VFX IS THE GLUE THAT SEALS THE ‘BOND’ IN ‘NO TIME TO DIE’


There was no additional time added to the pre-production schedule despite the directorial changeover. “We started all over from page one,” Fukunaga elaborates. “What that meant was writing took place all the way through production. I did something similar like that on Maniacs. We knew our ins and outs, but didn’t always have the inside of it completely fleshed out. The communication involved with having five units going at the same time and keeping everyone in continuity was a major task.” 

Previs was critical in filling in the gaps of the narrative. “There were several sequences that would get rewritten in the editing,” explains co-editor Tom Cross (Whiplash). “Sometimes they would be shooting some parts at a certain time and weeks or months later shoot other parts of it. In a way, that gave us time to work with previs and postvis and try to mock up a template for how these scenes could be completed.” 

Digital augmentation was an important element in achieving a visual cohesiveness. “You know that a lot of film was going to be shot from all of these different locations at various times and visual effects was one of the glues that held it all together,” Cross says. 

A sound mix was created for the previs by supervising sound editor Oliver Tarney (The Martian). “There were certain things, like when the guy walks up to the car and shoots at Bond, that were to me as much an audio experience as they were a visual experience,” states Fukunaga. “I wanted the audience to be inside that car, to hear what it is like to have bullets hitting you from all sides.” 

“Cary is from the school of Christopher Nolan where he went into Bond wanting to get as much practical as possible,” remarks co-editor Elliot Graham (Steve Jobs). “Because of the schedule and Daniel’s injury, we had to rely more on visual effects.” 

A total of 1,483 visual effects shots are in the final cut. “It took so many man hours alone just to review shots that it would have been too much to do by myself,” admits Fukunaga. “It required an entire team whose curatorial eye had to be sharp to determine whether a shot was worthy to be brought to the review stage. Some shots were going to be entirely visual effects because those things you can’t do in real life. I found it actually quite liberating because my first films didn’t have much money for visual effects, so I was hesitant to rely on them for anything. I wanted the suspension of disbelief to be bulletproof, which meant I tried to do as much in camera as possible. As budgets have increased and allowed for some of the best craftspeople working on the visual effects, I could relax control and trust that we were going to get spectacular shots.” 

Unpredictable weather had an impact on the production, particularly on a scene that takes place on the Scottish Highlands “It was supposed to be a blue-sky chase, which it was for much of the main unit shoot,” recalls Graham. “However, while we were there with the second unit it rained the entire time and the roads were covered in mud. These were car-flipping stunts, so you have to be careful because people’s lives are much more important. They did the stunt once. We waited four hours, gave up, did it in the rain, and hoped that we could paint out the rain the best we could. 



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