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February 2017

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Page 20 of 43 19 POST DIRECTOR'S CHAIR FEBRUARY 2017 all German and a few Brits. They were really talented, great craftsmen and I'd work with them again in a heartbeat, but it was a challenge to get a rhythm going and dealing with communication. There's no shorthand, and we were trying to get this look and tap into that sense of 'something's inevitable.' There's that point of view, and it's embedded in all the composition and imagery we tried to create." Do you like the post process? "I love post, although my favorite part of the whole filmmaking process is that blank page you start with, when any- thing's possible and your imagination is free to just create. Because after that, it's all about compromise and you're dealing with all the nuts and bolts and money issues and schedules and casting and so on. And then you get to post, and I love that point in the edit where you start to get the arms and legs on the thing, and it takes form, and you have to listen to it. It's now the master, and you have to listen to what it wants to be. I'm fascinated by that. You shape and shape, and somehow it becomes this sentient thing that starts to dictate to you. That's the wonderful thing about post, where you have all these plans and intentions, and suddenly you're faced with surprises and all the subtext stuff that pops up." Where did you post? "We edited it at my Blindwink offices in Pasadena, and then did the rest of the post and the sound mixing with Paul Massey over at Fox on the lot." You edited the film with two editors — Lance Pereira and Pete Beaudreau. How did that work? "In fact we used three, and no one was on the set in Germany. Lance got dailies back at Blindwink, and after the shoot when I got back we started working. And then Pete came in about halfway through that process, and then Craig Wood came in at the very end to do a final polish. It's always a little tricky hav- ing two or three editors, as it's such a specific relationship between a director and editor and so important as you are rewriting the film together, and different editors have different strengths. So I go through every frame that we've shot for a scene, and do my selects and discuss the intended edit order. Usually by the time I come in, they already have it, as I encourage them to respond intuitively to the material first, and then I tell them how I wanted to put it together, and then we compare the two versions. And you always gain something by a differ- ent perspective. And first and foremost is performance. I'll always use a close-up — even before I want to use one — if it captures a moment. So we have endless discussions about all that and pacing and all the rest, and you're working with a microscope, and then you have to be able to step back and try and look at a scene as if for the first time." Can you talk about the importance of music and sound in the film? A lot of directors feel it's half the movie. "Definitely, especially in this genre. Maybe even more. We tried to create the sense that we opened a perfume bottle, and that this scent wafted across Manhattan and brought this summons to Lockhart. I think it really helped that our composer, Benjamin Wallfisch, was on site with us, next to the edit suite for six months, as we went over itera- tion after iteration of a score that felt both classic but that worked with the protagonist and the feeling that he's wandered off the path and gone out of bounds. There's the bit where the clock stops, and time sort of stops as he progresses into this sickness of modern man, and there's the feeling that the castle has had a point of view about this too for quite some time — and we were trying to put all that into the film through the music and sound, rather than with words. So right from the start, the score and all the sound design was critical, and David Farmer, our sound designer and sound editor, would come and go from Skywalker, so he was also with us during the edit the whole time at Blindwink. Usually on a film, as you shoot and cut, you temp the music as you go, and then the sound designer and composer come in fairly late in the process, but I felt it was crucial to get these two guys in right from the start. So we never really temped with some- one else's music or sound effects. We created every sound and music cue from the start, and we had this great Foley artist, Heikki Kossi, from Helsinki, who really got it. He didn't stack tons of sounds and overdo it. He just got simple, great recordings of exactly the right sounds, like the squeaky crutch." Tell us about all the VFX. "We did most of the VFX through Double Negative [DNeg] in London, with some by Lola and Rise, and we had a lot of shots. The eels were done with a mix of real eels and CG ones by DNeg, and then there was the CG deer in the car crash, and fire enhancement and a lot of third-act stuff I don't want to give away. The main aim was to make it all look photoreal rather than synthetic, and that wasn't easy with the eels." What about the DI? "We did it at Company 3 with Stephen Nakamura, and I'm always very involved. The goal there was to make it look as filmic as possible, and I think we did." Did it turn out the way you first envisioned it? "It did, although every film evolves and changes in post. But that's the beauty of post." Company 3 handled the DI.

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