Post Magazine

October 2013

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HOWARD: "You're right. It's a big problem with coverage as you can easily lose track of them as characters. So the struggle was to carry the drama away from the track, and follow what's going on in their lives and heads, which was very important to me and which I felt makes the whole story fresh and interesting and surprising. I had to let all that inform the look and feel of the movie, and their relationship with their cars. So we used all these on-board cameras to get an intimate, insightful look." POST: How early did you have to integrate post into the shoot to pull off all the race footage? HOWARD: "We did some rough pre vis, but they weren't followed rigorously. They were more just exploratory to help us think about ways of looking at the races, and they were very helpful. But I decided I didn't want to use digital and CGI to create a lot of impossible shots on this. I felt that'd run counter to the '70s aesthetic that Anthony and I were going for." POST: Do you like the post process? HOWARD: "I love it. I love the edit and slowly pulling the movie together after the madness of the shoot." POST: Where did you do the post? HOWARD: "It was a bit complicated. We edited first in London, and then in the US near my house, and then went back to the UK and took it further and did ADR at De Lane Lea, and finally went to Berlin and did all the scoring and mixing there at Tonstudio Hanse Warns. And that arrangement turned out to be fantastic." POST: The film was edited by your longtime collaborators Dan Hanley and Mike Hill, who won the Oscar for Apollo 13. How early were they involved and were they on set? HOWARD: "They never really go to the set, and on this movie we had such a flood of footage as we shot digital. There's a tendency to never turn off the camera, and I always shoot a lot, so this time it was an unprece- dented amount for them to deal with. In fact, Dan came on a bit earlier than Mike in post, and one of the first things he did was to study the pre vis and then look at all the archival race footage we'd collected as research, and then he began editing versions of the scripted races together using the archival. "He was pulling from different races, so it didn't exactly make sense, but we knew what he was doing, and it was very revealing. He also used material from other films, and it was this big exercise. But it also established a look that would both allow us to use more archival, which was very helpful and exciting in terms of broadening the scope of the movie, and to conform the archival with some CGI adjustment to what our story needed. So it informed the sort of camera moves we wanted. Unlike, say, Fast & Furious which does a great job of using CGI to create shots that are impossible — like starting on the tire, going up, over the hood and in through the window. I love it! But it's a movie moment, and with this I wanted it to be as real and immersive as possible for the audience, and work in that style. And that suited me and Anthony. It's a fast way to shoot, it's not intrusive on the actors, and let us get a lot of race action done." POST: Talk about working with Double Negative, VFX supervisor Jody Johnson, and all the VFX. HOWARD: "Jody and Double Negative were great. All the visual effects were handled by Double Negative in London, with Pixomondo also doing some shots. We had about 700 VFX shots in the end, of varying types. A lot were just brush strokes and rig removal stuff, but we also had our big moments where cars are crashing and then things where it's just too dangerous and too expensive and unpredictable to try and do any other way except with VFX." POST: Sound and music is always important, but it seems even more crucial than usual in a movie like this. HOWARD: "I agree. It's always huge to me, but it was so significant on this. Hans Zimmer did a great job on the score despite a very tight budget, and sound effects and editing are especially vital when you're doing a Formula 1 movie. You hear those cars before you ever see them, and it's an experience already. And even though RPMs are up and it sounds different today than it did in '76, it's still an amazing sound when you go to a historic race. It's more guttural and animalistic, and I really wanted to get that sound. And Danny Hambrook, our sound designer, recorded lots of the historic cars and built up all these tracks, and in post, helped design the engine sounds, and that made a world of difference. A lot of the F1 fans can tell the engines apart, so I wanted it to be right." POST: The DI must have been important. Where did you do it? HOWARD: "At Co3 in London. It was very impor tant and I felt very confident about it, and of course, went to visit Anthony several times during the process. He and I were on the same page from star t to finish. There weren't any big debates about the look and in the DI. I could see he was only enriching what he was already getting incamera, and I loved the dailies and the look we got. So there was no big dramatic change. It was just a fulfillment of what he was always going for." Courses in Germany and Britain were used for race scenes. Hans Zimmer created the original score. Post • October 2013 11

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