The key point with the post production on any movie is the delivery
date. And the delivery date is like the religious moment that cannot
be altered and which the filmmakers have to hand the finished film
to the studio. And from the end of October, they have enough time—just—to
make the ten thousand copies of the film to get the film into
cinemas all around the world.
Even while we were scoring the movie and Howard had written his
music, Peter was still cutting and recutting the film.
It really meant that where the crunch was going to be was all around
the time that Howard was trying to write the music.
We started to do the math as Howard likes to do. And we realized
that we had to put Peter on a formula. That essentially he had to
turn over five and a half minutes worth of locked, edited picture..
a day. But that's how we worked backwards knowing that was the only
way were going to make it so we could start recording our music in
London. Efficiently, we should have had everything written... in a
perfect world, we would have everything prepped... ready to go and
we would just record, edit, mix until we're done with all the music.
But Howard hasn't even seen the final version of the locked picture.
(pause) It's gets a little hairy.
It became like a twenty four hour a day production.
We had music copyists working around the clock... in shifts. That
said, we had to get clever and realize, okay, Howard can't be at
every choral session. Howard can't handle the vocal soloists. So we
put our heads together and we figured out a little
divide-and-conquer. We had a little system. The base of the
technology that's available (Magpie: I'm not sure I've transcribed
this phrase correctly)... his team... and put together the ability
for him, not only to see us, with a video conferencing unit, but we
also had high quality phone lines. So he could essentially produce
the sessions while he was writing. For instance, when I was doing
vocals, let's say, with Abbey Road Studios, I ring his cell phone.
And the code is, "one ring... to rule them all". (smile)
The "one ring" was a code that we used for signaling that a mix was
ready. So it was a way for you to be in... four places at
once... effectively. (tone indicates that he means in an effective
manner, not as in 'for all intents and purposes')
So all these kinds of things conspired and our scoring very much
came down to the wire. It was actually overlapping when we doing our
Paul Broucek: So
now the mix crew in New Zealand needs Peter as much as we need him
And so Peter then flew back to be there for the mix team and the
fact that we were scoring while you're mixing... you know, that's
like, (makes a kind of sick sound) something you always try to
avoid. And luckily, technology, you know, came and saved us.
Based on the Polycom video conferencing, we'd have a camera in both
Peter could be just like he was in the control room with Howard and
have a video conferencing as well a sync to the 5.1 Dolby music.
I think there was a few instances where I was on the podium, Peter
was in New Zealand, and he's able to talk with me as if he's in the
booth, you know,
20 feet away.
So, I'm seeing Howard conducting and I'm hearing him live in my room
in New Zealand in perfect quality.
orchestra playing the destruction of Isengard. The
camera cuts to the control room where we first see a
screen of Howard conducting and then, next to it, Howard
sitting on a couch.
And now we're like a well-oiled, international machine working in
different countries simultaneously.
I threatened to have t-shirts made up, "Around the World in 80 Days -
Film Score - The Two Towers". We finished around November 1st, 2002
and it pretty much ramps right back up and by December we're in the
process of gearing up, getting footage. Peter's locked the extended
cut version of The Two Towers in April of 2003 and, boom, we're
right into the cycle of getting footage on Return of the King.
Magpie Conversation Prompts:
Coping: How do you think
the various company units and personnel coped with the challenges of
having the work of The Two Towers sandwiched between the FOTR and
ROTK while having key people scattered across the globe? Do you
think the final film product was harmed, enhanced, or unaffected by
these challenges? Do you have any insight into how common these
issues are for film production? Was there anything particularly
creative or heroic in their efforts or is this all 'par for the
Could you personally relate to any aspect of this section? The
crunch of deadlines -- The difficulties of multitasking, either
yourself or the person who's attention you need -- The necessity to
problem solve in creative ways?
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