Post Magazine

February 2016

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Page 31 of 51 30 POST FEBRUARY 2016 he Arctic is home to an abun- dance of living creatures: polar bears, walruses, narwhals, beluga whales, reindeer, caribou, lemmings, and more. However, it is not a place for humans. At least that is the opinion of Norm, a polar bear of many words, especially on the subject of tourists invading his home in the Arctic. When a maniacal developer threatens to build luxury condos in his backyard, Norm heads south to New York City on a hero's journey in an attempt to put a halt to those plans and save his homeland in the 3D computer- animated adventure/comedy Norm of the North, directed by Trevor Wall in his fea- ture-film directorial debut. Norm is produced by Splash Entertainment, in partnership with Assemblage Entertainment, and distrib- uted by Lionsgate. Splash (formerly Mike Young Productions and Moonscoop US) specializes in children's entertainment, encompassing a wide spectrum of pro- ductions, from television to now feature films with the debut of Norm. With their respective expertise in broadcast, Wall and Splash turned to what they knew best, approaching the feature's workflow as they would a television production. "We had a short schedule and a modest budget, and this was the fastest, most efficient way to do things," says Wall. At a feature animation studio such as Disney or DreamWorks, for instance, storyboarding starts with a scratch track, a sound recording used as a temporary placeholder until the animatic is locked down for the voice actors. For Norm, the crew followed more of a TV approach, moving from script to recording the voice talent, and then storyboarding from the actors' track. However, unlike broadcast, there was no juggling of multiple scripts and pro- ductions, affording the crew the luxury of focusing solely on the movie. Work on the film was divvied up among coproduction partners across the globe. The storyboarding occurred at Splash in California. The post sound ef- fects and pre-mix were done at Telegael in Ireland, as were preproduction of original backgrounds and orthographics for the characters based on concept designs developed at Splash. Animation was handled at Assemblage in India, and a smaller portion was done at a studio in China (GDC's Institute of Digital Media Technology). Post production, mean- while, was completed at Splash. "I would check in with the animators in India and China every week to talk about a scene, and they would model the characters and backgrounds, and push that through from layout to final color," says Wall. Arnaud Mathieu started out as ani- mation supervisor, overseeing the work at Assemblage; later, his role shifted to assistant director. Working in vastly different time zones made Norm a 24-hour-a-day job for Wall and the others involved. Most of the communication was done via Skype, and dailies were sent each day. The groups T BY KAREN MOLTENBREY Arctic Blast

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