Tackling Previs on Oblivion
DS: Any interesting anecdotes you can share?
NM: Joe, having a background in 3D software, would often sit with me to compose shots or figure things out in the computer. He had a very good sense of what was happening spatially in the shots. There were a couple times where he'd say, "Are you cheating this?" and then we'd check the shot in 3D and he'd be correct.
DS: How would you summarize the value your previs brought to the production?
NM: I think the normal things that previs brings to a show applied on Oblivion - the ability to plan, understand costs and have flexibility to make creative decisions. Where I think this show stands apart is that decisions were made with the previs that held true to the end. There was motivation to make those decisions in previs, where we could experiment with ideas and come up with the best ones and then have a plan going into production. Even so, I don't ever think the previs inhibited production and post-production to have their own creative development. This balance makes for going into production with a plan, but one that can change as the movie evolves. This is the best way to implement previs.
Dan Sarto is editor-in-chief and publisher of Animation World Network.