS!

Thank you for sharing…

Comment by Ali Asad — June 3, 2008 @ 4:55 am