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GODFREY, CHRIS: BABE PIG IN THE CITY

Chris Godfrey of Sydney’s digital effects house, Animal Logic, was the visual effects supervisor on Babe: Pig in the City. He talks to ANDREW L. URBAN

Godfrey is conducting this interview on his mobile phone, walking across the road for a coffee from the Kennedy Miller production office in Sydney’s Kings Cross, just days before work wraps on the Babe sequel he describes as "phenomenal".

"developing a way of working the way George likes to work"

"We started by quoting on about 40 shots," he says, "then it went to 100, then to 170 and we finished up with 207 shots, as George (Miller, director) got more confident with us about the whole thing." That is the largest number of digital shots created for the film, he says proudly, with Rhythm & Hues doing about 180 and London’s The Mill a further 90 or so. "It’s fabulous that an Australian house has done the biggest part of this work," he says.

Digital work on the film required included everything from talking animals to chromakeys, rotavision, wires, compositing and much more. Animal Logic had one crew at Kennedy Miller and another crew at its own head office in Crows Nest, across the Sydney Harbour Bridge.

"two such large projects simultaneously"

"We developed a whole lot of new software for compositing, but there was just as much work in developing a way of working the way George likes to work; it’s a matter of style."

Godfrey, who was also handling visual effects for the big budget war drama shooting in Queensland, The Thin Red Line, is amazed at having worked on two such large projects simultaneously. "I’ve rapidly gone from the instant gratification of a two week tv commercial shoot. . . this has been a 12 month exercise." Even more gratifying, though, is the fact that Animal Logic’s hefty investment in the appropriate technology, resources and expertise has finally started to pay off. The big players are talking to the ‘Animals’.

"major international work"

"I can now walk into Los Angeles with enormous credibility and access to scripts so we can bid for work. A year ago we were scratching to get our hands on scripts. We’ve gone from a little Australian company to a company bidding successfully for major international work."

December, 1998

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