“Life of Pi,” Ang Lee’s film about a boy adrift at sea with a hungry tiger, isn’t a virtual production like “Avatar,” but its 3D footage and CG animation and environments posed challenges for film editor Tim Squyres.

“When I got the footage, there was no tiger, no ocean, and water in the wave tank didn’t go to the horizon,” he says. Editing was a process of gradual refinement: He cut each scene with unfinished live-action plates; rough animations were added; and complete animations were created for locked sequences — which meant Squyres often re-cut shots.

Squyres edited in 3D, and made many “layered” cuts, in which backgrounds drop away, and incoming shots move forward, with the goal, he says, “to make (‘Pi’) an immersive visual experience.”

Eye on the Oscars 2013: Vfx, Sound & Editing
Want better Oscar ratings? Play up visual effects. | Sound editors added true grit to contenders | Sound mixers find balance between effects and music | ‘Lincoln’ editor Kahn had to juggle massive ensemble | ‘Playbook’ editor Cassiy followed winding road | Editing ‘Pi’ was no piece of cake | Double-nominee Goldenberg serves up fine cuts | Double-nominee Andy Nelson likes subtle sounds