Post Magazine

July 2014

Issue link:

Contents of this Issue


Page 18 of 51 17 POST JULY 2014 DIRECTOR'S CHAIR all the 3ality Technica rigs and Alexa Ms and fiber optic cables out in the mud and rain. But then we had all these CG characters and also got a higher level of photo-realism, partly as we weren't on stage, and partly because of Michael Seresin's great work and all the techni- cal advances that Weta made. So while all the VFX part is huge, it also takes a back seat to the uncanny reality of it all. That was my goal and the biggest chal- lenge — to make this ape epic that was also very grounded in reality." The VFX were obviously crucial. How early on did you integrate post and VFX with the production? "Like so many of these huge films now, we began post during pre-production, and we had the editors on-set with us in Vancouver and New Orleans, along with all the Weta VFX supers. That's the only way we could deal with the schedule." Did you do a lot of previs? "Again, a lot of these type of films are driven by previs because they're so com- plex, and the studios like to see what's going to happen. And every single shot costs a lot, because in this movie, the main character doesn't even exist until he's created — and that's a very unusual situation to be in. And based on how late I came on, and wanting to tell a very different story, which meant completely re-writing the whole script — and still planning to meet the original release date — it meant I had a very curtailed prep, which in turn meant I couldn't develop the previs to the usual level. But I found that to be fantastic and liberating, as never having done mo-cap before, my fear was that everything would be driven by the stuff you do in previs. Previs can be a great tool, but it can't give you a perfor- mance, and a lot of the camera angles I choose are based on what the actors are doing and the light. So although I didn't have enough prep, it meant I was able to shoot it exactly the way I'd do a 2D non- mo-cap movie." Do you like post? "I love it. It's a cliché but it's really where you get to sit down and really shape all the raw material and actually make your film. And as I said earlier, you start doing post right away on a film like this, so it's really the biggest part of the whole process. And it's the calmest part of the whole process. So I'm a huge fan of post." Where did you do the post? "On the Fox lot. We're doing all the sound [and] everything there." The film was edited by William Hoy and Stan Salfas; tell us about that relation- ship and how it worked? "Because our whole schedule was so tight, they were on the set at both loca- tions and started cutting material right away. That way I could shoot, look at a rough assembly of scenes, keep shoot- ing, and so on." How many visual effects shots are there in the film? "I lost count! And we're still waiting for shots to come in. There's probably a cou- ple of thousand, but then every shot is a VFX shot in a sense, as something's going on somewhere in the frame." Tell us about working with Weta and VFX supervisor Joe Letteri? "Joe came on the set and his guys were there all the time. I think we had 30 or 35 people on each unit, 50 or so mo-cap cameras, and then a bunch of helmet cams that were constantly rolling in any scenes that involved an ape character. So it was a huge crew on top of the traditional crew." What was the most technical- ly-difficult shot to pull off? "We had one major sequence of the surviving human colony we shot on this huge set on half a city block in downtown New Orleans, and that was pretty tough as it had to look like it was gray and overcast, like the stuff we'd shot in Vancouver. So matching footage from British Columbia and then Louisiana was obviously hard, but Michael did an amazing job, considering the story all takes place in the San Francisco area." Talk about the importance of music and sound? "Film is a visual medium but it's also hard to overstate the importance of music and sound to those visuals. There's so much information you give an audience through those areas, and I also had a fantastic composer in Michael Giacchino, who won the Oscar for Up. He's an in- credible artist with such soul and power in his music. Eddy Nelson and Will Files are doing the sound effects and mixing, and Will and Doug Murray are doing all the sound design. They're so talented and I've worked with them since Clover- field, and all the sound design is incred- ibly important to me, in trying to match the reality of the visual that Michael and Weta created. I didn't want it to just feel like the traditional big-movie sound. I wanted it to be very subtle and totally immersive. Doug is literally going over all the ape voices, trying to find some ape sounds that echo the performances in places where we can't use the actor's voice. And Will's been creating all these marvelous effects. So it's a very complex process, but I'm very excited about how it's all blending together." The DI must be vital. "Absolutely. We're doing it with Com- pany 3 colorist Stefan Sonnenfeld, on the Blackmagic Da Vinci Resolve, and we're going for a darker look than the last film, with a lot of attention to detail with the apes." Company 3 handled the DI. Audio post was at Fox.

Articles in this issue

Links on this page

Archives of this issue

view archives of Post Magazine - July 2014