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Tuesday, September 06, 2005

Inside the Wardrobe has a great Q&A with the special effects team involved in Walden Media's forthcoming "Chronicles of Narnia."

Here are two quick excerpts; the answers are from Howard Berger of KNB FX, the make-up effects specialist:

    CS: Obviously you did a lot of design preparation before you entered the project. How was it working with Andrew on set? If you had already built something was it hard to make changes?

    Berger: What was great is that Andrew [Adamson, the director], because he comes from a digital background, came into this saying, "I don't know much about this practical stuff. Teach me." Some directors you get don't care, but Andrew wanted to know everything. He wanted to absorb everything that we could teach him. There were a lot of things that were storyboarded in the animatics that were to be digital, but we ended up doing practical, because we were able to build all of our mechanical heads. Andrew understood the limitations of what we were able to do but also understood how much we could do.

(Adamson was the director of "Shrek" and "Shrek 2.") Later:

    CS: Do you think there's been a backlash to all-CGI movies like "Star Wars" or "Sky Captain"?

    Berger: I never believed in fighting the digital revolution. I think it's a great tool and we utilize it all the time. There's some stuff we can't do and we're the first guys to go, "That should really be digital." I'm really big on augmenting and I feel that this film has used every trick in the book. There are digital creatures, there's a combination, there's augmentation, everything. But we approached it because we're practical effects guys, from doing as much as we can practical and giving the director as many possibilities on set as possible. And then what he needs to fill in, he can. That's where Dean Wright has come in and Rhythm & Hues and Sony ImageWorks. We knew we could never do Mr. Tumnus' lower half--the goat-dog leg thing--practical in all these shots, and we never fooled ourselves that we could. We tried stuff for specific things, but we ultimately knew that we were going to go the digital route, so it was a good combination.


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