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November 2016

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EDITING 16 POST NOVEMBER 2016 n November 4 th , Summit Entertainment released Hacksaw Ridge, a new action drama set during World War II. Directed by Mel Gibson, the feature tells the true story of Desmond Doss (played by Andrew Garfield), who chose to serve as an unarmed army medic on the frontlines in Okinawa. The story details how he was able to save the lives of 75 men without ever firing a weapon. The film also stars Sam Worthington, Luke Bracey, Teresa Palmer, Hugo Weaving, Rachel Griffiths and Vince Vaughn. John Gilbert, ACE (The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring), ed- ited the film, which was actually shot in Australia. Here, he talks with Post about his year on the project, his Avid workflow, working with Mel Gibson, the director, and the thought that went into cutting the feature's brutal battle sequences. How did you get involved in this project? "I knew (producer) Bill Mechanic, as I'd done one previous film with him. He was coming down to Australia to shoot, and wanted a predominantly-Australian crew. As a New Zealander I count as an Australian due to a long-standing free trade deal with Australia. I had read the script and wanted to do it, so I flew myself over to meet Mel when he was location scouting. Happily, I got the job." The film was released on November 4 th . When did you complete work? "We finished maybe six weeks ago or so. I think about the end of August. We mixed in Los Angeles, but it was essentially made in Australia, and being set in Lynchburg, VA, and Okinawa. Hopefully no one can tell. There was a screening in Virginia and some people said, 'Oh, we didn't see you. How did you manage to slip in and out shooting without us noticing?'" You are from New Zealand. Do you have a home studio or do you travel? "My home is in Wellington, New Zealand, but I work in Australia, the States, and the UK as well. I am an international traveler these days — since I did Lord of the Rings, I guess. I've only done two films in New Zealand, and the rest I've been on the road in various places. "I always get Avids set up on location or go into a post facility, and they provide two or three Avids — whatever we need. I don't like owning editing gear, it's always been a headache whenever I've done that." What camera formats were used to shoot Hacksaw Ridge? "It was digital. It was principally Arri Alexas, with some additional Red camer- as, plus some smaller Blackmagics used for stunts. Up to ten cameras on two units on the battlefield scenes." There are a number of different settings and timeframes in this film. Were you working linearly or in blocks? "The scenes in Virginia were pretty much shot in a block in a little country town in Australia. The film opens there, with a rich, colorful kind of look. They shot that first, then the army barracks scenes, which were a mixture of studio and locations near Sydney. Then they shot the battle- field scenes, which were pretty arduous, maybe six weeks in the heat of summer with tons of smoke and dust." Can you talk about the different looks? "Virginia was a warmer, more saturated look, and the film became less saturated and cooler as it moved into the battle scenes. There was a blue, steely look for the latter part of the movie — the battle- field, which was pretty oppressive. "The battlefield was about an hour's drive outside of Sydney. It was a piece of turned-up dirt, basically. The art depart- ment will probably raise their eyebrows at me calling it that, but the idea was it being a piece of ground that had been bombed and shelled and fought over several times before, so it was pretty much a wasteland. "Also, there was a lot of smoke. The shelling and gunfire produced a huge amount of smoke. So that was an inter- esting exercise to maintain continuity of smoke level. The VFX people helped us out a lot to maintain the illusion of conti- nuity in that area." You were cutting in an Avid. Was there an on-set DIT creating DNx files for you? "The on-set DIT worked with Simon Duggan the DP to make the LUTs, and the DNx files were made by Deluxe, the post house in Sydney handling the film for us. That all ran pretty smoothly. I try not to get involved with that, and my as- sistant Carly Turner had it all under con- trol. With all the cameras there was a lot of footage, especially on the battlefield. I think the record was nine hours one day! Nine hours of footage, but more regularly four to five hours." Were the battle scenes the biggest challenge in a film like this? "There are three main battle scenes in the film. The first one is 11-minutes long, and keeping the energy and chaos of the battle sustained was a nice challenge. Mel (Gibson) shot the bulk of it with the main unit, including everything with the cast. The second unit shot a lot of stunts and more detailed hits and explosions. Then, HACKSAW RIDGE BY MARC LOFTUS JOHN GILBERT, ACE, CUTS MEL GIBSON'S LATEST DIRECTORIAL EFFORT O Arri's Alexa was the feature's primary camera. Editor John Gilbert, ACE, cut the film on an Avid.

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