Post Magazine

August 2018

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FILMMAKING 13 POST AUGUST 2018 to who you really are, the people who you really love, the people that really matter in life, the importance of doing nothing, and if you do nothing, ultimately you can discover yourself again. It can open your heart again. There are all these incredible topics, which are more important than ever in the time we live in." I imagine it was challenging to work on a set, with some characters that were digital/CG and not actually there when you were shooting? "Yes, it was tricky with CG characters. Normally, I'm used to, 'Oh, the light is per- fect, let's shoot.' With the hero pass, you have to make sure that the light is perfect and the shot is perfect, but nothing is in the frame, so I shot some of these with the stuffed animals that I wanted in there and shot hand held. Also, when you shoot something that's empty, it doesn't give you the same satisfaction of a great act delivering some great lines. "It was also a very difficult task for Ewan (McGregor), because ultimately he was acting to air. I had stuffed animals made, my whole office was full of fabrics, for Pooh's sweater, and I had a stuffy on a stick. I had a young student just out of drama school read the lines and I blocked the scenes with the stuffy what I wanted Pooh to do. Then we had a rehearsal with Ewan, acting with the stuffy and he had the lines, and then the stuffy had been taken out and he only had the eyeline stick at different spots where the charac- ter would be at certain lines and he had to act to air. It was really hard." How many visual effects shots are there and what studio was the lead VFX house on the film? "To be honest, it's not that crazy. It's around 1,400, and Framestore and Iloura were the two lead houses. Framestore was in London and Montreal, and Iloura was in Melbourne." Did you do any previs? "Yes, we did lots of previs and obviously with the CG characters and some com- plete CG scenes. We worked with The Third Floor on that." How early on did you integrate post and the visual effects? "I started integrating once we started to prep in London. Most of the previs was here in Los Angeles and then finished up in London once we moved there. But it set the look and feel in regards to our image boards and mood boards, and then ultimately, the previs made it very clear exactly what kind of movie I was intend- ing to make and the differentiation of the live action versus the cartoon version we all know. I went back and looked at the original, black and white, E. H. Shepard drawings of the characters and at the ear- ly animations, some of the drawings from Disney, but really, I wanted the stuffed animals to feel like they were vintage, like they have a feeling of being used, having been played with, and to get that real authentic feel with them. "Framestore basically wrote an origi- nal program just for Pooh's jumper (his red sweater) — it was that hard to make that work." What were the main technical challenges in pulling it all together? "On the production side, it was very pleasant, right at the beginning. I said I wanted to keep the camera pretty low, handheld, pretty much to the ground. It had to feel very fluid. And everyone com- pletely understood that. We did a couple of tests and the tests turned out fantastic. It's the first time they had done anything like this, and we had a challenge where we only had 32 weeks in post, and it was very tight to finish it up but we made it. So that was very exciting." What are your feelings about the post production portion of the filmmaking process? "In a film where you're dealing with eight or nine animated characters, it's much more complicated. You're directing part of the film in post because you're recording the voices with the actors in the booth, you're coming back and putting them in, Director Forster, on-set

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