Lucky Post's Tammie Kleinmann in Shoot Magazine's Mid-Year Report Card
Tammie Kleinmann

Tammie Kleinmann

Hypester Tammie Kleinmann of Lucky Post also answered a few questions for Shoot Magazine ‘s Mid-Year Report Card.

Shoot Magazine: What trends, developments or issues would you point to thus far in 2019 as being most significant, perhaps carrying implications for the rest of the year and beyond?

Tammie Kleinmann: With a greater need for content now more than ever, the entire creative community is being stretched in many ways. The speed at which content is required means that in addition to our roster talent, we need curated and trusted freelance talent or off-roster creatives to ramp up at a moment’s notice.

Read Tammie’s full interview at Shoot Magazine.

Hype WorldLucky Post
Director Vallée Melds Invisible VFX with Epic Led Zeppelin Tracks to Create the Haunting Atmosphere of HBO’s "Sharp Objects"

Sharp Objects, the HBO miniseries that just landed 8 Emmy nominations, is widely respected as a psychological thriller masterpiece. Director Jean-Marc Vallée’s and the creative team on Sharp Objects faced a challenge as old as filmmaking: portraying the inner life of a character to audiences. 

“It’s all about Camille’s perspective,” says Vallée about Amy Adams’ powerful character Camille Preaker and her past and present world. “I want the audience to see what she sees, see what she remembers, even see what Camille dreams.”   

“The kind of stories I like to tell are character-driven, emotional, and in order to tell these stories, my creative collaborators and I developed through the years a different way of working and thinking, and a different method of visual development”. 

Vallée starts by planning shots that favor the main character’s perspective. “There are no establishing shots; we see everything they see. It’s shot hand-held with only one camera, using natural lighting only, it’s designing shots on the spot based on what the actors do, it’s allowing them to use the space and to go where ever they want to, it’s being able to shoot in 360 degrees if needed be, it’s shooting non-stop for 30 to 40 minutes, different shots, different takes.  After shooting, it’s using editing and visual effects to push the perspective management even further.

An important component of the EditAvance process is combining the performances from multiple takes into a single new take. Image courtesy HBO.

An important component of the EditAvance process is combining the performances from multiple takes into a single new take. Image courtesy HBO.

Vallée developed this approach with his team of editors (Maxime Lahaie-Denis, Véronique Barbe, Justin Lachance, Dominique Champagne, David Berman, and Émile Vallée) along with the visual and post artists at REAL by FAKE led by Marc Côté. “With Marc and his team,” he says, “we can test ideas rapidly, keeping what works, discarding what doesn’t. Nothing is impossible.”

Marc Côté even coined a name for what we did on the show : ‘EditAvance.’ ‘Edit’ because it all comes together during the editing process, not as a separate post process. And ‘Avance’ which is simply French for ‘advance.’’

One of the major areas of collaboration between Vallée and Côté on the show occurs in scenes in Camille’s iconic family home. Much of Camille’s story centers around what happened there during her childhood. 

But reality does not always cooperate.

The location team found a great house in Northern California. “It was beautiful, and so isolated. It was so remote it had this Alfred Hitchcock feel: You can scream but nobody can hear you. But we didn’t have enough time and budget to stay on location through the entire show.

“So we built the house interior on a stage with a 360-degree translight (a large illuminated film backdrop). However, there are issues with perspective when using a translight. We then just repositioned things with VFX, so anytime you look out a window, you see a completely accurate visual re-creation of the environment around the house.

The interior of Camille’s childhood home was created on a stage with a 360 degree translight. A drone survey and image may were done to create an accurate representation of the outside. The translight was then replaced with actual elements, keeping the proper perspective. Image courtesy HBO.

The interior of Camille’s childhood home was created on a stage with a 360 degree translight. A drone survey and image may were done to create an accurate representation of the outside. The translight was then replaced with actual elements, keeping the proper perspective. Image courtesy HBO.

This is just one example of the EditAvance approach used in hundreds of shots in the series. “By the end of the show, between the shots of the house, augmenting the scars on Camille’s body and the other assorted clean-ups, replacements and greenscreen shots, there were over 2,300 visual effects shots in the show.”

The other key component of the EditAvance process is music. For SHARP OBJECTS, like for all of his previous films, Vallée didn’t choose a traditional composed score but source material, songs that the characters play. “In the real world, we live our lives surrounded by music. Same with these characters, including Camille.”

In the show, Camille and major characters have unique “playlists.” Vallée shapes the sound atmosphere around the playlists by tweaking and repurposing the music’s themes, durations, volume, presence, and distance. Says the director, “I knew I wanted Led Zeppelin to be the sound of the show. That defines a character.  Or two.  Alice and Camille.

To realize his music-centric vision for telling Camille’s story, Vallée’s team used classic invisible visual effects and post-production techniques such as speed ramps, sound and picture overlays, extraction and repositioning, morphs, split screens, digital extensions of sets and locations. These techniques helped Vallée match each character’s visual story to their musical story. 

Music is a crucial element of EditAvance. The process matches the visual rhythm of the scene to the music- not the other way around. Image courtesy HBO.

Music is a crucial element of EditAvance. The process matches the visual rhythm of the scene to the music- not the other way around. Image courtesy HBO.

“I’m no musician, but it seems to me that the process is a lot like making music. It’s like creating a score with pieces of songs, and with spaces in the right spots where silence can breathe. As I work with the editors, visual effects artists and sound designers, it gets more and more precise. Once we find the scenes, one at a time, once we find the right pacing, and the quality of emotion of each of them, we move on to find the right transition between them, the right music cue in and cue out.”

Is this “EditAvance” approach the next wave for producing prestige streaming series? 

Perhaps it’s too early to say. One thing’s for certain, however, it’s an approach that aims for truth in the performances and puts the story and their characters first.  So far, the results speak for themselves.

Hype WorldReal By Fake
Cut+Run's Ellese Shell in Shoot Magazine's Mid-Year Report Card

As part of their Mid-Year Report Card, Shoot Magazine asked Hypester Ellese Shell at Cut+Run a few questions:

Shoot Magazine: What efforts are you making to increase diversity and inclusion in terms of women and ethnic minority filmmakers? How do you go about mentoring new talent?

Ellese Shell: Cut+Run has a deep tradition of mentorship and I am a direct product of that. Having learned the craft and business of advertising and specifically editing right here as EP, I am now in the position of doing the same - nurturing and guiding the next generation of female editors and producers.

Read Ellese’s full interview at Shoot Magazine.

Ellese Shell

Ellese Shell

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Chapeau Studios' Karuna Venter in Shoot Magazine's Mid-Year Report Card
Karua Venter

Karua Venter

As we passed the mid-point of the year, Shoot Magazine reached out to various industry professionals to ask them about 2019 so far — including Hypester Karuna Venter at Chapeau Studios.

Shoot Magazine: What trends, developments or issues would you point to thus far in 2019 as being most significant, perhaps carrying implications for the rest of the year and beyond?

Karuna Venter: For me and my half-full water glass, 2019 has been characterized by an embrace of disruption as a means of creation rather than allowing it to be a form of destruction. Nothing is easy right now, and we are finding ways to keep moving forward despite it all.

Read Karuna’s full interview at Shoot Magazine.

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"An artist’s view of SIGGRAPH 2019" — Jogger Studios' Creative Director Andy Brown for PostPerspective
Andy Brown

Andy Brown

While I’ve been lucky enough to visit NAB and IBC several times over the years, this was my first SIGGRAPH. Of course, there are similarities. There are lots of booths, lots of demos, lots of branded t-shirts, lots of pairs of black jeans and a lot of beards. I fit right in. I know we’re not all the same, but we certainly looked like it. (The stats regarding women and diversity in VFX is pretty poor, but that’s another topic.)

You spend your whole career in one industry and I guess you all start to look more and more like each other. That’s partly the problem for the people selling stuff at SIGGRAPH. We all start looking a bit like one each other.

Read Andy’s full write-up at PostPerspective.

Hype WorldJogger