DMA Central


“Doctor Who” Movie in Pre-Production

It’s official: Director David Yates will bring the BBC’s time-traveling Time Lord to the big screen. The announcement came today via the Hollywood industry trades. The Doctor Who film, which still has an undetermined release date, will be an entirely new take on the popular franchise.

Director David Yates calls the shots on the set of Harry Potter and the and the Order of the Phoenix, as actor Rupert Grint looks on. 

The Doctor is In
Yates is teaming up with Jane Tranter, head of L.A.-based BBC Worldwide Productions to develop Doctor Who into a feature film – with the same idea to make Doctor Who a multi-film blockbuster series – much like the Harry Potter films.  ”We’re looking at writers now. We’re going to spend two to three years to get it right,” Yates told Variety. “It needs quite a radical transformation to take it into the bigger arena.”

Doctor Who is the BBC’s most popular television series ever, with the original Dr. Who series running from 1963 to 1989. The latest version, which was rebooted in 2005, stars Matt Smith as the 11th Doctor Who. The show is the BBC’s most lucrative franchise and airs on BBC America.

What Came Before 
For the uninitiated, Doctor Who is a traveler, a super-intelligent alien who battles universal enemies across time and space. Yates is obviously intrigued by the character: “The notion of the time-traveling Time Lord is such a strong one, because you can express story and drama in any dimension or time,” but while the director appreciates what has come before, Yates acknowledged, ”Russell T. Davies and then Steven Moffat (the series re-booters and writers) have done their own transformations, which were fantastic, but we have to put that aside and start from scratch.”

The movie version would not follow the TV show and the film’s makers are looking for writers who will understand a fresh approach, while at the same time capturing the essence of the TV show. “We want a British sensibility, but having said that, Steve Kloves wrote the Potter films and captured that British sensibility perfectly, so we are looking at American writers too,” he explained.

Two previous films were based on the TV series: Doctor Who and the Daleks (1965) and Doctor Who: Daleks’ Invasion Earth 2150 A.D. (1966), both of which starred Peter Cushing as the Doctor. And while BBC had attempted to remake the show into a film before, the clout that Yates and Tranter bring to the table promise the film should be fast-tracked.

Director David Yates gives direction to actors Rupert Grint, Emma Watson and Daniel Radcliffe on the set of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Part 1.

The Digital Filmmaking Frontier
Director David Yates is no stranger to blockbuster franchises. In fact, Yates helmed the last four Harry Potter films: Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows (Parts 1 & 2), Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince and Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix. The director uses state-of-the-art cameras and special effects to make his blockbusters but he also understands story and character development. Learning special effects and high-end production are just a few of the requirements for movie-making. The movie-making craft can take a lifetime to master; looks like Mr. Yates certainly mastered it.


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posted by DMA Jordan in Digital Filmmaking,News Blog and have No Comments

How To Blow Up A UFO: Creating Visual Effects For The Movies

“How can I make this UFO shoot laser-beams and then explode?”

The question may sound a bit strange, but for Devon Conradson of Los Almos, NM it’s a question that’s pretty common for people in the career he’s exploring – Creating Hollywood Visual Effects. Everyone needs to start somewhere, Devon started with a passion for science fiction movies and with a little inspiration from his family. And Devon’s seen first hand the real possibility of working in the movie business – you see, he also has a cousin who worked on the recent box office hit, Toy Story 3.

Devon’s just spent the past week learning how to create visual effects for the movies like the big timers in Hollywood. And now Devon’s creative ideas are now turning into real life graphics like those in Hollywood blockbusters.

But right now he’s trying to figure out how to make a UFO blow up.

“We get all the hands on time in class, so you can take something you’ve learned and apply it right away.”

Currently, most Hollywood movies rely on the use of green screens to manipulate backgrounds and replace the “green screen” with other pieces of video and effects to create entirely new environments. This is exactly what Devon did. Using a program called Adobe After Effects, one of the industry’s leading visual effects programs Devon took images from various resources and created a layout of objects, backgrounds and text. This “composite” was used with other “assets” to create an entirely new film. Check it out:

At the Mini-Film Festival at the end of the week, Devon shows off his destructive side, the rest of the class watches as a UFO is destroyed. It’s met with laughs and applause by fellow classmates, parents, and instructors. After a 5-day class learning the inside of Hollywood Visual Effects at Digital Media Academy, Devon’s learned how to blow up a UFO. “I had a lot of fun. The week flew by so fast – I don’t want to go home. But that’s ok, I plan on coming back next year and continue to pursue a career in visual effects.”

Digital Media Academy’s 2010 summer courses run from July 21st to August 6th. Learn more about DMA’s courses a here.

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posted by DMA Jordan in News Blog and have No Comments