Mr. X Builds a Hot Tub Time Machine
Bill Desowitz: So what was it like working on this comedic romp?
Dennis Berardi: First of all, working with director Steve Pink keeps you on your toes. He's very smart and very quick comedically and the kind of vibe he set initially was trying to have fun. It's not often you come out of a shot review completely broken up with laughter. But the shots were pretty challenging. We did a bunch of environment work, where the story ultimately takes us to a ski lodge, which is run down today, but was in its heyday in the '80s. So we had a lot of environment work taking the location and dressing it down to look like a derelict town. We added graffiti, dirt and decay to the buildings, breaking pieces of things off and adding 50 gallon drums that were on fire, adding tarpaulins over stuff and generally trying to make the ski town and the lodge look like no one had kept it up for 20 years. We also did some environment extensions for the actual ski lodge itself where there is a prominent rooftop area that never existed, so we created the top of the structure. We also shot the actors against greenscreen for some skiing and did some plate photography and composited the two. And in some cases because of the perspective change in the specific performance we couldn't match an exact plate to the camera motion so we did full-CG slope for the background.
We also had fun with a little squirrel that plays prominently and so in most cases he was a little greenscreen element that got composited and integrated into the shot. Basically, he was a puppet squirrel with CG facial enhancements, where we did some work on the eyes and nose area to make it look like he was emoting. But quick, little moments -- nothing big.