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December 2018

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Page 7 of 43 6 POST DECEMBER 2018 BITS & PIECES EDITING UNIVERSAL PICTURES' GREEN BOOK LOS ANGELES — Universal Pictures' Green Book brings polar opposites together for a road trip of the South in the early 1960s. Tony 'Lip' Vallelonga (portrayed by Viggo Mortensen) is an Italian- American bouncer from the Bronx who's been hired to drive the black, world-class pianist Dr. Don Shirley (Mahershala Ali) on a concert tour of the Deep South. As Shirley's chauffer, Tony must rely on "The Green Book" to guide them to the few establishments that are welcoming to African- Americans. Their journey confronts racism and danger, as well as cultural differences, though the duo form a genuine friendship. The film was directed by Peter Farrelly and edited by Patrick J. Don Vito. The two collaborat- ed on 2013's Movie 43 and again on a pilot. When this project came up, Don Vito was immediately interested. "The script was amazing and I immediately just gravitated towards it," Don Vito recalls. "It's an inter- esting genre because it's not just drama, it's has so much comedy in it." Much of the shoot took place in Louisiana, and Don Vito worked from the film's production office in New Orleans, beginning work on the edit around Thanksgiving of 2017. The feature was shot on Arri's Alexa, and Don Vito cut the proj- ect on an Avid system, working with dailies that were processed at FotoKem nearby. FotoKem, he says, organized the footage and applied a LUT to create consistency. Green Book was shot at a 2:1 aspect ratio, and Don Vito worked at DNx115 resolution. The editor says his goal was to make the feature feel as real as possible — as if the audience is right there with the actors. "Since we had such great actors, I was able to stay on shots longer, because they were just in it ev- ery single moment. Even when things went wrong, they would just stay in-character and keep going." Don Vito cites the 'Kentucky Fried Chicken scene,' where Tony and Doctor Shirley are in the car, eating. "[Tony] bites the chicken and then he spits out a grisly piece," recalls Don Vito. "That was just an ac- cident, but he stayed in-character the whole time... The noise you hear is actually the piece of chicken hitting the slate that was right next to him. But he just kept going because it might be great — and it was! There are these happy actions that kind of make it seem more real." He applied that thought process to cutting the film's comedic scenes too. "When it came time to edit the comedy, I'd al- ways go, 'Is this real? Is this comedy coming out of a scene or is it a joke?'" he recalls. "If it were a joke, I cut it out. I was trying to make the comedy and the drama work together." Don Vito used his skills as an editor to restruc- ture a scene late in the film to have more comedic punch. The scene features Tony's family, whom are gathered for the holidays. The women of the family are in the kitchen, reading one of Tony's now-infamous letters. In the living room, the men discuss the family's long history of artistic talent, dating back to the days of Michelangelo. When one of the women tells her husband that she, too, wants a letter, he quips that he wants a home- cooked meal. "That was the stronger joke," says Don Vito. "That used to be in the middle of the scene, not the end. So I had to figure out a way to reorder the scene… Basically, we had to read the letter off-camera…Then we come back for the joke. That's one of the little, tricky things that you'd never know unless you saw the original scene." Surprisingly, the film has 385 visual effects, all completed by Pixel Magic. Effects ranged from removing modern signage and reflectors off the highway, and fixing a rip in the vinyl roof of the 'new' Cadillac, to replacing the on-set pianist's head — composer/music supervisor Kris Bowers — with that of actor Mahershala Ali's to create Doctor Shirley's incredible performances. "It was a big job for what it was," says Don Vito of the studio's work. "We started them early too, because we knew what we wanted. So literally, while we were still shooting, I got together the first piano sequence and said 'Let's start working on this,' because we need to make sure this is going to look right." Editorial ran through August, with completed VFX coming in up until the last minute. FotoKem handled the final conform. "It turned out better than I even expected," says Don Vito of the final results. "I knew it was going to be good…I had faith in Pete. He's amazing and I al- ways thought he's going to do something dramatic." — By Marc Loftus (L to R) Don Vito and Ali. Much of the shoot took place on-location in Louisiana.

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