2018 • Visual Effects • Backstage

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91st Oscars Transcript: Visual Effects

SPEECH BY: Paul Lambert, Ian Hunter, Tristan Myles and J.D. Schwalm
FILM: “First Man”

Q. Congratulations on the win, you guys. So talk about recreating these historical events that are essentially legendary practical effects of people climbing into machines and going to outer space without that much of an electronic record of how it sounded inside, and we have grainy black and white and things like that, and you are recreating these senses digitally for us to experience it. Talk about that process.
A. (Paul Lambert) Okay. So Damien wasn’t really interested in trying to recreate, like, trying to redefine any new camera moves. It was like he wanted to update what people had seen from the 60s and 70s. So we spent a lot of time in preproduction, trying to work out how exactly we would do this. And we came up with the idea of the LED screen, we came up with the idea of using miniatures and special effects, and obviously using CG, because we weren’t going to the moon, so, like, we would have to be using CG. So, like, we spent three months actually talking about this. And, like, we did various tests. And I’m, like, the idea was that depending on depending on the type of shot is, like, how we would define what type of approach we would use. To, like, try and keep the effect to be as realistic as possible.
A. (Ian Hunter) Yeah. When I first met with Damien, I read the script, and it felt very much like a document that we were trying to create of this event. So I drew some storyboards out, thinking, well, if we were really going to shoot this in space, we would only be able to put the camera on the spaceship or through a window. We would never be able to put the camera someplace you couldn’t actually do it if you were not in outer space. When Damien met with me, he said, you know, I want this to feel like a documentary, and I want to make sure that we don’t put a camera anywhere where we wouldn’t be able to do it for real. So we were really in sync on that, trying to recreate, in a cinematic way, the same sort of footage that we are familiar with growing up.

Q. Congratulations. Paul, this question is for you. Last year you were here for BLADE RUNNER. How does it feel two consecutive years?
A. (Paul Lambert) Oh, my goodness. This is so surreal, so my 15 minutes of fame seems to be carrying on for, like, another 15 minutes. I’m back with Denis Villeneuve. So, yes, this is this is like a fantastic fantastic occasion. And we have been honored with, like, the actual process in which we have been which, like, we talked about endlessly as to how we would do this. And the fact that, like, we are being honored by the Academy is truly magnificent.

Q. I got a note from Debra, who says the cat is fine. And tell Canada about your role in the film and perhaps the team in Vancouver.
A. (Tristan Myles) So I was the effects supervisor on the show, primarily responsible for getting the content onto the LED screens that we had on the sound stage
A. (Paul Lambert) And working 24 hours a day.
A. (Tristan Myles) occasionally working 24 hours a day. So getting my stuff ready when they are shooting so they can get everything in camera. And then after that, carrying on for the post process, making the quarry look like the moon, and all that kind of stuff.

Q. Congratulations. Is there a process that you used that was unique to the film, something that hasn’t been used before, technology wise?
A. (Paul Lambert) Well, the fact that we used an LED screen to actually render our CG content, because we actually rendered a lot of CG content. Like, well, actually Tristan and his team made 90 minutes’ worth of content, which we put on the screen, which J.D. oversaw to be able to sync to the gimbal. You know, there is a true a true collaboration. And the fact that we were able to put the computer generated imagery on the screen and actually shoot it for the camera, gave it, like, an instant filmic look. And there were, like, a number of shots which, like, we didn’t touch in post, but we actually kept in camera. And I believe that, like, that whole process, that whole different mindset of actually working is something which I want to carry on, and I believe all the guys want to carry on, and that, like, it does change the way in which we do our work. You know, it doesn’t have to be green screen. It doesn’t have to be blue screen. It can be something far more realistic.

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