Vfx supervisor Scott Farrar came in midstream on what had been a troubled production, which saw its third act entirely reworked. Farrar wanted to punch up “the ant-like or herd-like behavior of the zombies” and the resulting “zombie tsunamis,” which had never before been seen on film. That also meant making sure the audience wouldn't be able to tell actors in zombie makeup from CG ones.
In the pic's revised climax at a lab in Wales, “I and my animation supervisor Andy Jones advocated putting as many human (live-action) zombies into the shots as possible,” Farrar says. “They had these wonderful people cast from dance troupes in Budapest, with interesting bone structures. They could do these contortionist positions and movements the average person couldn't do. … But even at that, we went back in and did a lot of work on their movements, change the timing and enhance the makeup.”
“There's this freedom you have when you're putting different images together to generate new meaning. You can generate tension by putting two innocuous images together to leave the audience slightly uncomfortable. We have some sunsets and sunrises in 'All Is Lost' that take on a malevolent tone, because of what has happened, juxtaposing different images, and trying to create a third idea.”
"In terms of my own work, if you get a feeling from something, it's probably working. You stay away from cerebral, and when you experience it, if it feels like something, then it's probably working in the way that you intended. You don't want to be thinking about what this storyteller is doing, or what these cuts are doing."
“Editing needs to be specific to a piece. Sometimes that's long and languid and allows people to behave, and demonstrates great editing because it's restraint. The opposite end of the spectrum is something that's very kinetic, that is generating energy, or tension in a very particular way, because that's what the piece requires. It's a very difficult thing to judge.”
"I'm looking for one thing: transparency. I don't want to see editing. If I see it, feel it, something's wrong. That's what I try to achieve also. Sometimes it feels good to have a rockstar moment where there's music, silence, or two quick cuts. But you're not supposed to be aware of it; that takes you out of the story."
“You're not trying to engage in emotional button-pushing, where it's like, 'This'll make them cry.' There's nothing cynical about it. It's what you feel when you watch movies, or any kind of art form, anything that elicits a feeling from you. That's what you want: You want that feeling for yourself, and you want that feeling for the audience.”
"I'm most concerned about protecting the actor's performance, and working that performance around the composition of shots. I could have great close-ups, but I can't play the entire scene in close-ups. Where is my punctuation point? Is it better to be in a wide shot when a person is left standing in a room, or a close-up? What gives you more emotional impact?"
"As an editor, I'm evaluating performance more than anything. Like, 'Did they have to use that take, because I don't believe them, or it doesn't feel real.' Or I'll feel something's slow and wonder, could the editor could have moved it a little faster? But performance is mainly what I focus on. That is a huge part of the job."
“We prevised virtually all the movie, beyond what we would normally do, what you would normally do, because we were taking information from the previs and we would later be applying it directly to what would happen on the shoot. ... We did some pre-lighting sessions with Chivo (Lubezki), the d.p., where we took the previs and we lit it as if you were lighting a traditional set.” -- “Gravity” vfx supervisor Tim Webber
The shot is planned in previsualization, with low-resolution animation. This is director Alfonso Cuaron's opportunity to develop and design what would physically happen throughout the film. The previs on “Gravity” took approximately a year and became the template for the whole production. Data from previs was used to drive the action of the camera and actors on set, so the previs for “Gravity” had to be more detailed than a standard previs.(Previs by Framestore.)
The pre-light was the chance for our cinematographer Emmanuel “Chivo” Lubezki to plan the lighting for every shot. Chivo used Framestore's technical directors as his digital gaffers, setting the direction and quality of light throughout the whole film. Framestore rendered the whole movie before a frame was shot using a physically accurate lighting model - the main sources of light being the sun and the bounce from the earth. The data from the pre-light was used to light the actors on set. (Pre-light by Chivo & Framestore)
On set, motion-control robots moved Sandra Bullock around to simulate weightlessness. Those movements had to be pre-choreographed. Note the minimal physical set. This “plate” was handed back to Framestore for vfx to be added.
This was the process where Framestore's techincal directors took the live action plate from the shoot and integrated it into our computer-generated scenes, blurring the lines between live action and CG animation. These "conformed" scenes were then passed to the animation team. (Conform by Framestore.)
This is the final shot as delivered by Framestore. The plate and the digital set are both included. The shot then goes to color grading, sound and other post departments.