The Batman VFX Supervisor On Creating This Batmobile Chase, CGI Vs Practical, Etc. [Interview]

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You mentioned before working during the pandemic and the different situations that all this upheaval caused with “The Batman”. More specifically, how has it shaken things up on your end? You have worked from home before, I assume.

Yeah. Well no. Yes and no. [Laughs]

Agreed. [Laughs]

So we first started talking to Dan [Lemmon] and to Warner Brothers about “The Batman” in mid to late 2019 I think, so before [the pandemic] spear. And I went to the UK mid-December 2019, just to see. Dan had his visual effects team, they were all already set up at [Warner Bros. Studios at] Leavesden, they were already shooting stuff in pre-production. The plan was that then I would go for the part of the shoot that was, at the time, related to us, although that changed later. And I think March, obviously, then that changed because everything kicked off and everything stalled. They had to stay on the ice for a while and then come back and do what everyone else has to do in terms of Covid safety on set, which was hugely important, but obviously slows everything down when you’re working.

This put a lot of pressure on the end of the schedule. It was frustrating for me, personally, not being able to be there while they were filming, because from a creative standpoint, that’s often the most satisfying part of the project. But also it allows you to develop a shortcut, I guess, with people, because you understand all the decisions that were made to shoot something as it is, rather than ending up with a bunch of stuff to the end and go, “Well, why did you do it like that? It doesn’t make any sense.” [Laughs] Essentially, there’s a very good reason things were done this way. But obviously, because the release date got pushed back six months due to Covid in the first place, things were obviously pretty tight at the back. So it became essential for us to make sure we were excited and ready to go as soon as the job arrived, once they were done shooting it.

From our perspective, by the time we really got stuck in it, we had been working from home for about a year I guess [laughs], at this moment. And we know exactly how to do that. And the Wētā team did a great job of getting everyone ready very quickly and it was actually a very, very smooth transition. I don’t feel like it really affected us in terms of productivity or our ability to collaborate with people. Admittedly, the delays in the schedule made it more difficult, but I think the process was pretty well defined at that point.

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