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Behind the Scenes ::: "Quantum of Solace" – RECUT [Part I]

May 26, 2009

“Juzza”, of Juzzmeister.co.uk, recently answered some of my questions about his Quantum of Solace – RECUT fan media project…

First of all, what did you think of “Quantum of Solace”? Did you want to make a recut of the film because you disliked it? Or perhaps just wanted to fool around with the footage?

I enjoyed Quantum of Solace but in my opinion it did have one serious flaw which was the editing, something that has been highlighted by many people.  I’m all for new styles and ideas but not at the expense of losing the suspense for a scene.  The first time I saw the movie I thought M had been shot but it is only after subsequent viewings was I able to determine that Bond had dragged her to the floor and out of danger whilst at the same time throwing a chair at Mitchell.  Stand out piece for me was the car chase at the start of the movie, I love how the music plays as the camera sweeps towards the mountain side and when the action starts the music stops and all we can hear is the sounds of the cars racing.  It is only as Bond exits the tunnel does the music start playing again and really adds to the adrenaline.

There are two reasons why I re-cut the movie.  Firstly, it gave me an excuse to edit another Bond movie and secondly I was able to incorporate this into a project brief for my Degree in Graphic Design and Digital Media.

Can you explain the process that you went through in order to create a totally new gunbarrel sequence?

First thing I needed to do was rip a HD copy of the movie which I did by installing Linux on my PS3 and dumping a copy of the film over the network directly onto my PC.  This took about 12 hours and I ended up with a 45Gb iso image.  From there, I ripped the content and found the stream that contained the main movie (about 21Gb) and then converted this to a high quality HD file in the MP4 format (this also took about 12 hours).  Then I used various applications to rip frame-by-frame the gun barrel sequence and then cleaned up each individual frame in Photoshop until I had Bond walking on a pure white background.  I then reconstructed the footage using the edited images to a high quality uncompressed AVI file.  As I wanted reflection inside the gun barrel (like the Casino Royale version) the only way I knew this could be achieved would be with a 3D application.  I looked at Maya, 3DSMAX and eventually settled on Blender after watching a trailer for ‘Big Buck Bunny’.  Open Source or not, if people were able to create such high quality footage using Blender then it was good enough for me.  So I spent a few days learning Blender until I was comfortable enough to use it for what I wanted to achieve.  The gun barrel and blood sequence were all completed in 3D.

How was the brief work with Rich Douglas? He’s quite a well-known name in the Bond fan media world.

During the development stage I was using a clean version of the gun barrel from Die Another Day.  Although this worked, I was never really that keen on this version and had hoped to replace it with another at some point.  I went retro and tried some from the Connery and Moore era and although it worked it just didn’t feel right with Arnold’s score.  So I contacted a couple of people who I know had composed their own Bond music and asked if they had any gun barrel pieces I could use.  To my pleasant surprise, Rich Douglas went one better and composed a brand new piece just for my gun barrel sequence.  Not only is it unique but Rich really understands the style of the movie so it works perfectly with Arnold’s score.

What are some other bits of the film that you would like to “recut”?

There are three aspects of the movie I plan on changing.  Although I don’t have a big problem with it, the gun barrel at the end of the movie just seemed odd.  I felt the way it was incorporated into Casino Royale worked and after that we would go back to the traditional Bond of gun barrel at the start of the movie.  Therefore, I wanted to see how it looked so I created my own and added it to the start of Quantum of Solace.

The other two aspects are regarding the title sequence.  Firstly, I think the way it appeared in the film was weak and the titles themselves were not very interesting.

I plan on moving the title sequence to appear after Bond has shot Mitchell and then creating my own title sequence hopefully to compliment the main feature with symbolic images.

Will you be doing any Bond-related fan projects in the future?

There are a couple.  One project I started on was giving Never Say Never Again the EON vibe but for many reasons I never got to finish it.  Now that it is released on Blu-Ray I think I would like to re-visit this again.  One of the major problems I encountered last time was the ripped movie had a lot of gate weaving which meant when editing frame-by-frame not every frame matched the alignment of the previous one.  Since this movie has been re-mastered on Blu-Ray and is effectively a digital print all those previous problems will have gone.

The second project is a tribute to the work of John Barry and is a mash-up sound track of his Bond work.  All I need to do is edit in the visuals.

Click below to view Juzza’s first “Quantum of Solace” RECUT installment:

JUZZAMEISTER.CO.UK ::: “Quantum of Solace” Gunbarrel – RECUT

Special thanks to “Juzza” for taking the time to answering my quesitons. I look forward to seeing more of his Bond-related work.