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**TTT-EE Appendices Discussion -- Music for Middle-earth -- Postproduction ***


Oct 7 2010, 1:12am

Post #1 of 6 (3145 views)
**TTT-EE Appendices Discussion -- Music for Middle-earth -- Postproduction *** Can't Post

Within a production that demanded a tremendous amount of multitasking and multi-unit coordinating, The Two Towers--as the middle film--must have presented an added layer of challenges. The appendices material below gives us a glimpse into those challenges and some strategies used to meet them. See if you can get a sense of how well people coped with their challenges and how much it might have impacted the final product. Consider similar situations that you have faced and how they might compare or contrast with the working environment of the LOTR movies.

transcript from appendices:
Peter Jackson: The key point with the post production on any movie is the delivery date. And the delivery date is like the religious moment that cannot be altered and which the filmmakers have to hand the finished film to the studio. And from the end of October, they have enough time—just—to make the ten thousand copies of the film to get the film into cinemas all around the world.

Barry M Osborne: Even while we were scoring the movie and Howard had written his music, Peter was still cutting and recutting the film.

Peter Jackson: It really meant that where the crunch was going to be was all around the time that Howard was trying to write the music.

Paul Broucek: We started to do the math as Howard likes to do. And we realized that we had to put Peter on a formula. That essentially he had to turn over five and a half minutes worth of locked, edited picture.. a day. But that’s how we worked backwards knowing that was the only way were going to make it so we could start recording our music in London. Efficiently, we should have had everything written... in a perfect world, we would have everything prepped... ready to go and we would just record, edit, mix until we’re done with all the music. But Howard hasn’t even seen the final version of the locked picture. (pause) It’s gets a little hairy.

Peter Jackson: It became like a twenty four hour a day production.

Paul Broucek: We had music copyists working around the clock... in shifts. That said, we had to get clever and realize, okay, Howard can’t be at every choral session. Howard can’t handle the vocal soloists. So we put our heads together and we figured out a little divide-and-conquer. We had a little system. The base of the technology that’s available (Magpie: I’m not sure I’ve transcribed this phrase correctly)... his team... and put together the ability for him, not only to see us, with a video conferencing unit, but we also had high quality phone lines. So he could essentially produce the sessions while he was writing. For instance, when I was doing vocals, let’s say, with Abbey Road Studios, I ring his cell phone. And the code is, “one ring... to rule them all”. (smile)

Sound of: phone ringing

Howard Shore:
The “one ring” was a code that we used for signaling that a mix was ready. So it was a way for you to be in... four places at once... effectively. (tone indicates that he means in an effective manner, not as in ‘for all intents and purposes’)

Rick Porras: So all these kinds of things conspired and our scoring very much came down to the wire. It was actually overlapping when we doing our final mix.

Paul Broucek: So now the mix crew in New Zealand needs Peter as much as we need him in London.

Rick Porras: And so Peter then flew back to be there for the mix team and the fact that we were scoring while you’re mixing... you know, that’s like, (makes a kind of sick sound) something you always try to avoid. And luckily, technology, you know, came and saved us.

Paul Broucek: Based on the Polycom video conferencing, we’d have a camera in both places.

Barry M Osborne: Peter could be just like he was in the control room with Howard and have a video conferencing as well a sync to the 5.1 Dolby music.

Howard Shore: I think there was a few instances where I was on the podium, Peter was in New Zealand, and he’s able to talk with me as if he’s in the booth, you know, 20 feet away.

Peter Jackson: So, I’m seeing Howard conducting and I’m hearing him live in my room in New Zealand in perfect quality.
On Screen: The orchestra playing the destruction of Isengard. The camera cuts to the control room where we first see a screen of Howard conducting and then, next to it, Howard sitting on a couch.
Howard Shore: And now we’re like a well-oiled, international machine working in different countries simultaneously.

Paul Broucek: I threatened to have t-shirts made up, “Around the World in 80 Days - Film Score - The Two Towers”. We finished around November 1st, 2002 and it pretty much ramps right back up and by December we’re in the process of gearing up, getting footage. Peter’s locked the extended cut version of The Two Towers in April of 2003 and, boom, we’re right into the cycle of getting footage on Return of the King.

Magpie Conversation Prompts:

How do you think the various company units and personnel coped with the challenges of having the work of The Two Towers sandwiched between the FOTR and ROTK while having key people scattered across the globe? Do you think the final film product was harmed, enhanced, or unaffected by these challenges? Do you have any insight into how common these issues are for film production? Was there anything particularly creative or heroic in their efforts or is this all ‘par for the course’?

Real Life: Could you personally relate to any aspect of this section? The crunch of deadlines -- The difficulties of multitasking, either yourself or the person who’s attention you need -- The necessity to problem solve in creative ways?

shiny html format of this material here.

Above comments transcribed from The Two Towers Extended Edition Appendices Material: Music for Middle-earth

Howard Shore: Composer
Peter Jackson: Director/Writer/Producer
Philippa Boyens: Writer
Paul Broucek: Paul Broucek; Executive Music Producer, New Line Cinema
David Salo: Tolkien Language Translator
John Kurlander: score engineer
Barry M Osborne: Producer
Rick Porras: Co-producer
On Screen: the image shown on screen other than the narrator/interviewee
Music Playing: the music playing under the commentary

LOTR soundtrack website ~ June 2010 : ROTK Lyrics Update!
magpie avatar gallery ~ Torn Image Posting Guide


Oct 8 2010, 12:18am

Post #2 of 6 (2723 views)
it's been fun to revisit these... [In reply to] Can't Post

I'm going to save my comments for the weekend, though! Wink



Oct 8 2010, 3:01am

Post #3 of 6 (2711 views)
Not nearly as big a deal [In reply to] Can't Post

Efficiently, we should have had everything written... in a perfect world, we would have everything prepped... ready to go and we would just record, edit, mix until we’re done with all the music. But Howard hasn’t even seen the final version of the locked picture. (pause) It’s gets a little hairy.

In response to the question, "Could you personally relate to any aspect of this section?" the above put me in mind of my experience as a photo editor at a university paper.

Now this was in the days before desktop publishing. We were still pasting up pages using wax and light-boards and stat cameras. I was new on the job and my predecessor used to just develop his pictures, make a guesstimate of a size the layout people would need and leave it to them to fit the picture into whatever hole was left after the text was pasted up. Resizing a photo could be done while making the screen print, but cropping, which affects composition, was dependant on the shape of the hole.

Like most photographers, I would carefully frame my shots and then adjust the composition via cropping during the enlargement (printing) stage. For the first edition I worked on, I left the requested prints, all composed just so, with the layout people and went home. When the paper came back the next day, I was horrified to find that most of my shots were cropped further (even where reducing the image size would have been possible) destroying the fine compositions I had submitted. I was livid but more frustrated than anything. The solution was a process change where I would print the pictures only after the text layout was finished. As the writers were notoriously late with their submissions, and the text editors just as picky as I was, this resulted in me having to work late into early morning hours before our deadline.

I can totally relate to Howard wanting to compose to the footage rather than just submitting finished pieces for others to fit in all willy-nilly. As well I can appreciate that this meant longer hours and more waiting than is desirable. In the end though, it was worth it, I'm sure.

(This post was edited by SirDennisC on Oct 8 2010, 3:07am)


Oct 8 2010, 3:08am

Post #4 of 6 (2695 views)
ah, the price of the quest for perfection. :-) [In reply to] Can't Post

Sometimes I think people who are quick to find fault about lots of things (with movies, for example) are ones who have never engaged in a creative endeavor that involved working with others and having a deadline. That's one of the reasons I asked some of those questions. Because I think people who have, have a really good idea what kind of stress and angst is involved. And mistakes or less than perfect results that endure... are not there because someone just blew it off or were stupid. They just hit some wall that halted work.

Howard has a lot of quotes about some of this that just fascinate me. Especially when it's an audio interview and I can hear his voice.

LOTR soundtrack website ~ June 2010 : ROTK Lyrics Update!
magpie avatar gallery ~ Torn Image Posting Guide


Oct 8 2010, 3:22am

Post #5 of 6 (2725 views)
Don't get me started [In reply to] Can't Post

Yeah sometimes it's a case where a work is just plain bad. But some of the comments we read on the Internet, about film especially, just prove that the average person has no idea what goes into a making a film or how the creative process works in general. I think DVD extras (depending on their quality, ha!) go a long way towards raising awareness of the process, that is, when people bother to watch them before stating an opinion.

Just an aside, because you are on, did you happen to see Twilight: Eclipse yet? Howard's score is brilliant. I would expect another Oscar nomination at minimum.


Oct 8 2010, 3:42am

Post #6 of 6 (3017 views)
I haven't seen the movie [In reply to] Can't Post

.. I will cautiously admit I find those characters, as I see them in the trailers and movie clips on tv shows, so unlikeable and the acting so bad I can't begin to imagine why anyone would like them.

Obviously people do and people I have a high opinion of. So either I'm not giving them a chance or they just aren't my cup of tea. I still haven't seen Inception, or half a dozen other movies I'd rather see so I doubt the Twilight movies will ever make it on my list.

I did buy the soundtrack. Mostly because I knew I'd be able to find it a Target (they're soundtrack selection is VERY limited). I haven't listened to it more than a time or two at work. I juts purchased Eastern Promises' soundtrack, too.

l will admit, I don't have a ton of Shore soundtracks. But in listening to an interview he did recently on the radio, I was reminded of his Ed Wood soundtrack and that might be my next purchase.

back to criticism of creative work, I must be getting really old because a lot of the comments I read online seem to be going to great lengths to sound 'mature' (by swearing, or being very opinionated, judgemental, etc. ) but they only scream 'young' to me. I read them and go, 'well, I'm guessing you've never had a kid so that's why you think explaining to a 4 year old that Chucky isn't real will alleviate his fears' or... 'I'm guessing you never had to make a living to support a family so stealing other people's work seems like it's harmless' or .. 'I'm guessing you never had to meet a deadline and, having worked 10 hour days for 3 weeks find you absolutely must hand it off even though you know there are 16 more things you could have made better.'

LOTR soundtrack website ~ June 2010 : ROTK Lyrics Update!
magpie avatar gallery ~ Torn Image Posting Guide


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