Author Topic: The Tree of Life  (Read 81448 times)

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Pubrick

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Re: The Tree of Life
« Reply #135 on: January 01, 2011, 10:57:09 AM »
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this film will cause mass enlightenment.
endless 'nothing is what it seems'-isms

modage

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Re: The Tree of Life
« Reply #136 on: January 14, 2011, 10:27:34 AM »
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'Tree of Life' cinematographer: 'It was like no set I ever worked on'
Source: LA Times

It's not many film productions that consult with NASA as they're shooting. But then, not many film productions have Terrence Malick for a director.

As cinematographer Emanuel "Chivo" Lubezki tells it, the shoot for Malick's coming-of-age epic "The Tree of Life," starring Sean Penn and Brad Pitt, pretty much made up its own rules as it went along. Then it broke those too. "Once you think you got the formula, you realized there is no formula," Chivo told 24 Frames in an interview. "It's like no set I ever worked on."

There are plenty of reasons why that's true. Besides the NASA factor -- Malick consulted with the space agency for footage of the cosmos and other grand imagery he used in the film -- there was the fact that he didn't shoot actors in a conventional way. Or, sometimes, at all.

Though most movies use what's known as "coverage" -- cameras stationed in different places, with the idea of conveying a scene as you might experience it in real life -- "Tree of Life" eschewed those conventions.

"So the actors are performing the dialogue, but Terry isn't interested in dialogue. So they're talking, and we're shooting a reflection or we're shooting the wind or we're shooting the frame of the window, and then we finally pan to them when they finish the dialogue," Chivo recalled.

The movie, which comes out in May, aims to tell of a spiritual journey using a sense of place, a long span of time and a set of striking elemental images -- and, oh yes, also is partly based on Malick's own life. The idea, say those who worked on it, was not so much to tell a story but to create a feeling.

"Photography is not used to illustrate dialogue or a performance," Chivo said." "We're using it to capture emotion so that the movie is very experiential. It's meant to trigger tons of memories, like a scent or a perfume." (More from the cinematographer in Sunday's Movie Preview issue.)

And how did the performers react to all this unconventionality -- like, say, the fact that Malick wasn't always interested in what they had to say? "I think they thought we were insane," Chivo said. "Sean is a director, and I'm sure he wondered 'Is this method something I want to learn or is it something I never want to repeat?' For Brad I think it took him a couple of days or a week to get into the spirit."

Dede Gardner, Pitt's producing partner and a producer on the film, said a sense of elastic possibility is essential in making a movie like this as well as watching it. "One of the things you learn when you work with Terry is there isn't one interpretation," she said. "Life's experience is individualized, so why shouldn't a film be?"
Christopher Nolan's directive was clear to everyone in the cast and crew: Use CGI only as a last resort.

RegularKarate

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Re: The Tree of Life
« Reply #137 on: January 27, 2011, 10:34:07 AM »
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Quote
Local baby's foot featured on 'Tree of Life' poster
Stetson Mouser turns 3 on Feb. 23, which gives a good idea of how long Terrence Malick's "The Tree of Life," starring Brad Pitt and Sean Penn, has been in post-production. Stetson was a mere 4 days old when he pulled an eight-hour shift on the film, which opens in May. That's his foot on the film's advance poster.

"The movie is one of my ‘likes' on Facebook," said mother Heather Mouser, "so you can imagine how excited I was when they showed the poster and I saw my son's foot." It's not yet known if the current poster will be the official one when the movie opens May 27.

Stetson got the gig, which paid $75 for the day, when Mouser answered a casting call in Smithville for pregnant women. "The movie people asked me to give them a call when the baby was born," said Mouser, a stay-at-home mom whose husband is an electrician supervisor for JMEG. The couple also has an 8-year-old daughter, Chesney.

Mouser met Brad Pitt on the set during the filming and recalled she wasn't starstruck in the least. "He was just a nice, normal guy," she said. "I was just so enamored with my new son, I didn't really focus on anyone else."

"The Tree of Life" centers on the lives of three brothers, their father (Pitt) and mother (Jessica Chastain). Stetson Mouser portrays one of the brothers, perhaps Sean Penn's character, as a newborn baby.

cronopio 2

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Re: The Tree of Life
« Reply #138 on: February 03, 2011, 11:56:54 PM »
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is that an onion article? i don't know anymore.

RegularKarate

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Re: The Tree of Life
« Reply #139 on: February 04, 2011, 03:47:35 PM »
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is that an onion article? i don't know anymore.

No, it's real... I thought it was funny though, that's why I posted it.

Ravi

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Re: The Tree of Life
« Reply #140 on: March 08, 2011, 11:37:01 AM »
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http://www.littlewhitelies.co.uk/blog/the-tree-of-life-vision-quest-14358

The Tree Of Life: Vision Quest
The visual effects team behind Terrence Malick's long-awaited cinematic return talk exclusively to LWLies about the making of the film.
Trevor Hogg
Tuesday, March 08 2011 11:46 GMT

Considered by many to be an enigma because of his reclusive nature and the long gaps between his films, American director Terrence Malick returns to the big screen this year with The Tree of Life.

Partly autobiographical, the story revolves around a boy growing up in the 1950s American Midwest whose relationship with his strict father and nurturing mother haunts him into adulthood. Starring Brad Pitt, Sean Penn, Jessica Chastain, Joanna Going, Jackson Hurst, Fiona Shaw, Crystal Mantecon, and Tamara Jolaine, the drama ignited worldwide curiosity when word came out that it included footage involving the formation of the universe. Could this be the resurrection of the mysterious Project Q that was supposed to explore the origins of life on earth?

Given the responsibility of creating the nonexistent imagery was visual effects supervisor Dan Glass, who has worked with the likes of Christopher Nolan on Batman Begins and The Wachowski Brothers on The Matrix Reloaded, and who spoke to LWLies about his involvement in the film.

“My first discussions with Terrence began about four-and-a-half years ago and they were very vague and rather roundabout,” recalls Glass. “I remember one of the things that we talked about was trying to find a common language and approach. I asked, ‘Can you list the music that you imagine behind these sequences? Can we approach it from that angle?’ And he sent me a CD with a tonne of music that was the type of stuff that he could imagine emotionally playing across these works.”

Even though Glass points out that each movie production has its own unique set of creative challenges, he readily admits that Terrence Malick, “was like no one else I’ve ever worked with or imagine I will work with again.” The London native explains, “If I sat down to write out what I thought would be ideal for a director of a visual effects film, especially a lot of complex visual effects, he would probably not tick any of the boxes. Whilst you can say that was the challenge it was also very much the best and the most exciting thing about the project.”

One of the big differences on The Tree of Life was the source material, as Glass explains. “The script, if you can call it that, was really more like a set of notes that he has written and built up over some 35 years. He has been working on this project since the ’70s. And we actually have negatives that he shot in the 1970s that we incorporated into the movie. So it really becomes a lifting of notes and ideas.

“The first person we brought on was a very versatile digital FX supervisor by the name of Brad Friedman,” Glass continues. “Brad helped build a small team in Austin to work closely with the director, editorial and myself to interpret, previs and ultimately complete many shots for the production. This team was critical as an experiment lab right next to Terry at all times to evaluate, to try things out. Production also set up a Research department gathering tons of imagery and scientific data for reference, and included a garage workshop where they would shoot chemical experiments and various things from Petri dishes to fluids in tanks; that was in conjunction with the stuff we did on a bigger scale with Doug Trumbull.”

Of major importance for the VFX supervisor was the selection of the visual effects companies. “The way we had to approach the film was really very piecemeal,” reveals Glass. “Aside from bringing in many people I have worked with over the years, that I trusted greatly to be able to interpret what was needed, we also brought in some very fine artistic sensibilities from several companies from around the world that approach things in a particular non digital fashion.”

From here a plan was implemented to delegate the visual effects workload. “The material was divided into four broad categories we termed Realms: Double Negative in London handled the majority of the Astrophysical Realm led by supervisor Paul Riddle, journalist Michael Benson consulted and provided extraordinary source imagery from actual probes and telescopes. He and a colleague initially selected and stitched the images together, cleaned them up, and created huge resolution images of 30,000 pixels which we then broke into layers and dimensionalised over very slow exploratory camera moves. For the Microbial Realm we hired a small London boutique company called One of Us headed by Tom Debenham and Dominic Parker that do beautiful work; they have their own little studio where they shoot practical pieces and elements and combine them with very photographic looking CG.

“We also commissioned work from Peter and Chris Parks [at Image Quest 3-D] who are a father and son duo in England. They do these richly detailed visual flows of colour which are very hard to describe and can imply things at any scale. We then had a couple of things that arose later in the schedule that really needed a very fresh approach.”

Regarding the topic which has garnered a lot of internet attention, Glass answers, “I can confirm that there are dinosaurs.” Given the responsibility of bringing the prehistoric animals back to life in the Natural [History] Realm was Frantic Films under the guidance of Mike Fink, which took on a new name after commencing work on the project. “I came onto it after it was already underway at Prime Focus,” states Bryan Hirota, who served as a visual effects supervisor at the VFX facility. “The company worked on it for maybe eight months.”

Hirota goes on to say, “Terrence Malick is notoriously secretive… I don’t know much about this movie. I don’t really know how the work fits in.” This comes as no surprise to Glass. “I would sometimes deliberately misguide the intention,” he admits. “An animator would want to know, ‘What’s the purpose here? What’s my motivation?’ So I would deliberately misguide a little and push in one direction and say, ‘Now adjust it and do this,’ just to try to get that zone where you have a little bit more of an ambiguity and something that’s more animal than human in its characteristics.

“We used a tremendous amount of practical and scientific work,” reveals Glass. “Terrence would insist that every frame be attached to some amount of live action or practical content. It’s fantastic. I love that as an approach. Doug Trumbull, who is a good friend of Terry’s, came on board to help and consult in setting up a series of practical shoots that we did. We did three in all that we called the skunkworks and which were done over long weekends in Austin, some of the techniques dating back to 2001. Techniques that Doug had used but then incorporating many of the things he has developed or worked with over his career, we would capture this terrific library of abstract, strange forms, and shapes. Those contributed to elements or in some cases the majority of an image within the movie; we would augment it with additional detail… mixing it up so it was never really clear what scale, or what was the origin of the material.  Where it wasn’t possible we would include aspects of the ‘real.’”

An important part of the production for The Tree of Life was the effort devoted to portraying science realistically.  “We were always very respectful,” emphasises Glass. “For example, to do some of the cosmological simulations of very early space there’s obviously little that we could have shot practically for that. But we paired up with some of the leading scientists in their respective fields, like Volker Bromm who specialises in Population III stars, the first to theoretically form in the Universe. So there’s this very deep, rich science behind the imagery. We also had the help of Donna Cox and Robert Patterson of the NCSA [National Center for Supercomputing Applications], who would take a base simulation, and start to create visualisations which were then fed to Double Negative, guided visually by contributions from a concept artist called George Hull. We would craft the thing into picturesque imagery based on literal science.”

Questioned on how a unified look was achieved, Glass remarks that was not something that Malick initially desired. “He preferred the idea of a patchwork quilt. He might shoot something on a Super 8 camera, then an IMAX camera, then on a digital camera, but in space you might have something based on magnetic resonance imaging or infrared photography from the Hubble. Each would have its own character, and that in his mind would lend to authenticity because you weren’t trying to smooth it, shape it and make it conform.”

Known for his stunning cinematography, Malick wanted to make the most of the imagery featured on the screen.  ”We had one shot we were working on for the longest time that was nearly two minutes long,” says Glass. “It is there to give you time to take in what you’re looking at. Part of his focus is always rich, detailed images, generally keeping as much depth of field as possible so it gives your eyes plenty to wander around and take in.” After spending many months finessing a shot, Malick, Glass and his visual effects team would view the end result in one of the theatres in Austin. “We’d reach a stage where we were happy with it,” he says. “Then sometimes weeks later he’d ask, ‘Can we put that back up again?  Let’s think about this again.’ And he’d consider trying to experiment on another track. There was always this element of the piece continually evolving and developing, which was very different to what you normally have a chance to do in a lot of the bigger visual effects pictures where it can all too often be a case of ‘That’ll do. That’ll do. Move on. Move on.’”

Bryan Hirota observes, “Malick, it seems to me, needs to see stuff, and then brings his film to life in the editorial process; it’s not necessarily clear to him exactly where his film is going to take him. It’s like a process of discovery for him.” Informed of Hirota’s comment, Glass responded, “With Terrence… his vision is strong. He knows where he’s going but because his goal is much more esoteric, it’s less tied down to any literal representation. That’s why the editorial process is critical to him, even with his live action; he shoots a lot of footage that can play in many different contexts, and some of his favourite moments are things where they’ve yelled, ‘Cut!’ and the actors almost break character. Those are the pieces he’ll love. Similarly, in the visual effects…you’re working for days, weeks, sometimes months trying to make something so precise. And yet for Terry that could work against the very organic nature of the material so we had to spend more time to free it from itself.

“Each shot is unique and crafted as such; they’re really approached from every angle as an individual piece,” Glass continues. “At one point we were approaching 60 minutes of footage that we were completing, of which somewhere between 12 to 15 minutes was ultimately used.” The IMAX format was chosen because they wanted to retain an incredible level of detail. “All of the work in Tree of Life is done to 5 1/2 K resolution… There’s a genuineness to that; it’s really trying to more closely represent the photography of the real thing. And the music and sound I would say are tremendous. The sound design I was really bowled over by, in terms of how it helps emotionally taking you through the piece.” Summarising the final cinematic experience, Glass states, “It’s a very powerful movie about memories, emotions, and our place in the world.”

As to what he thought The Tree of Life was going to look like, he confesses, “I don’t know in some ways what I was expecting it to be… I think the thing that was constant throughout the experience of working with Terry was that you know not to expect anything. There’s always something mysterious to be found.”

Ravi

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Re: The Tree of Life
« Reply #141 on: March 14, 2011, 02:25:12 PM »
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Fifteen more stunning images

I don't know if they're stunning, but I'll be damned if they're not images.

MacGuffin

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Re: The Tree of Life
« Reply #142 on: March 23, 2011, 08:20:06 PM »
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Terrence Malick's 'Tree Of Life' Will Finally Get Planted At Cannes
BY THE DEADLINE TEAM

As widely expected and to no one's surprise, it has been confirmed that Terrence Malick's The Tree Of Life will screen at this year's Cannes Film Festival, most likely in an out-of-competition slot in the official selection. The bigger mystery now is whether distributor Fox Searchlight will have screenings stateside before shipping the period drama overseas, given that the film's release date in France (May 18) comes during the festival (May 11-22). Will Searchlight want to give Cannes a true world premiere, or will it want to provide the media with the more standard lead times that screenings in the U.S. would provide? The latter was the path taken by last year's Cannes opener, Ridley Scott's Robin Hood. There has been speculation for a year now about just when and where Tree Of Life, starring Sean Penn and Brad Pitt, might get its premiere. In reality, the French Riviera always has seemed the place for it: The project wasn't ready in time for a Cannes bow last year (though Cannes general delegate Thierry Fremaux saw a cut of the film and agreed to include it in last year's edition, even if the notoriously elusive Malick didn't attend the fest) and since then the usual spots at Telluride, Toronto, Sundance and even South By Southwest (Malick is Texas-based) have come and gone. Tribeca obvioulsy wasn't a big enough springboard, so what really was left for a studio seeking a global platform for an auteur film? Cannes will unveil its official selection next month. Woody Allen's Midnight In Paris already has been slated as the opening-night film.
“Don't think about making art, just get it done. Let everyone else decide if it's good or bad, whether they love it or hate it. While they are deciding, make even more art.” - Andy Warhol


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matt35mm

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Re: The Tree of Life
« Reply #143 on: March 28, 2011, 01:58:48 PM »
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U.K. Auds To See Terrence Malick’s ‘The Tree Of Life’ Before Everybody, May 4th Release Date Set
http://blogs.indiewire.com/theplaylist/archives/u.k._auds_to_see_terrence_malicks_the_tree_of_life_before_everybody_may_4th/

Wow, this is unexpected. With Terrence Malick‘s “The Tree Of Life” pretty much confirmed for the Cannes Film Festival, we figured that it would serve as the global launchpad for the film, however, it turns out that’s not the case.

Empire reports that Brit audiences will be the first to get mindfucked by Malick, with “The Tree Of Life” now scheduled for a Wednesday, May 4th release. That’s one week before Cannes kicks off and three and a half weeks before it lands on our shores. We can feel Cannes honcho Thierry Frémaux slightly fuming that his big ticket festival centerpiece will now get a bow elsewhere first.

So what does this mean for Cannes and Malick? Well, it almost certainly guarantees that the film will not play in competition (though we never figured it would anyway). However, it does still mean Frémaux will still get the glitzy red carpet with Brad Pitt (likely with Angelina Jolie in tow), Sean Penn, Jessica Chastain and hopefully, the reclusive Malick himself. While it does take some shine off the premiere, there will be a lot to keep the photogs happy and frankly, most of the world press will still be eagerly awaiting to see the movie for the first time.

Another unexpected development from a film and director continuing to throw us curveballs. For those of us stateside, “The Tree Of Life” lands on May 27th.

Fernando

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Re: The Tree of Life
« Reply #144 on: March 28, 2011, 03:11:35 PM »
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Stefen

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Re: The Tree of Life
« Reply #145 on: March 28, 2011, 03:12:55 PM »
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It's like the iPad of spoilertars.
Let's go to a motel. We don't have to do anything -- we could just swim.

modage

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Re: The Tree of Life
« Reply #146 on: March 28, 2011, 03:55:55 PM »
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First thing I thought of was "they stole my avatar."
Christopher Nolan's directive was clear to everyone in the cast and crew: Use CGI only as a last resort.

RegularKarate

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Re: The Tree of Life
« Reply #147 on: March 28, 2011, 05:09:05 PM »
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First thing I thought of was "they stole my avatar."

Ha!  First thing I thought was "at least Mod won't have to work very hard for his avatar this time".  Then I looked down and he's way ahead of me.


Stefen

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Re: The Tree of Life
« Reply #148 on: March 28, 2011, 05:55:57 PM »
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Love the avatar.

I can't tell if I think Jessica Chastain is pretty or not. My brain says no, but my ya know what says yes.

She's like the penis whisperer or something. Her and Kirstie Alley :shock:
Let's go to a motel. We don't have to do anything -- we could just swim.

socketlevel

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Re: The Tree of Life
« Reply #149 on: March 28, 2011, 11:15:30 PM »
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you always make me smile stefen  :)
the one last hit that spent you...

 

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