Post Magazine

December 2013

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director's chair POST: Do you like working with visual effects? Company 3 handled the film's DI. Rob Pizzey served as colorist. 16 shoot, going over the script and what I was going to do. Then after we wrapped, he came to London and we cut the rest there. And the first cut was very encouraging. Sometimes you get that first cut and you go, 'Oh God!' You know you're going to have to re-engineer it a lot in the edit suite. But this came together very smoothly, I think because of all the prep work we'd done. Then we finished up post back in LA on the Sony lot." POST: Do you like the post process? GREENGRASS: "I love it. It's always been my favorite part and it was really enjoyable on this film. We had a very clear picture of how we'd tell the story and pull together all the different threads. I didn't want a linear process. We had to keep the big picture alive while also focusing on all the little details." POST: Your longtime editor Chris Rouse also cut the Bourne films (and won the Oscar for The Bourne Ultimatum) as well as Green Zone, Paycheck, United 93, Eight Below and the IMAX film Olympic Glory. How does that relationship work? GREENGRASS: "We've worked together for so long now we understand each other really well. I've always felt that tempo is a key part of filmmaking, and it's a rhythm you have inside and Chris and I share the same tempo. He's such a laid-back guy, and so am I, but we have the same approach to film tempo. We also share a total obsession with clarity and economic storytelling. Anyone can wave a camera around and cut fast. The question is, can you do it and have prefect clarity, and vary your pace and stay in control? And I believe there's a magical creative place where structure meets freedom, where anarchy meets order in filmmaking, and that's where I like to Post • December 2013 put my films, because they feel most real there. The truth is, reality is messy and unformed anarchy — it just happens. Yet a story has to unfold with clarity, characters have to be delineated. And Chris is my closest collaborator as he understands all that, and he can execute that clarity with the pace I love. He's also an artist of post. He's not just an editor — he's a brilliant sound designer." POST: There are obviously a fair number of visual effects shots in the film. How many total and how did you go about dealing with them? GREENGRASS: "There are a few hundred, but a lot of them are small tweaks, like tidying up shots where you could see land off to one side, and cleaning up horizon shots, sorting out boat wakes, matching sky colors, wire removal and so on, mostly done by Double Negative in London. And as we shot on the sister ship of the original, we had to change all the names. But it wasn't a huge VFX show." POST: What was the most difficult VFX sequence to do and why? GREENGRASS: "Ironically in the planning stages, the big one was the actual boarding of the container ship, which everyone thought we should do with VFX and in a tank in Malta. We even built sets — the side of the ship, so we could do it in safe water. But in the end we shot it for real, and the biggest problem was how to do it while the ships were moving, and do it safely with the actors. There were immense logistical problems, but there's no substitute for reality, so that's what we did, and it worked." www.postmagazine.com GREENGRASS: "I do, a lot. I've worked with D Neg a lot on my films and I think they're one of the best around. And I'd say that just in general, London has amazing VFX houses. There's so much talent there and the post scene in Soho is great as it's all so close together — a real community." POST: Did you do a digital intermediate on this film? GREENGRASS: "At Company 3 in London, with colorist Rob Pizzey. We scanned all the film at 4K on ArriScan and Rob used the DaVinci Resolve. [Cinematographer] Barry Ackroyd worked very closely with Rob, and the final look is amazing, considering that this film had over 2,000 edits and they all had to be graded very carefully." POST: How important is music and audio for you? GREENGRASS: "Probably half the film. We did all the post sound at De Lane Lea in London and Oliver Tarney, who did United 93 and Green Zone with me, was the supervising sound editor. Then the mixers — Chris Burdon, Mark Taylor and Mike Prestwood Smith — have all worked with me before. The soundscapes in this are very detailed and very beautiful, and it's not till later in the film that you get much music. The first film I did where I really worked at sound was Bloody Sunday, because I wanted a bigger scale, and that's where I started down that road of layering up Long-time editor and collaborator Chris Rouse cut the project. reality and making it feel like you're in this unfolding 360-degree sound universe." POST: Did you make the film you first envisioned? GREENGRASS: "I did. It succeeded in doing what I wanted to do with the story, and I think the performances by Tom and the Somali kids are just exceptional." POST: What's next? GREENGRASS: "I honestly don't know, for the first time in a long time. I'll try and find something very different."

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