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February 2014

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Page 14 of 51 Post • February 2014 13 a lot of the effects, and they all did a great job. We needed a photoreal look, and it helped that they all knew exactly what the CG ele- ments for some of the planes should look like. And we had really good references. Here's the thing about visual effects: I find that if you can be very specific with all the artists and animators and so on, they can give you exactly what you want. But when you're not sure of what you want as a director, then things can get a little fuzzy." POST: Talk about working with the VFX supervisor Jesper Kjolsrud. BERG: "He's with Image Engine in Vancou- ver, Canada, and incredibly experienced. He worked on The Da Vinci Code when he was at Double Negative, and also did stuff on District 9 and Elysium and R.I.P.D. I like working with visual effects when you get what you need, so it was a great experience. Of course, it's never fast enough for me, but Jesper was really on top of every shot." POST: What was the most difficult VFX sequence to do and why? BERG: "Definitely the big helicopter crash. It's a big sequence and tough to do it photo- real, complete with people inside it, but I was so happy with it." POST: Can you talk about the importance of music and sound to you as a filmmaker? BERG: "Both are so important to me. I used Explosions in the Sky, this band from Texas that I also used for Friday Night Lights. They're very emotional, which is what I wanted for this, and they're very effective and really good at composing the right sort of tracks. And then for sound, we used Wylie Stateman, one of the greatest sound design- ers I've ever worked with. It's the first time I'd worked with him and he's done everything from Django Unchained, Inglourious Basterds and Kill Bill for Tarantino, to Alexander and Shrek, and he really upped the game. He's a real artist, and he brought all these great ele- ments to the gunfights, which was a key part of it all." POST: The DI must have been vital. How did that process help? BERG: "Stefan Sonnenfeld at Company 3 did it and he's the best. I'm fairly involved. Me and Tobias discuss what we want and the look we're after in great detail, and then Tobias really takes over. I go in and check it all, but Stefan and Tobias really do it." POST: What have been the biggest changes in the film business since you started? BERG: "Without a doubt, the whole digi- tal revolution, which of course, star ted in post. And all that's been great for me, as I tend to encourage a lot of improv on the set when I shoot, and I'm never quite sure what I want the actors to do, so digital cameras give me a lot of freedom I didn't have when I began directing. Now I can just keep going with 15-, 20-minute takes, and from different angles, so I get all this great coverage now." POST: But then you have to deal with an enormous amount of footage in post? BERG: "Yes, that's the downside, but then Colby and I've worked together closely for so long that he's used to it and knows how to sift through multiple takes and find the material I like." POST: Did it turn out the way you envi- sioned it? BERG: "It did. I'm very happy with it and feel we really did justice to the story and the SEALs involved in it. I'm proud of it." POST: Any interest in doing a 3D film? BERG: "None at all. It's not my thing." POST: Do you still shoot commercials? BERG: "I do a lot and I love them. You get to work with top crews, they're contained, and some of them are out of my comfort zone and push you to try things you normally wouldn't do. And I like meeting the clients and learning about all the different industries, whether it's Nike or milk, or the one I just did for the FDA, an anti-smoking ad. It's very inter- esting to me, so I'll keep directing commercials as well as movies. And all the commercials we do are digital. No one shoots film anymore." POST: Is film dead? BERG: "It's not quite dead but it's definitely hurting. I think it'll survive, but digital's just get- ting better and better every day now. It's hard to go back now to film." POST: What's your take on the current state of Hollywood? BERG: "The big problem is that no one shoots films in LA anymore, because of all the tax breaks elsewhere. So I think the business side of Hollywood is doing just fine, but the physical production side is horrible. I have a lot of friends who bought homes in LA and now they're never there, because of all the location shooting elsewhere, and they're missing their kids' lives — it's rough. And we shot this in New Mexico 100 percent because of the great tax credits. They're impossible to ignore. We have plenty of mountains in California that would have worked, but you just can't get the tax credits, so it's very frustrating." POST: What's next? BERG: "I've got this script called 'Cocaine Cowboys,' which I'm looking at, but I don't have anything definite lined up." Company 3's Stefan Sonnenfeld handled the DI for the project, which was shot using Red Epics. Lone Survivor features over 500 VFX. ILM and Image Engine handled key sequences.

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