– . – VFX Supervisor – Paul Franklin
VFX Supervisor – Paul Franklin
Although it’s not shot in 3D or part of a hit franchise, Inception is one of the highest grossing films of 2010, thanks in no small part to its incredible effects. VFX Supervisor Paul Franklin explains the tricks of his trade, and why the film will be just as effective on the small screen…
As the visual effects supervisor for Batman Begins, The Dark Knight and now Inception, Paul Franklin knows a thing or two about transforming the everyday into high concept, larger than life cinematic worlds. He calls it creating an ‘absurd reality’, something that feels familiar, yet different; something that perseveres for authenticity in spite of its genre trappings. We spoke to him on the day he gave a talk at the Apple store on Regent Street to promote the forthcoming release of the Inception Blu-ray box set, which includes special features taking viewers behind the scenes of his wonderful effects.
Firstly, given the current trend, was there ever a temptation to shoot Inception in 3D?
We did do a test, got a bunch of shots which we converted into stereo over in Los Angeles. I have to say the results were extremely encouraging. It was very impressive what the stereo guys managed to do on it, but, unfortunately it was just a little too late in the day; these things do take a while to get right. It would have been a post-conversion process had we had the time. Who knows maybe on Christopher [Nolan’s] next film he’ll decide to go that route. The way we use effects on Chris’s films, they are very much in support of the story. The script is king and everything that we do takes its lead from that.
How early on were you brought into the process on Inception?
My job on Inception started right at the very beginning of pre-production. Chris called—I was standing in the middle of Disneyland with my kids—and he asked me to come in to read the script, which I did inside a locked room with somebody guarding the door; I got like two hours to read the script. He called me up immediately after and said, ‘Right, so where do you think the effects go?’ Then that conversation would carry on through pre-production, where I’m breaking down the script, working out every moment where an effect would be, what techniques we might use, how much it might cost.