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"The Ballad of Narayama" is a Japanese film of great beauty and elegant artifice, telling a story of startling cruelty. What a space it opens…

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In the Cut: Salt action previsualization

Thanks to Joshua Frankel, who worked closely with director Phillip Noyce and stunt coordinator/director Vic Armstrong on the animated storyboards for the sequence I examined in "In the Cut Part II: A Dash of Salt," for sending me his previsualization sequence, above. As he explains on his site:

created previsualization animation for several major sequences in Salt. The film was not based on a book or other pre-existing property and the director, Phillip Noyce, had a lot of freedom to craft the story. Phillip worked with our team in previs to experiment with story options and push every moment in the film to be as unexpected and exciting as possible....

What is previsualization animation?

We build scale versions of the characters and sets inside the computer and create virtual cameras with lenses that match exactly the lenses being used by the cinematographer. I then work with the director to block in the actions, design camera moves and cut together a rough edit. We are able to do quite a bit of experimentation before anyone walks on set. The previs becomes a foundation for the sequence that the director can then build upon throughout the rest of the filmmaking process.

Compare with the sequence in the finished film, below:

You'll notice a number of differences and similarities in the pre- and post-production versions. For one thing, the forking path of the tanker truck is much clearer in the previz, but there's more coverage in the finished film.

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