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New Deal Studios is where the line between illusion and reality disappears. Come along for a peek behind the magician’s curtain at one of Hollywood’s top visual effects houses. In this Creative Inspirations documentary, find out how key scenes from Martin Scorsese’s film Shutter Island were created, as well as segments of The Dark Knight and Night at the Museum. Using a combination of models, miniatures, computer graphics, and digital effects, New Deal Studios was designed from the ground up to be a place where effects professionals could do their best work, and where filmmakers could have their visions realized.
(Music playing) Ian Hunter: New Deal Studios got started, first, as Hunter-Gratzner Industries. I freelanced around for little bit and Matthew has his own company, and we worked together and we found that we actually sort of meshed really well in terms of work style and ethics, and we basically had the same ideas, in terms of how to approach a project and how to get it accomplished, and because of that, we found that we could actually work the other really well.
So the company I worked for stopped, and I was out in the road, and at that point, because we worked together so well, we decided that we should actually form a company together. Shannon Blake Gans: I was in the undergrad program at USC Business School, for entrepreneurship, was the emphasis, and I had to write a business plan for my senior project, and I was working with these two, and we had these opportunities coming up, and we started. Launched the company 14 years ago. And we revisit that plan, actually. Because the industry is changing so quickly, earlier in the years it was like once or twice a year, we would sit and talk and reevaluate the plan, and where the market is, and where we want go and kind of realign ourselves, and then these days it's - life is moving so quickly at every month, every week.
Matthew Gratzner: It was originally sort of an art direction and miniature effects company, because both Ian and I do a lot of concept art and draw, but what we brought to the table was moreso not just a sort of a vendor, or a vendor-client relationship, but somebody that could actually provide creative work as well. And then from there, we went on to digital effects, which is sort of the next evolution. And from that, we've gone into production, and starting to develop our own content, so we can sort of do it all in-house. But the 21st-century studio is, funny enough, almost like a 1930's studio, in the sense that you have one facility that you can build the sets or at least design the sets, do the miniature effects, do the digital effects, pre-plan, have offices set up for casting, and art department and effects, and essentially try to keep everything under one roof so you're not constantly going to all these subcontractors to do the work. And then you get into post, where you can do the digital effects.
We have a screening room with a DI suite so you can actually color correct the film, and you are kind of starting with a project from beginning to end, without having to constantly go to different sources, and other subcontractors to get the work done, and keeping that same vision from beginning to end. That doesn't mean that a studio can't come in and make suggestions and change things. It certainly will happen and can happen. But I think the idea the 21st century studio is having a production facility that is, as I said, like the old days film where you're kind of trying to keep it all under one roof. Everybody is focused with one goal of making a really great picture, a really great film.
Shannon Blake Gans: So as the company continues to evolve, as well as the industry overall, and business models are changing, we are looking at what is New Deal Studios kind of 3.0? We had Hunter/Gratzner Industries, and then what we have been in the last seven years is New Deal Studios. And that is to be a production company, as well as a service-based company, to work on our films as well as others, because we love working with all kinds of creative people, and our goal is to kind of create a new production paradigm, kind of set a good example and help kind of write that first draft of what the future is with the new economy.
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