The Making of Godzilla 2014
Godzilla (2014) looks like a great summer blockbuster to me – largely because of director Gareth Edwards and (in this trailer) Bryan Cranston’s excellent character voice over. Epic destruction has never looked so enticing. And in putting together this round up of making-of insights, Edward’s humility is mighty refreshing.
As an aside it seems like you can never really go wrong in a trailer with a few quick fades to black synced to some Inception style fog-horns and then the scary choral murmuring from Kubrick’s 2001 stargate sequence.
I’ll be updating this post with more behind the scenes extras as they become available.
Gareth Edwards’ Advice for Filmmakers
In these 5 short snippets you get a few insights into Gareth’s filmmaking journey from early childhood aspirations to being asked to direct Godzilla. His most memorable piece of advice? “The secret of success is not how little you get knocked down, but how often you get back up.”
Director Gareth Edwards on Godzilla
In this 10 minute interview from The Verge, director Gareth Edwards talks through the design of Godzilla while working with team from Weta Workshop as well as some of the themes undergirding the film.
In this short interview from WonderCon director Gareth Edwards and writer Max Borenstein talk about some of the central philosophical concepts behind the film.
Lastly a nice little write up that’s worth checking out is Techradar’s piece on Godzilla‘s VFX and Gareth’s storytelling focus.
“The real difficulty in any filmmaking process is to try and tell a gripping story that you really care about and that doesn’t matter if you have got 10p or 300 million. It is just as hard for anybody and that is what we focused a lot of our time on to get right.” – Gareth Edwards
Wired also has an interesting write up of the Q+A with Gareth, after a South by South West sneak preview screening, on the “8 things he did to make sure his reboot didn’t suck.”
“You feel a lot of pressure doing a big film like this. I felt a lot of pressure. There’s a lot of pressure the fans are going to put on you; there’s pressure the studio’s going to put on you,” Edwards told the audience after a sneak preview at South By Southwest. “But it was nothing compared to the pressure I put on myself. This is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to direct a film like this. So I was saying to myself, ‘Don’t fuck it up, Gareth.’”
Making of Godzilla – Visual Effects
FXGuide has a plethora of great content on the visual effects side of the making of Godzilla. Firstly you can check out an hour and 20 minute podcast with Gareth as well as a great article on Gareth’s journey as a filmmaker during the production of only his second feature film.
fxguide spoke in-depth to Edwards about the making of Godzilla, where he revealed how the film’s killer Comic-Con teaser was made, how he came to appreciate previs, why relying on animal reference didn’t cut it, his low-tech approach to shooting insert footage and the prospect of working with your VFX heroes.
If that’s not enough you can even purchase a 10 part After Effects course taught by Gareth Edwards himself from his BBC days. Check out the 40 minute free preview below, of A Guerrilla Filmmakers Guide To After Effects: “Edward’s course begins by breaking down shots, techniques, and workflow used in the actual production of Atilla the Hun. This in-depth coverage of the real world project then shifts gears into producing a complex visual effects shot with footage shot specifically for the course.“
In these two minutes, Mike Seymour from FX Guide gives a quick overview of the film’s visual effects, largely created by MPC, for Wired.com. For a sneak peak at MPC’s own visual effects break down, check out this page.
UPDATE – The video above was recently released ahead of Oscar season to highlight MPC’s masterful work in creating the creatures, destruction and most iconic scenes.
In this interesting post from The Creator’s Project on Vice.com, you can get a feel for not only the size of Godzilla, but also some of the essential stats involved in the production’s shooting and VFX. Stats such as 500,000 polygons were used by MPC artists to create the 3D model of Godzilla or that it would have taken 445 years to render the movie on a single computer. Geek trivia-tastic.
Recreate Godzilla Trailer Titles in After Effects
This 15 minute tutorial from Youtube trainer Mikey walks you through how to recreate the trailer titles with just a few layers in After Effects.
3D Conversion of Godzilla
In this short clip you hear a few sound bites on the 3D post-conversion process. The film will be distributed in 2D, 3D and IMAX 3D.
How big is Godzilla? Mashable has a handy infographic on the changing size of the big man himself over the years.
Sound Design of Godzilla 2014
Possibly even more iconic than the silhouette itself is Godzilla’s roar. Check it out above and then jump over to Wired for a short read on how sound designers Erik Aadahl and Ethan Van der Ryn created it.
The main element is this metallic shriek accompanied by an earth-shattering sound,” Aadahl says. “But there is kind of a bellowing finish. There’s the RRAAAAAAAAH of the attack and then an OWWWOOO-WOOMPH.”
This behind the scenes film from Dolby Laboratories takes you into the creation of the new Godzilla roar, featuring a comparison with the original sound effect. For an even more in-depth resource on the sound design work, check out this excellent article with Erik Aadahl from thecredits.org.
“One of the things I’m most proud about is the places we were able to take out all sound and create negative space,” Van der Ryn says. “That’s something we try to do a lot in our work, it’s only in relation to the absence of sound that sound has meaning, and so often that gets overlooked and you end up with a soundtrack that’s just a plateau of all sounds together and it loses its meaning. My favorite scenes in the film are these real quiet moments where we’re able to connect viscerally with the creatures. We took out all these other sounds so we could just focus on the one or two most important sounds that really connect us to these other living beings, making them real.”
In this short clip you can hear Gareth Edward’s thoughts on creating the music for Godzilla, with composer Alexandre Desplat.
Behind the Scenes Featurettes on Godzilla 2014
In these two minutes you can get a look at the filmmakers philosophy for making Godzilla as realistic as possible. These next two videos include a whole host of clips from the film intercut with press-interviews with Bryan Cranston and Elizabeth Olson.
Behind The Scenes B-Roll on Godzilla
If you’re into this kind of thing you can also check out around 10 minutes of on set B-Roll footage. Although to be honest it’s never as interesting as an EPK (soundbite bland as they often are!) but I suppose these are a little like being allowed to wander around on set.
In this short video Gareth breaks down some of the low-fi visual effects shots that he created for the BBC drama Atilla The Hun. It’s these sort of filmmaking insights that are extremely valuable for anyone trying to make an ‘expensive’ film on a low-budget. Check out the (sadly low-quality) video below for more of the same kind of insider tips this time from Gareth making Monsters mostly in his bedroom.
Lastly if you’re after even more filmmaking insights from Gareth you should definitely check out these previous posts – firstly the making of DVD extras from Gareth’s first feature Monsters and a BAFTA masterclass he gave with Monsters editor Colin Goudie.