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  • **TTT Music for Middle-earth: Post-Production** — aMagpie, 12/7 @ 9:04 (2/7)
    • technology saves the day... — weaver, 12/7 @ 15:26 (0/0)
    • Peter in the cross-hairs? — grammaboodawg, 12/11 @ 20:36 (1/5)
      • good observation — aMagpie, 12/11 @ 22:04 (2/4)
        • Osborne, yes... I agree — grammaboodawg, 12/12 @ 9:27 (0/0)
        • I just ran across this bit of trivia — aMagpie, 12/12 @ 22:07 (1/2)
          • Perfect! — grammaboodawg, 12/13 @ 4:54 (1/1)
            • The difference I see is: — aMagpie, 12/13 @ 8:35 (0/0)

    Main Post:





    Within a production that demanded a tremendous amount of multitasking and multiunit coordinating, The Two Towers--as the middle film--must have presented an added layer of challenges. The appendices material below gives us a glimpse into those challenges and some strategies used to meet them. See if you can get a sense of how well people coped with their challenges and how much it might have impacted the final product. Consider similar situations that you have faced and how they might compare or contrast with the working environment of the LOTR movies.

    Peter Jackson 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.

    Barry M Osborne: Even while we were scoring the movie and Howard had written his music, Peter was still cutting and recutting the film.

    Peter Jackson It really meant that where the crunch was going to be was all around the time that Howard was trying to write the music.

    Paul Broucek: 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.

    Peter Jackson It became like a twenty four hour a day production.

    Paul Broucek: 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)
    Sound of: phone ringing
    Howard Shore: 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’)

    Rick Porras: 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 final mix.

    Paul Broucek: So now the mix crew in New Zealand needs Peter as much as we need him in London.

    Rick Porras: 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.

    Paul Broucek: Based on the Polycom video conferencing, we’d have a camera in both places.

    Barry M Osborne: 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.

    Howard Shore: 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.

    Peter Jackson So, I’m seeing Howard conducting and I’m hearing him live in my room in New Zealand in perfect quality.
    On Screen: The 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.
    Howard Shore: And now we’re like a well-oiled, international machine working in different countries simultaneously.

    Paul Broucek: 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 iss
    ues are for film production? Was there anything particularly creative or heroic in their efforts or is this all ‘par for the course’?

    Real Life: 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?

    Responses to Post Production:

    weaver 12/7/2006
    In Reply To: **TTT Music for Middle-earth: Post-Production** — aMagpie
    technology saves the day...
    Kind of interesting that LotR, the films, ended up relying so much on technology, given Tolkien's attitudes toward "the machine."

    I've done my fair share of work under pressure -- no sleep, sick, high on caffiene, etc.  In situations like this, the stress has tended to make us very, very creative about solutions -- things we would never have even considered earlier, suddenly become highly attractive options.  But only for the time period of the project. Afterwards, of course, it can seem we went to ridiculous lengths -- but it made sense at the time, and actually did work.

    It's hard not to be critical, a bit, about how it got down to the wire like this.  But then again, it's not like anyone knew, exactly, what they were getting into by making the films, what the whole experience would entail.  Jackson seems very apologetic at times for how rushed everything got, but given more time, it might have actually produced worse results. 

    They may not have liked the pace of putting down a piece of track right before the train came, but it seems to be a good way for them to work.  Did the film makers have more time to do Kong?  And did that make for a better film?  It seems to have lost them Howard Shore, for one thing.  I for one am very glad that didn't happen on the LotR films instead.

    Is stress essential to creativity? That's like asking if pain is essential to having a baby.  The answer is no, but it's the way it's designed by nature.  Now, we can artificially manage the birth process to alleviate pain -- is that a good thing? A good alternative?  An improvement?  One way is organic, one way is managed.  As long as there's a healthy baby at the end, either way is fine. But for these film makers, the "organic" way the films came about seems to have been the better way to go, pain and all.


    grammaboodawg 12/11/2006
    In Reply To: **TTT Music for Middle-earth: Post-Production** — aMagpie
    Peter in the cross-hairs?

    “How do you think the various company units and personnel coped with the challenges...”

    How did they cope?  I think that more than once people contemplated exterminating Mr. Jackson ;)  I would have been endless frustration to think that work was going forward that involved writing music, organizing the orchestra/vocalists and changing THEIR music, not to mention the filming that was changing!  I think the technology was something Peter counted on to carry him through these last-minute changes, or he probably wouldn’t have done it so often.  The end result, though, is a masterpiece.  I think Peter Jackson does his best work when he under stress, or he wouldn’t have worked 3 films at once with multiple units.  He’s amazing.  And that he was able to keep everyone going when there must have been more than a few times they wanted to bolt says a lot about him, too.  He’s fierce, driven, inspired, and his instincts are right-on.

    aMagpie 12/11/2006
    In Reply To: Peter in the cross-hairs? — grammaboodawg
    good observation
    gramma wrote:
    And that he was able to keep everyone going when there must have been more than a few times they wanted to bolt says a lot about him, too.
    I hadn't thought of it like that but that's a really good point. We know that certain aspects of this project were brutal. I'm sure that it was possible for many people to simply walk away but even if they couldn't, I think we could sense if they were upset at how things were ultimately handled. But there seems to be very little of that that seeps through. (The one exception might be Barry Osborne. I don't know what his default demeanor is but I sometimes seem to sense slight frustration or irritation in his voice when talking about aspects of the project.)
    grammaboodawg 12/12/2006
    In Reply To: good observation — aMagpie
    Osborne, yes... I agree
    except for the excerpts where you see technicians pounding their heads on their desks, I think everyone was so supportive!

    We have to remember when all of this was going on for Fellowship, no one knew they had a success on their hands... which probably added to the pressure to tweek it one... more... time!

    aMagpie 12/12/2006
    In Reply To: good observation — aMagpie
    I just ran across this bit of trivia
    I commented in my post above that we probably would have heard more grumbling if there had been true dissatisfaction with the grueling aspects of the movies' production. I think if people are truly unhappy, it will come out one way or another.

    I just ran across this bit of trivia in regards to Blade Runner:

    The shooting of the film was supposedly such a strain on the cast and crew that crew members had T-Shirts made saying "WILL ROGERS NEVER MET RIDLEY SCOTT" (a reference to Will Rogers' famous statement that he never met a man he didn't like).
    grammaboodawg 12/13/2006
    In Reply To: I just ran across this bit of trivia — aMagpie,
    Just like the t-shirts they made when they were filming Helm's Deep and they crossed out the M ;)
    aMagpie  12/13/2006
    In Reply To: Perfect! — grammaboodawg
    The difference I see is:
    The Hel(m)'s Deep tshirts bemoan a situation. The Blade Runner tshirt bemoan the director. I think LOTR crew had affection enough for the director to not focus their frustration on him. Apparently, the BladeRunner crew focused all their frustration out on Ridley Scott.


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