Colin Gibson

Colin Gibson

who you’re on a wavelength with. People who have saved your ass before and who you’re always happy to have taking your back. But I’m also happy to go out and find out what other talents the rest of the world has.

AS: How was the crew in China?
CG: They were great. People fly in and they get nervous and they want to bring ten or fifty of their closest personal friends. But I found I was more than happy to make ten or fifty new closest personal friends. And obviously the talents are there. There’s some fantastic moviemaking that happens in China. And even in countries like Namibia where there’s very little film making, that doesn’t mean that the talents aren’t there. That doesn’t mean that there’s not something that you can tap into. Drop me on a desert island and let’s see what we can make the coconuts do.

AS: How involved are you with the CG aspect?
CG: Well, we don’t have a choice anymore. We trumpeted loudly that we wanted Fury Road to be, if not the last of the great action films then the first of a new series of great action films. That we would try our best to avoid CG. But that didn’t mean we were turning our back on half the crayon box and not coloring things in the smartest way. Both David Nelson and Andrew Jackson, the VFX supervisor on Fury Road, have taught me much. Everything from how you can improve something with CG but not make it a CG thing, to how you can use CG to make something safer that might have been unsafe. How you can add another five cameras and use CG to get rid of the evidence but still have those cuts to use back in the editing.

You’d be insane to do without them unless you’re Georges Perec, who decided to write a novel without the letter “e”. You can always do that as an exercise in parameters, but CG is a fantastic tool. You just have to remember it’s only a tool. Why does a dog lick its balls? Because it can. There are a lot of things that we can do now but that doesn’t mean that we should. Because it will get tedious, hollow and empty. And if you can pull anything out of a hat nobody gasps anymore at that cute little rabbit.

AS: How closely do you work with the DP?
CG: A great DP, just like a great stunt driver or a great scenic, can make your work much better than you could ever imagine that it could have been. I’m always happy to work with a DP as much as humanly possible because they’re the ones who finally capture the magic. You give them all you can, and smile as they compose and color and riff on the same storyline your team (and the costume team, the actors, the writer and the director, et al) have been developing.

AS: Do you spend time on set as shooting goes on?
CG: I’ve worked with some fantastic designers in this country and a lot of them are like, We’ve made our sets, here’s the keys. We’ll be off on the next one, let us know how it goes. I tend to like being a part of the

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About the Interviewer

Tom Lisowski is a production designer who has designed swamp mazes shot in China, crumbling cliffs in Utah, future arenas in South Central, dilapidated tenements and twisted laboratories under luxurious mansions... William Anthony is a Los Angeles-based commercial and editorial photographer specializing in portraiture, lifestyle and documentary imagery... Guest photographer Nelson Cragg is an award-winning cinematographer who shoots and directs television, feature films, and commercial projects. Contact ArtStars: tom@artstars.us