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October 2016

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DIRECTOR'S CHAIR 19 POST OCTOBER 2016 thing was the limited days we had to shoot — just 80, while most studios would have scheduled well over 100 days for a film this big and complex. And Marvel are very rigorous about that, so it forced us to be very prepared and disciplined. There's no time to relax. But that's good, as it forces you to be very creative and make certain compromises, which is smart. If you have a huge budget and a lot of time, you tend to shoot all of your ideas, and very often all your first ideas are not your best ones, so those limitations end up helping you." Where did you post? "Everything — editing, sound, mix- ing — is being done at Marvel's offices on the Disney lot, which makes it very convenient." Do you like post? "I absolutely love it and it's my favorite part of the whole process. It's every bit as creative as writing, and far more creative than production. To me, that's the least creative part of the movie, as it's mainly about logistics and scheduling and budget and so on. So in post you're finally dealing with all the components of your film, and all the other stages are writing phases in the sense that you're making choices too, but in post you're making choices from a place of great power. And on top of that, you have the comfort level. You're not physically exhausting yourself in the way you have to do on a shoot. And then it's amazing what you discover in post. There's always surprises — things that work a lot better than you thought they would when you shot them, and then things you were sure would work great, and they don't. So it's this wildly-creative process." Talk about editing with two editors — Wyatt Smith and Sabrina Plisco. It's interesting that you had a female editor on this. "Wyatt was the lead editor, and he asked me about who he should hire as his second editor, as we knew we'd need two to handle all the footage, and I told him, 'Choose someone that will complement your strengths. Someone who's good at things you're perhaps no good at.' One of the things that he started off with — which I think was really wise — was that he want- ed someone with a female perspective. And cutting this has been a huge under- taking, as we shot a lot of footage, and there are so many complex VFX shots, so Wyatt became not only an expert editor dealing with this, but also an expert infor- mation manager. He really has managed the digital pipeline and flow of information during the whole post process — and far and above what I've seen any editor do before. It's an enormous task." All the VFX obviously play a very big role. What was your approach? "First off, I wanted to do the original com- ics justice and try and capture that very '60s wild imagery, and then have every major set piece be fundamentally some- thing never seen before. I'm, probably like most movie fans, a bit weary of massive set pieces all having the same general tone, which is basically, how many ways can you destroy stuff on a mass scale? I wanted to make a film with huge VFX sequences that were about far more than that, with more creativity and more sur- prise, and with really new environments." How many VFX shots are there and talk about working on them with VFX supervisor Stephane Ceretti. "We're still working on them and there are probably thousands in the end, with a lot of vendors, including ILM, Framestore, Luma, Method and BaseFX. I hadn't worked with [Stephane] before, but I thought the work he did on Guardians was astonishing. He fully deserved his Oscar nomination, but as is so often the case, the best VFX supervi- sors usually don't win because people don't recognize just how amazing their work is. They think of Rocket and Groot as real peo- ple, because the VFX are that good. You forget that every single shot is 100 percent a VFX shot. And when we met, I really liked his manner and grasp of his craft, and he was up for the challenge. What was the hardest VFX sequence to do and why? "I don't want to give too much away, but the whole ending of the film — the last 20 minutes — was definitely the hardest to pull off. And there's one big set piece to- wards the end that was just so technically complex to do — the most technically- complex thing I've ever shot in my career." Talk about the importance of sound and music to you? "I think that the sonic component of any film is as important as the visuals, even in a quiet movie, when that quietness Director Derrickson on-set: The team spent 80 days shooting Doctor Strange.

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