Life of Pi

Fantastic Voyage: Imagining and Realizing the Sound for 'Life of Pi'

Sound editors Eugene Gearty and Philip Stockton collaborated on director Ang Lee’s vivid and imaginative Life of Pi, a film that required them to construct largely from scratch the audio world in which much of the story takes place: a large lifeboat adrift at sea, populated by a young Indian boy (Pi) and a remarkably realistic (digital) tiger named Richard Parker. There is little dialogue for much of the film, and how it was shot demanded that most of the on-set audio be either replaced or newly created.

Ang Lee Is Just Beginning to Learn the Language of 3D

Fresh off of his Oscar win for best director, Ang Lee, editor Tim Squyres and writer David Magee were recently on-hand to discuss their film Life of Pi at its Blu-ray/DVD release party.

'Anna Karenina,' 'Les Miserables,' 'Life of Pi,' 'Lincoln' and 'Skyfall' Earn ASC Award Nominations

Seamus McGarvey, ASC, BSC (Anna Karenina), Danny Cohen, BSC (Les Miserables), Claudio Miranda, ASC (Life of Pi), Janusz Kaminski (Lincoln) and Roger Deakins, ASC, BSC (Skyfall) have been nominated in the feature film category of the 27th Annual American Society of Cinematographers (ASC) Awards for Outstanding Achievement. The winner will be announced at the ASC Awards celebration on February 10 at the Hollywood & Highland Grand Ballroom.

Rhythm and Hues and the Art of CGI Animals

The British Film Institute profiles the unsung work of effects house Rhythm and Hues, responsible for creating many of Hollywood's CGI animals in films ranging from Babe to Yogi Bear to Life of Pi. They write, "In a way, Rhythm & Hues has taken its digital safari full circle. 17 years ago with Babe it transformed real live-action animals with discreet tweaks to their mouths and faces. They then sought to transform cartoon animals into full-bodied photorealistic forms. With Life of Pi, they’ve accomplished a work of near-total photorealism, where each painstaking detail intensifies a sense of heightened reality that is cinema, extending beyond the animal into a setting that itself is largely digital."

'Life of Pi''s Tim Squyres on Editing: It's Not a Science

Lif of Pi editor Tim Squyres talks to The Verge about the crux of his job, as well as the challenges of editing a 3D film for the first time. He says, "There are hundreds of little decisions [an editor] make[s] per day. You just do it. You do what feels right. You can think exhaustively or you can go by feel. Ultimately, you develop instincts about what things work. When you first see the footage, if something is really striking you have to really trust that. It’s not a science. Sometimes things work in ways you can’t really quantify. Sometimes I show it to someone and they say 'wow' even if they can’t say why. It’s important to try a lot of things and find the relationship between this look and this reaction, and that line and this hesitation. My assembly process isn’t just about getting one version. It’s about exploring what’s in the footage and trying different things."

The Digital Cinematography of 'Skyfall,' 'The Hobbit,' and 'Life of Pi'

The Hollywood Reporter talks to the cinematographers behind three of the years most high-profile digital films, Skyfall, The Hobbit and Life of Pi.  Says The Hobbit's Andrew Lesnie, "We have a certain mandate to remain faithful to the look of Middle-earth while acknowledging that LOTR was shot on film and now we are in a fully digital environment. We’ve been successful with softening the curve and giving the material a gentle, textural finish. Sometimes digital capture feels a bit thin or sharp, so we take great pains to give the material some softness and ‘body.’”

Read the full piece here.

DP Claudio Miranda on Shooting 'Life of Pi' on the ARRI Alexa

Cinematographer Claudio Miranda explains what made him choose the ARRI Alexa as the camera of choice to capture Ang Lee's Life of Pi. He says, "I did some early tests with other cameras. We needed strong, controlled highlights. Normally, sunlight reflecting on water is a pretty big digital issue. We shot off the Venice Beach pier with the camera very low to the water. The Alexa was the only camera that didn’t feel electronic in the highlights. That’s pretty critical to the story, with all of the highlights going out of control in the reflections and with characters really close to the water. This was really important to get a handle on. It was a landslide why we chose Alexa.

Hula Post Production Travels the Globe to Serve 'Life of Pi'

In a project that spanned nearly four years and half the globe, Hula Post Production supplied editorial systems and support for Life of Pi¸ the new 3D film from 20th Century Fox and director Ang Lee. One of the industry’s leading suppliers of editorial systems for film and television production, Hula Post Production set up and maintained editorial operations in Taiwan, India, Canada, New York and Los Angeles.

With Life of Pi, Mr. Lee (Brokeback Mountain; Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon) creates a groundbreaking movie event about a young man who survives a disaster at sea and is hurtled into an epic journey of adventure and discovery. While cast away, he forms an amazing and unexpected connection with another survivor…a fearsome Bengal tiger.

yU+co Reteams with Director Ang Lee to Create 'Life of Pi' Stereoscopic Typography For Main Title Sequence and Key Scenes

Life of Pi, Academy Award-winning director Ang Lee’s latest feature, pushes the boundaries of stereoscopic 3D, visual effects and cinematic storytelling. To create the film’s elegantly crafted main title sequence, end crawl and additional key sequences in the film, he again turned to creative director Garson Yu and the creative team at design/visual effects studio yU+co.

“I think I share a similar visual aesthetic with Ang, which is why we work well together and he involves us in the filmmaking process. Ang introduced us to this project nearly two years ago when he and his team were still in pre-production,” Yu says. “He was looking to create a new visual language for how stereoscopic 3D can be used to tell a story.”

Ang Lee on Why 'Life of Pi' Had to Be in 3D

Fast Company's Co.Create talks to venerable director Ang Lee about his storytelling prowess and how he chose to take on adapting the beloved bestseller, Life of Pi. He says, "3D is a film language that’s not established, but when looking at the water I don’t think we could have pulled this movie off in 2D or at least thinking in 2D. The book made me want to do this movie and I feel like I’m quite loyal to it. I hope I did it justice.”

Read the full piece here.

The Digitally Created World of 'Life of Pi'

Life of Pi's visual effects supervisor Bill Westenhofer talks to Fast Company's Co.Create about his work creating everything from digital water to a digital tiger in the visual spectacular. He explains, "I was really nervous about the water. Part of my job is to figure out how to get things to work but there’s an even more important function--which is that even when I’m terrified about something I have to emote confidence. It’s still kind of shocking that it all worked. It came down to the fact that water behaves according to physical laws and is predictable. We could do things like find the peaks per frame when the raft goes up and down, and code that into our wave function. We then sat down and matched all the fine details."

Read the full piece here.

Tim Squyres Talks 'Life of Pi' and Being Ang Lee's Go-To Editor

Life of Pi editor Tim Squyres sat down with Avid Rough Cut to talk about his two-decade professional relationship with Ang Lee . He says, "We kind of grew up doing this together. I learned to cut features cutting Ang Lee footage. And he did all his directing, until Brokeback Mountain, I was the only editor he'd ever worked with. You know, we have a similar sensibility, [but] not precisely the same. Ang once said he liked working with me because we disagree a lot and that kind of tension is good."

Watch the chat below.

Peter Travers Calls 'Life of Pi' Spectacular

Peter Travers reviews Ang Lee's Life of Pi in the video review found below, saying, "Only since I saw Martin Scorsese do this in Hugo have I seen an artist of a filmmaker use 3D so spectacularly."

Watch below.


The Creation of a Digital Tiger for 'Life of Pi'

Effects house Rhythm & Hues took on the challenge of digitally creating Life of Pi's Bengali tiger co-star and capturing the animal's ferocity and natural instincts, which are so crucial to the plot of the movie. See The New York Times' slideshow here showcasing how Rhythm & Hues built the animal from the skeleton up.

Get a Glimpse of 'Life of Pi''s Breathtaking Visuals

This newly-released clip from Ang Lee's Life of Pi provides just a glimpse at the visual splendor that critics have already been raving about. In the clip, Pi writes his predicament in a journal: he's stuck on a life raft in the middle of the ocean with a wild Bengali tiger. Watch below.



Watch the First Trailer for Ang Lee's 'Life of Pi'

The first trailer for Ang Lee's highly anticipated Life of Pi has been released and reveals beautiful, ethereal imagery. The film, about a boy trapped on a small boat in the middle of the ocean with a tiger, is based on the best-selling novel by Yann Martel. The dialogue-less trailer lets its stunning imagery do most of the talking. The film will be released in 3D on November 21 and we're willing to bet some of what we see here (including the jumping whale scene) will look particularly spectacular in 3D.

Watch below.

'Life of Pi' in 3D to Have Special Trailers from Fox

To showcase what they are billing as remarkable 3D in the upcoming Life of Pi film adaptation, Fox has decided to screen three uncut scenes from the film before three of their biggest 3D movies this year: Prometheus, Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter and Ice Age: Continental Drift.

Says Tim Rothman, co-chairman of Fox Filmed Entertainment, "This film is special and different, and so we didn’t want to give people the same-old, same-old."


Ang Lee Says His 3D Learning Curve on 'Life of Pi' Was Huge

At an event at last week's CinemaCon, director Ang Lee spoke candidly about grappling with the decision to film Life of Pi in 3D. Explains Lee about having to change his directing style to accomodate the new medium, "I'd have to go back to [lead actor Suraj Sharma] and bring his performance down because [3D] just enhanced it so much more. It's like a new film language."

Read more here on the LA Times.

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