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July 2017

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Page 10 of 43 9 POST JULY 2017 DIRECTOR'S CHAIR How tough was the shoot? "It was long, intense and exhausting, though I love shooting. Every day was a 'pinch-yourself' moment, whether it was movie stars on-set, or celebrities, or the huge scale of the sets and all the practical effects. We shot interiors in New York, and did a lot of locations and stuff like the Vulture's lair in Atlanta, where we also shot at Pinewood, and a bit in Berlin." Where did you post? "We've done everything — editing, sound, mixing, the DI — on the Sony lot, except for recording the music, which we did at Fox." Do you like post? "I absolutely love it. I always shoot with an edit in mind, so for me it's less about that whole 'finding the movie in post' thing, as I hope I know what the movie is before we start the main post. And I like to edit as I shoot, and cut my dailies into a rough version of the scene, so I know where I am and everyone can see what I'm thinking. This was special for me, as I've never had an amazing VFX super- visor like Janek Sirrs before, and then being able to get really deep into sound design and color and so on — and hav- ing the tools and time to do it. There's never enough time, but I had a lot more than ever before, to get really precise and detailed in post." Talk about editing with editors Dan Lebental and Debbie Berman. "They were in Atlanta the whole time, reviewing and working on the dailies, and occasionally flagging stuff — 'Maybe we need a close-up here,' 'This shot's out of focus.' I'd never worked with either of them before, but once we really started cutting in post, we developed a very close relationship. Initially they'd split up scenes, but it becomes very holistic. Debbie came on mainly as an action editor, to cut all the big set pieces, but things spill over and everyone contrib- utes to it all in some way, and they had this really good dynamic together." All the VFX obviously play a very big role. What was your approach? "It's tricky as nothing Spider-Man does can really be created practically, and wire work and special effects will never be as spectacular as it needs to be. Gravity's always in the way. But for me, I wanted to get as much done practically as possible, even if it was all going to be replaced in post with VFX, just so you're working from a real-world element. So we'd have a practical version of a stuntman doing a shot that we could always reference, to make sure it's lit right and moves correctly. And all that helped with my director's cut, so we weren't just looking at a totally CG- rendered character all the time." How many VFX shots are there and talk about working on them with VFX supervisor Janek Sirrs. "We have about 1,500 shots total, and we still have 400 of them to finish. A ton of vendors worked on them, including Luma, Trickster, Digital Domain, Method, ILM, Iloura, Sony Imageworks. I'd never worked with Janek before, but we hit it off immediately, and we worked at the same pace, and he was the first person we hired. We had the same core ap- proach on how to tackle all the visuals, which was to make it all as grounded as possible — no impossible camera moves, no impossible physics. So when we broke down sequences, even if they were all going to be CG, we'd discuss how we'd shoot it, what camera rig we would use, and so on. We tried to shoot it all like we had an actual Spider-Man." What was the hardest VFX sequence to do and why? "They're all hard, but the big spectacular scenes always get a lot of attention and aren't actually as difficult as the smaller, more nuanced performance stuff driven by motion-capture, like the eye animation for Spider-Man's iris. That was so import- ant to the character and was unexpected- ly challenging to get right." Talk about the importance of sound and music to you. "My philosophy is always, 'Make the movie work without all the great sound and music,' so that when you do add all that, it really elevates the film. We set up sound design early on in the edit, so we had a very high level of sound design much earlier in post than normal, which really elevated the edit. And then composer Michael Giacchino came in with an amaz- ing score and we then began fine-tuning it all. It was pretty seamless. You just have to make sure the tone is consistent." How far along is the DI, and how important is it to you? "We're in the middle of it, and I love that part of post, too. I'm very familiar with it and it's not that different from past DIs I've done — just a longer timeline. The most exciting thing for me has been the 3D con- version we've done in post. I've never done that before and it's been very cool." Did the film turn out the way you hoped? "It's very close to how I pictured it, no big dramatic restructuring from my director's cut. We did a few pick-ups in post, that's it." Are you up for doing more? "Absolutely. I had a lot of fun. I just need a very long nap now." The film features 1,500 VFX. Editorial was split between Lebental and Berman.

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