Inside Move: ‘Hulk’ leaps off the page

Pic's editing tricks deliver feel of comix

In crafting “The Hulk,” helmer Ang Lee worked to create a summer blockbuster that would stand out from the pack while reflecting smartly on its comicbook origins. So it’s no accident that, visually, the pic often evokes the feel of a moving graphic novel.

Lee’s longtime editor, Tim Squyres, had to create that look, but deemed his initial experiments a “failure.” But those misfires led Squyres to find remarkable new ways to exploit his Avid editing system.

“Once you start thinking you can do that, and you don’t worry about the consequences, all kinds of things are possible,” Squyres says.

The result: an exhilarating assortment of transitions, wipes and picture-on-picture shots that propel the film.

Getting there was tough. Where a traditional cut might take eight seconds to make, new techniques took 20 minutes — and didn’t always work.

“You discover there are some places where it’s really great, and other times it’s annoying,” Squyres says.

Scene transitions, such as when Bruce Banner is helicoptered across the desert, work great with the editing tricks. Big emotional confrontations don’t.

The edits also cost more, an extra $1.5 million when all the work was composited and output on an Inferno workstation.

Now, Squyres wonders whether the innovative visuals will influence others the way “The Matrix’s” bullet-time f/x spawned imitators.

“I think it’s a rare film where this would be appropriate,” Squyres says. “Unless,” he adds, “it becomes part of the general film vocabulary.”

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