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May 2018

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Page 5 of 43 4 POST MAY 2018 BITS & PIECES LOS ANGELES — Avengers: Infinity War marks Marvel's longest — and most successful — film to date. The feature runs nearly two-and-a-half hours, and is packed with action, helping it break box office records with a $250M+ opening weekend and a strong performance in the weeks that followed. A bigger cast of superheroes has never been assembled, and moviego- ers will see many of their favorites, in- cluding Iron Man, Spiderman, Captain America, Hulk, Black Widow, Doctor Strange, Black Panther and the entire Guardians of the Galaxy crew. As you can imagine, there's no shortage of visual effects. Directed by Anthony and Joe Russo, the feature was shot for IMAX presentation using Arri 65 cameras. Editor Jeffrey Ford, who worked with the Russos on 2016's Captain America: Civil War, as well as on 2012's The Avengers (directed by Joss Whedon), was once again called on to help cut the film. He was joined in the editing duties by frequent col- laborator, Matt Schmidt. "Those cameras are amazing," says Ford of the Arri units. "The resolution is just stunning! We wanted to have an aspect ratio that blows you away — IMAX — and we had a version of the film that was 2.40 anamorphic wide- screen format for the regular release, so we were working with two different aspect ratios and we wanted them both to be as good as possible." Ford and Schmidt cut the film on Avid systems, working at DNx115 resolution. "[It's] a little bit higher resolution than what we normally work at," Ford notes, "and takes a little more memory when you are editing, but it allows us to really see the detail and depth of what the Arri 65 was capturing…DNx115 is sort of the top of the chain of the Avid compression, basically before you go to 1:1, and some people even master in that. It's very hard to see any artifacting in it. It's pretty stunning when you screen it. It's like screening an uncompressed HD master of your movie. We can project it very big and it holds up. And for looking at it in the edit room on a big monitor, it's a stunning image. " Ford and Schmidt did quite a bit of travelling during the film's production and post, cutting in Los Angeles, Atlanta and even Scotland at times. As it turns out, next year's Avengers film was being shot si- multaneously, so they were dealing with twice as much material as they would for a single feature. "One week we might shoot some- thing from 'movie 3' and the next week we might shoot something from 'movie 4' and then back to '3' and then to '4,'" Ford recalls. "We were editing two films at once, and trying to stay as close to camera as we could…We were really inundated with footage. I think there was something like 890 hours of footage captured for both movies. " Ford has been cutting on Avid systems since 1994. "For me, it's not only the system of choice, it's the non- linear system that I have been using for pretty much my entire career… I have worked on other nonlinear editing systems, but by far and away, I prefer the Avid interface to all of them. I think, for me, the quality of the compression is stunning. And I use the soundtrack tools. The ability to create a nearly-finished soundtrack as you're editing is one of the bonuses of the Avid system." According to Ford, one of the film's most challenging scenes takes place on Titan, where the Avengers are trying to disarm Thanos. "That sequence, we began working on the previsualization version of it in November of 2016. I began editing it then. Some of the shots that were in that sequence are in the final version of the movie." The Third Floor handled previs for the film. The sequence where Thanos (James Brolin) uses the coveted Reality Stone to show Doctor Strange (Benedict Cumberbatch) what Titan once looked like was the last scene that the editors cut. In it, the screen wipes from right to left, showing a beautiful planet that has become a post apocalyptic dust bowl. "We adjusted some cuts as the pattern was wiping along," says Ford. "We changed some of the edits there with Doctor Strange, and had to work on the backgrounds with him. So that was the last picture change of the movie and we had to do a little previs and post-vis to make the picture change work. We were still working on it in late March, right up to when we had to deliver." Ford's favorite scenes features Thanos and Zoe Saldana's Gamora character. "Visual effects is working at the top of [their] game in that scene, in terms of creating a photoreal Thanos. (Josh) Brolin is incredible — and Zoe (Saldana) is incredible. That scene has so much going on in the subtext, and I think that we really delivered a performance that's all visual and really nuanced. It all came together in a way that I never expected to be so powerful." — By Marc Loftus For more on Avengers: Infinity War, including Post's complete interview with Jeffrey Ford, visit our Website, and see Post's June issue, next month. EDITING AVENGERS: INFINITY WAR Avengers was cut on Avid.

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