Post Magazine

September 2015

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DIRECTOR'S CHAIR 15 POST SEPTEMBER 2015 about your material — what works and what doesn't." Where did you do the post? "We began the director's cut in Iceland at my company, and then we moved to London and got deeper into it, and did all the sound there too, at Pinewood, and all the grading at Company 3, who are great. And RVX is in Iceland, but some of the guys were in London too, so there was a lot of back and forth. I think London is one of the best places to do post, because everything's so close together in Soho. And it was long — over a year to finish the post." The film was edited by the great Mick Audsley, whose diverse credits include Dangerous Liaisons and Twelve Monkeys. Was he on the set? How did that relationship work? "He wasn't in Nepal but he came to the set in the Dolomites, and then stayed with us for the rest of the shoot. I hadn't worked with him before, but I needed someone who was experienced in deal- ing with a huge production like this, and he also has a bit of a classical approach. I'm not someone who's in the editing room a lot while shooting, unless there's a problem that needs discussing or fixing. I feel like the film's in my head a lot during the shoot, so I don't rely much on the editing then. I'd rather do a re-shoot if something's missing, as most of the time you can sit with the editor and fix it. And at the start, I like my editors to just have the material and not have me on their backs explaining how great it is. They have to digest it and hate it and love it and to take ownership, so they can be objective and creative. Then, after they've done their assembly, I get far more involved — but I'm still in and out. I like to give them space to work." There's obviously a huge number of visual effects shots in the film. How many are there? "Around 1,000, and we used various ven- dors, including Framestore, One of Us, ILP, Stereo D and Milk VFX with my company RVX doing most of the work. I like work- ing with VFX, and I love to be able to en- hance things and create stuff you couldn't have otherwise. I'm not that excited about creating explosions and monsters. I'm more into creating reality-based VFX, and to me the best VFX often go unnoticed, because they're so good you don't even realize they're there." What was the most difficult VFX sequence/shot to do and why? "Probably the really bad weather scenes, because you can't really do that prac- tically, so we had to build a lot of that from scratch and there are hardly any sets there. I had to be very high in the air to create the right look. I storyboarded it all, but there's only so much storyboards you can do." Can you talk about the importance of music and sound to you as a filmmaker? "It's another layer and another whole world you can create. Glenn Freemantle, who won the Oscar for Gravity, was our sound designer and supervising sound editor, and he did an amazing job. We even sent someone up Everest to record the real sounds, and for me, the authenticity of film lies just as much in the sound as the visuals. And I didn't want to have that action-movie-based type of sound. I want- ed it to be exciting, but reality-based. Of course, just reality would be a documenta- ry approach, so you try to find the essence of the sound. And music is very tricky, as you have to support the drama and emo- tional journey the audience goes through, but you don't want to overdo it. And stu- dios tend to go for the obvious. We did all the sound and music at Pinewood." The DI must have been vital. How did that process help? "I've done a couple of films with Company 3 and they're so good and Stefan Sonnenfeld did a great job on the grading. We wanted that stark, strong light of Everest, but there's also the pe- riod look of '96, so we needed that look, too. I just didn't want it to be dark or gloomy, but keep it very natural, and the look is almost monochrome, as it's this enormous white mountain." Did the film turn out the way you hoped it would? "Yes, I'm very happy with it. It's this long journey, and there are always surprises in post — some are good and others turn out differently from the way you'd pictured it. So that initial vision you have changes and develops, and you learn more and more about the story and the film just by doing it." Everest features 1,000 VFX, many of which enhance the already harsh conditions.

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