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August 2018

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Page 22 of 43 21 POST AUGUST 2018 to remove from shots," Johnson explains. To give the audience a sense of being there on the rooftops, one camera and stunt rig was set up for Cruise's run and another rig for his leap. "They had to cut in the middle of the run," he says. "Our job was to take out the cut and join the two halves together. They needed to shoot the jump first, which was when Tom broke his ankle. So they couldn't shoot the run portion until winter, when Tom recovered, and we had to join that footage into shots from a sunny summer's day and match light- ing across the two shots." Johnson emphasizes that since Cruise doesn't use stunt doubles, the production had to wait for their star's ankle to heal. "They are very experienced filmmakers and film watchers," he says. "They want the experience to be totally authentic, which means they will go to great lengths to go right in there, up close. There were no compromises, so there were no shortcuts for us. If Chris or Tom had an idea, it had to be executed as described." BIG CHALLENGES The big challenges for Dneg were handling a high volume of shots with a short turnaround while keeping everything authentic. "Tom's injury meant they finished shooting much later than planned, and the release date was set," Johnson points out. "We pulled out all the stops to achieve a huge volume of work in a short amount of time with a high-quality threshold." To enable a 24/7 workflow, Dneg enlisted its Mumbai arm. "They have a really good skill set, es- pecially with photoreal work," he says. "We needed a lot of people working on the film; we had about 400 people on it at one stage." Dneg had a robust bespoke pipeline already in place along with a solid toolkit: Autodesk Maya for animation and lighting, SideFX's Houdini for effects, Foundry's Nuke for compositing and Isotropix's Clarisse for rendering. "The film was shot anamorphic 35mm and IMAX at 8K," Johnson says. "All film material was scanned at 4K, and all digital material was handled in the same way. Everything went through one-stop digital shop Fluent Image, which had a central server that all facilities could access. "The other VFX vendors were all London-based so we could pop round to see how they were doing and bring in Chris to fine tune things. The proximity was great, but the vendors also have a long history of great work and they continued to demonstrate that. They were good, friendly com- panies to work with." Johnson notes that, "the key to this film was get- ting access" to all of the stunning locations. "It was a belt-and-braces (suspenders) kind of situation so we could address anything that came up. Every shot was real. Our job was to add a little icing on top or remove some of the icing dribbling down the side. We had fantastic source material to work with, and that shows in the results." Johnson learned two valuable lessons during the production, he says. "Chris told me 'don't accept second best.' That sounds logical, but we're often under pressure to work very quickly and some- times we're forced to compromise. But Chris does not, and it shows in the film. When you have Tom flying a helicopter, acting and operating a camera at the same time, that demonstrates their level of commitment and training. It certainly inspired me not to accept second best. "And the first AD, Tommy Gormley, taught me that no matter how much pressure you're under, you can't let it filter down to your team. You mustn't let it roll downhill." To be sure, there are absolutely no downhill moments in Mission: Impossible — Fallout. Fallout's VFX are all believable. Cruise is known for performing his own stunts. Dneg had to remove cameras from shots. International locations play a big part in the film.

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