Post Magazine

July 2014

Issue link:

Contents of this Issue


Page 15 of 51 14 POST JULY 2014 DIRECTOR'S CHAIR elativity Media's new feature Earth to Echo draws on producer Andrew Panay's love of '80s theatrical classics, such as E.T., The Goonies and Stand By Me. Like its predecessors, Earth to Echo revolves around a cast of pre- teens — considered outsiders by their peers and overlooked by adults. They bond to form a series of tight friendships that are now at risk. Their town is being bulldozed to make room for a new highway, and the kids and their families will soon all head their separate ways. But something about the construction plan has caught the trio's attention, if no one else's, and with just one last night together, Alex, Tuck and Munch embark on an adventure with the hope of getting to the root of a number of unexplained disturbances. Much of the fi lm is told from the kids' perspective in a documentary style that uses cell phones and cameras mounted to their bicycles. The fi lm also presents Echo, an alien character that the boys help bring back to life, and his perspec- tive is represented with stylized sound and video treatments. Post caught up with Earth to Echo di- rector Dave Green just prior to the fi lm's July 2nd release date. Here, he details the challenges of the production and how the fi lm came together in post. Tell us about the shoot? "Principal photography was 28 days. We shot during the summer, which was crazy because the kids, being the age that they were, could only shoot from nine at night, which was complete sundown, until 12:30 in the morning, so it was only three-and- a-half hours a night. And as you can see in the movie, there is a whole lot of night photography. It was a very fast shoot, but it kept us on our toes and allowed us to have a great energy on-set, and I think that shows in the movie." The fi lm uses so many POV cameras and formats. What were you working with? "We used three [diff erent] cameras. We used the Red Epic for a majority of the shooting. There was a little camera that, at the time, was cutting edge, called the GS2k, and that was also called Indiecam. It was so new that even though it was called the GS2k, we were shooting at 1K. The 2K software hadn't been brought into the system yet. "All of the 'Echovision' was captured with the GS2k and treated in post. And there were two scenes that were shot on the iPhone: the fi rst scene in the movie, where Tuck is in the confessional, and the scene where Munch is in a truck crying." So you used the lower-end cameras be- cause you specifi cally wanted that look? "What I learned through this process is, if you are going to take Red footage and degrade it to look like an iPhone, there is an advantage to that in that you still have the high-resolution data if you ever need to go back to it. But there are disadvantages — it's an extremely high cost for VFX to do that. There's an art to fi nishing that to make it look organic and real. So for the most part, when we wanted it to feel like a diff erent format, we just shot that diff erent format. We used the happy accident that was a part of that format. "There's a certain aesthetic to the iPhone in that, when we wanted it to feel authentic and grounded and real, like someone actually shot it them- selves, we would make that decision and go for it, knowing that it would come with clipped highlights, and be grittier. We were never trying to shoot with the iPhone to fool someone into thinking it was a higher format." Tell us about the editorial process? "There were two guys who cut the movie: Crispin Struthers and Carsten Kurpanek. They worked hard and it was very equal in their contributions. Both are extremely talented." What did they cut on, and how often would you see versions? "It was an Avid show. I would go in on the weekends once in a while because we were shooting from Monday to Friday. Ed- itorial would be open that same block of time, but if I really wanted to see some- thing, I could come in on Saturday to see how it was feeling and performances. There was rarely time where I could sit down and watch stuff . By the time I had wrapped shooting, there was an assem- bly ready for me, but it was a very rough assembly that was a fi rst pass." A number of VFX houses contributed to this fi lm. Can you break down their contributions? "There were a few diff erent companies. Shade did some of the Echo work. A company called Base FX, which is in Chi- na, and they are kind of a sister company to ILM. I believe they are in Beijing. They are so talented and fantastic composi- tors and lighters. We'd get on the phone with them every night at 6pm, which is their 9am, and talk over each shot. And I was able to draw on the screen. "Prime Focus in Vancouver did the DAVE GREEN: EARTH TO ECHO DIrector Dave Green on-set. Red's Epic and as Apple's iPhone were used on the shoot. R THIS DOCUMENTARY- STYLED, E.T.-INSPIRED FILM MIXES FORMATS AND PERSPECTIVES. BY MARC LOFTUS SENIOR EDITOR/ DIRECTOR OF WEB CONTENT MLOFTUS@POSTMAGAZINE.COM

Articles in this issue

Links on this page

Archives of this issue

view archives of Post Magazine - July 2014