Post Magazine

January 2016

Issue link:

Contents of this Issue


Page 36 of 53 33 POST JANUARY 2016 O S C A R buzz them to have the feel of a dolly. I just don't want to put up with a dolly, as it slows you down, laying all the track and so on, and we shot for just 42 days, so you have to act quickly and instinctively. So Linus has the best operators and we like to just roll the mags — 10-minute, 20-minute mags on the Steadicam — and as we all know we're burning film it adds to the immediacy and intensity of the process. But this was our most formally-conceived movie from a lighting and framing perspective, and we were inspired by artists such as Edward Hopper, Andrew Wyeth and photographer William Eggleston. And we also used the notion of space and snow, and the isola- tion of a character in a frame — even in a crowd, or in a hotel window. So we used a lot more wide masters. We also played with light and designed it all so it's mono- chromatic, like a B&W film that isn't B&W. And I've never used shadow so much, and silhouettes and back-lighting. There's something very magical about people in the dark, and we shot 35mm film. There's always talk about going digital, but I'm a romantic and a little superstitious, and I love shooting film, especially the 16mm home movie stuff, which I shot a lot of myself. It gives it such a fantastic feel." Do you like the post process? "I love it. It's like being in a submarine. We never leave it. The actors come and go, and they're all a part of the process. We have a great post team headed by [edi- tors] Jay Cassidy and Alan Baumgarten, who cut American Hustle for me, and we usually get into it quite slowly with the material, and post is where you really bring out the true voice of the film. The movie always tells you what it wants in post, and we all learn things. There are al- ways big surprises. The biggest challenge on this was that it's a lot harder to make a movie about ordinary people who do extraordinary things, than making one about crazy people who try to appear normal, which is what my other films were about (laughs)." The film was edited by four editors. How did that relationship work? "Jay and Alan couldn't get dailies on this as they weren't available, so we were lucky enough to get Chris Tellefsen and Tom Cross to be our A team, but then they had to leave to do other projects, but by then Jay and Alan were able to come in and they carried us the rest of the way. So we mainly had two edi- tors, and Chris and Tom were like our helper-starters. I don't like to look at a rough assembly, so we tend to cut it in sequences, and what's always hardest about editing is that there are so many ways to tell your story — especially when you've been doing this for a while, like me. You give yourself so many choices, you have many ambitions, and there's this big dream in your head that in many ways is just unattainable. But that's what makes any movie worth doing and keep you reaching for that vision. Scenes you thought were going one way suddenly turn out to go another way — or they disappear completely as you realize you just don't need them anymore. Performances you thought were leaning one way now lean another way altogeth- er, and things you'd overlooked become gold. I could have spent three years cut- ting this, and there's a much longer cut that we did and looked at and went, 'This is great and very beautiful.' But is that the movie you want to finally release? Should the dream get squashed?" How many VFX shots are in the film? "More than it looks like. We used Lola VFX, Psyop and Mammal Studios. David Robinson was our go-to guy and VFX supervisor, and he was on-set and so helpful in dealing with the aging of our characters. He took 30 years off De Niro in some of the scenes with his young daughters, and they do that in a brand new way. I don't want to give out secrets, but it's not how they did it just a year ago. And then there's the snow effects, and all the environments for the dreams, and stabilizing all the Steadicam shots." Can you talk about the importance of music and sound as a filmmaker? "They're so crucial to my films. I can't over-emphasize just how important sound design and music are to me, and I'll actually sit on pieces of music for 30, 40 years, like the Nat King Cole, the Neil Young and Buffalo Springfield track, Expecting to Fly, and Cream's I Feel Free. They're all key pieces in the film." Where did you mix? "We always do it at Olympic Sound, John and Nancy Ross' mixing stage where we did the last three movies. Chris Minkler was our mixer and he worked closely with John, who's our supervising sound editor and also a part of our team." What about the DI? "It's so important. We did it at Company 3 with colorist Stephen Nakamura, who's a real artist. We go over it all frame by frame and I'm very happy with the look." Joy was shot on- location in Boston, on 35mm film, during record snowfalls.

Articles in this issue

Links on this page

Archives of this issue

view archives of Post Magazine - January 2016