Legend of the Guardians: Editor David Burrows

Editor David Burrows had to keep the heart of the story as his first priority when working on Legend of the Guardians: The Owls of Ga’Hoole.

How do you combine the rhythm expected of an animated epic, and the pace that family films usually employ?

Today’s audiences are very smart, very film-literate – so you’ve got to try and stay ahead of them without ever leaving them behind! At the forefront of my mind when cutting any scene is getting to the heart of the story – and this very much dictated how I would approach any given scene – whether it was an intimate scene involving the family or a full-on battle scene. In Guardians the obvious through line of film is Soren’s story so keeping that front and centre was always the priority.. A good example of this is the scene where he and Gylfie try to escape from St Aggies. Essentially it’s an awesome fight scene followed by an exciting escape chase – but what really makes the scene sing is Soren urging his brother to flee with them – and how Soren responds to what happens.

What was the most complex sequence to put together?

Definitely the end battle. It was complex from a choreography point of view – and maintaining clarity in the sense of who is fighting who was a trick. Of course the most awesome battle scene in the world is still going to boring if you’re not emotionally invested in the characters and so the one-on-one battles between Soren and his brother Kludd – and also Ezylryb and Metal Beak became integral to that idea. We tried a number of different combinations and orders of scenes before we settled on what I think is the exciting, visceral and emotionally satisfying ending to the movie we have now.

How was your area impacted by the 3D component?

Tthe plan from the outset was to edit the movie for 2D and conform it for stereoscopic  after the fact. Having said that, I was always able to view the cut in 3D right through from layout to final lighting shots as the cuts of particular scenes became more refined.

Our stereoscopic supervisor Tim Baier employed a process called “cut cushioning” which essentially reduces the kind of eye strain people often associate with viewing 3D movies. Without getting too technical, this basically means he would animate the left and right windows as we approach each cut so that your eyes don’t have to do all the work of readjusting to the convergence. The end result is a very comfortable viewing experience in 3D.


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