Create: How do you keep going, month after month, at that level of detail and that pace?
Barba: Visual effects is a team sport, and a sport of passion as well. You have to put a lot of yourself into it every day to make it work, like any artistic endeavor. But that’s what makes it fun.
It’s not a 9 to 5. In my case, it’s more like 5 am to very late in the evening, because people are all over the world. We had partners from New Zealand to Czechoslovakia, from Montreal to Vancouver. As soon as you get off the phone with one partner, you have get on the phone with the next. And that one’s behind, where are the shots, we need those, let me text that person while I’m watching this one’s work. It becomes a big machine to keep running smoothly.
My day is, arrive in the office, grab my cup of coffee, and immediately start looking at all of our partners submissions. I have a team that is constantly ingesting shots, and it gets published into our internal system, and I go through the work and make my own notes visually. Then I go into our screening room and look at the work on our big screen. In some cases, I’ll immediately jump on the phone with the supervisors at that partner, in other cases we’ll have time with the director to go through stuff, or work with the visual effects editorial team to cut shots in and see them in context, and get feedback back to these amazing partners as quickly as possible to maximize the iterative process and the time.
Create: What’s your favorite type of shot?
The artist in me loves the shot where you you could take any frame and make it into a painting. Because you’ve thought about the composition, and the color palette, and where your eye is going, and it just looks like a piece of art. Those are the ones that probably satisfy me the most.
That, and when effects are seamless, when the audience doesn’t know you were even there, they just get sucked into it, those are the most rewarding. Because then you’re using all the artistry to the point where it disappears.
I think the opening shot is a good example of what we try to do to grip the audience. We see these T-800s walking out of the surf, and it’s a reminder of what we’ve seen before with the hunter-killers and the T-800s, and it’s reminiscent of Terminator 2, but it also looks completely believable and beautiful, the juxtaposition of this beautiful beach in Spain and this horrific event.
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