May 19, 2014

"VIRTUS" - Hong Kong Takes A Stab At Scifi

Hong Kong based FX house Fat Face seems intent to throw their hat into the independent scifi project with VIRTUS, a proof of concept film that might become a reality relatively soon. It's a rare treat to see scifi projects emerging from Chinese territories, which seem to be more enamored with exporting historical and fantasy projects abroad more than anything.

With the small taste that the trailer seems to offer, we're given a glimpse of what appears to be a heavy duty factory robot going berserk, at which point a special squad is sent in to take care of the issue. The quality of the visuals in the trailer was cinematic and impressive, and after looking at the robot designs it became pretty clear that they probably came from the mind of one of China's most influential concept artists.

We've featured the work of Long Ouyang before, but here's a refresher: He came to prominence thanks to his role as a concept artist at Weta Workshop, where he resided as a concept artist for just over 2 years. During his time there he had the chance to work on features including Man Of Steel, Elysium, The Amazing Spiderman 2, Hercules: The Thracian Wars and Edge of Tomorrow. 

What we really noticed about his concepts is that he seems to follow a more 'function over form' mentality to his work, which means an approach that emphasizes functionality over just making something that looks cool. A close look at his mech designs show joints and structural elements that reflect real life, giving his designs a much more believable look. There's been a real movement as of late to pay attention to functionality among some concept circles, and it's definitely not a bad route to take during one's career, especially if one intends to work in feature film.

Time will tell if VIRTUS turns out to be another proof of concept blip on the radar in the grand scheme of independent scifi 'could have been,' projects but we're hopeful that this project will see the light of day soon. In the meanwhile, enjoy the gorgeous Long Ouyang concept art goodies.

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