Post Magazine

December 2013

Issue link:

Contents of this Issue


Page 13 of 51

edit this Francis Lawrence (left) on-set. The director spent a lot of time in the cutting room, crafting the film with editor Bell. ing pad, instead of a keyboard, because I wanted my left hand to be right next to the monitor where I was drawing with my right hand. I've used a projector for some time now, so my room is very much like a screening room. Even in Atlanta, it was very much like being in a theater. When I went back to LA, I basically brought back all the same gear and set it up in LA, so it was a very traditional workflow. "The only difference between that and the other movies I have done is we started using the Eyeon Fusion Connection plug-in. I do a lot of compositing and temp effects work — I call it 'performance enhancing visual effects.' So if I want to to split screens to make things match, or splice together different performances but stay in the same take, I can do all that. The Fusion Connection plug-in allows me to do that right within the Avid. Just like you would take any other Avid effect and throw it on the timeline. I can throw that plug-in onto the timeline and rather than have to export it out to another program, I just click 'export clips,' click 'edit effect,' and Fusion, which is a nodal based compositing program, opens up. I do all my work, hit 'render,' go back to the Avid and continue working. And when it's done rendering, it shows up in my timeline. It's a very fluid way to work. It saved me tons of time." POST: Which Avid release are you using? BELL: "I am using a Windows PC-based system. On that movie I used Version 6.5 and on the current movie I am using 7.0.2 today." POST: Did the different aspect ratios present a challenge? BELL: "It was something that I had to deal with. IMAX is approximately 4:3. It's essentially a giant square. At a certain point in movie — in the arena specifically, the last hour of the film — it opens up and goes from widescreen, and the top and bottom expands. That sec12 Post • December 2013 tion was shot specifically for that purpose. When we went to do 2.40:1 version, which would play in the average theater, I had to create a 2.40:1 frame out of all the IMAX footage. Normally what you would do is shoot the IMAX footage and use a common center extraction, but in this case, the director and DP chose to just shoot and let me deal with it later. I did a tilt/scan, rather than a pan & scan. I just moved up or down. It meant I had to go through every shot for those big reels and decide what was going to be in frame at a certain point in time and think like a cameraman." POST: Could you do that in the NLE? BELL: "I did that with the Avid and just used a resize tool. It was interesting because I learned that if someone is running through a frame and you track them so they stay in frame, suddenly it looks like they are out of focus. In a large frame, they are moving through the frame, so they are blurry and it looks natural. But when you try to keep them in the frame, it looks out of focus. So I had to add errors to my tilt to help the viewer understand that they were in motion and not out of focus. It was a few shots but it was an interesting thing and not something you would normally think about." POST: In what state were the VFX as you were cutting? BELL: "I did a lot of temp effects just so I could get timing. I do a lot of these performance enhancing visual effects, which are invisible to the viewer, which I would then hand off to the visual effects supervisor. We turned over huge sequences before principal photography was even done. Large sections of the chariots sequence were turned over very early in the process. By the time we had a directors cut that we could show the studio, we had very solid and good temp effects that were very close to finals. Janek Sirrs, our VFX supervisor, had [them] done by various effects houses. He's awesome and did an amazing job. The biggest player was Dneg, and a couple of others: Hybride, Rodeo FX, and Cantina Creative. Weta did some really amazing character animation for us." POST: Did you have an idea of what music would be used? BELL: "We knew that James Newton Howard would be the composer. He'd done all of Francis's movies and he did the first movie as well. We went to the James Newton Howard library as much as possible. I tend to like to get things solid before I put music to them. I think it's easier to get a sense of if a scene is working when it's dry. You can watch paint dry to a great song. I'd rather have something working without music. I tend to not cut with a lot of music, but for something that's action oriented, it's nice to have the rhythm." POST: Can you talk about Francis Lawrence's style? BELL: "Francis and I work pretty much hand in hand. He spends a lot of time in cutting room and he's very into making the story emotional, clear, and efficient. It's a fantastic working relationship. He listens to everything I say and is very interested in what I bring to table. You can't be right all the time, so if I come up with an idea that's not the greatest, he let's you down gently. And when you do come up with something that helps, he's very appreciative of that. It's a good collaboration. I love working with the guy, and the fact that he spends a lot of time in the cutting room, I find very valuable." POST: What's the film's final length? BELL: "Roughly two hours and 23 minutes. It doesn't feel long. There are a lot of people working on the film, so our end credit sequence is not particularly short. We screened it at two hours and 16 minutes, and people were saying it went by so fast, which as an editor, it's one of the finest compliments I can have made. When people are telling you they want more, you are doing something right."

Articles in this issue

Links on this page

Archives of this issue

view archives of Post Magazine - December 2013