The Third Floor, Warner Bros/Legendary (2014)
This was the movie that started my love and passion for previs, and how it can really plus a story and streamline a production.
I moved out to Vancouver in late 2012 with the hope of working in VFX on feature films, and this was my first gig out west. Working for the Third Floor, on set in New Westminster, our team dove into the challenge of exploring the scale and speed of our massive antihero.
Director Gareth Edwards wanted naturalistic movement and motivation from the animals, especially during fight scenes. He wanted to have a documentary feel to the camera work, so every camera needed to feel grounded in a real place, with real intention. We explored how wildlife and war documentaries are shot. This led to a masterclass for me in practically-based 3D cinematography.
While we created a lot of exciting sequences, nothing will be as memorable for me as the Halo Jump sequence. We largely created that sequence in previs, with our director Edwards working closely with us. He seemed so energized by what we were creating in previs that he would spend late nights in the editing bay working on the sequence. When that first trailer dropped, and it was shot-for-shot what we had all created together in previs, it was an exciting, career altering moment I will never forget. I saw the power previs can have in shaping the direction and visual storytelling of a film, and all the collaboration that went into it, and I was absolutely hooked!