(Concept Artist for Visual Effects at Cinesite)

- How did you get involved in THE 13TH WARRIOR?
- I was working as Visual Effects Art Director for Cinesite, which was asked to produce digital visual effects for this movie.
- When exactly and how long did you work on this project?
- I worked on it in 1997, for approximately 5 months.
- What did you know about this project when hired?
- Not much, really.
- Weren't you surprised by the association of Disney with a movie first called EATERS OF THE DEAD?
- I did not know that!
- You are credited as "Concept Artist" at the end of the film. What is the task of a Concept Artist?
- Basically, to visualize the ideas of a director (in my case, for visual effect scenes). To develop the look, feel and mood desired and to create sketches and animatics.
- So what exactly did you do on this project?
- I was asked to create a couple of set extensions (e.g. the camp on the hill, above the valley, with the forest) and develop the look of the fog in a couple of scenes. I worked on almost all the forest shots. They also needed us to replace some soldiers digitally, as well as a shot where we added snow at some mountain peak...
- What were the filmmakers' specific desires, regarding the look of the fog?
- That it should look evil and should form like fingers reaching into the forest (between the trees, etc.). Kind of mystic, I guess...
- Had they precise visual references?
- No. Nothing specific.
- Strangely, Jerry Pooler said in some interview that "a large section of the film is spent sailing through a fog bank", but the sequence lasts barely one minute in the movie...
- I know. That's too bad, after all the effort! I think they used it more as an establishing shot...
- Did the production provide Cinesite with storyboards for the visual effects scenes?
- Not for the scenes I was involved in.
- Did you run a lot of tests before achieving the final look of the fog?
- Oh, yes! A lot of tests and paintings were done! But we had some previous experience in clouds and fog from a movie called THE FLOOD, so we did not start at zero. We ended up using a combination of painted elements I created and some particle animation (with a volumatic render) done by the 3D department.
- Do you know if Cinesite worked on the Banderas' horse jumping scenes?
- I don't recall.
- Have you heard about some deleted whale sequence?
- No.
- There is a shot, in the trailer (but not in the movie), of some smoke running backward! (from a scene, I think, when the Wendol are beating the retreat, after the big night battle with the villagers) Do you remember having worked on such a shot?
- No.
- Did you work on scenes or shots that were not included in the final cut?
- I was not involved in those.
- What was your biggest challenge on this project?
- To make the fog look real!
- And how did you achieve that?
- I guess, through a combination of all the techniques involved...
- How did you feel about the finished version of THE 13TH WARRIOR? Were you satisfied creatively with the final result?
- Never! As you know, the scenes were cut quite short...
- Anything you would want to add about your work on THE 13TH WARRIOR?
- It was fun to work for it!
- So you did not suffer from the Crichton/McTiernan dispute, creatively speaking?
- No. You usually do not get affected by that in post-production...


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