Role: Visualization Supervisor Production Type: Feature Film
Synopsis: After a near-fatal plane crash in WWII, Olympian Louis Zamperini spends a harrowing 47 days in a raft with two fellow crewmen before he’s caught by the Japanese navy and sent to a prisoner-of-war camp.
Working with Roger Deakins and Angelina Jolie was a tremendous experience. The production was split between Australia and Los Angeles which proved to be extremely challenging. Deakins is one of my heroes and so I wanted to soak up everything I could from him. His motto was always “keeping it simple”. Camera moves, lighting, staging… it was always about finding something strong and bold and just sticking with that. No fancy camera moves, no fancy lighting setups. My goal was always to deliver something that Roger would have no notes on… if we did that, we knew we did it right.
I was responsible for three main sections of the film, all involving the bomber planes. The opening sequence above was the biggest of the three. Finding a great opening and delivering something that did justice while maintaining the realism that Jolie and Roger were looking for was intense. They didn’t want to have many exterior shots, everything needed to be shot from inside from the characters perspectives.
The other two sequences where bomber plane crash sequences. One on a dirt runaway, the other in the ocean waters. What these soldiers went through was hell. It became clear early on the production that we needed to treat everything we did with due respect. No overtop CGI explosions and action thriller moments. When creating scenes like these it’s easy to break out the cool shit… but that sometimes takes away from the story. We wanted everything in this film to be controlled and done from a very grounded perspective. RIP Louis Zamperini