If you liked Crank: High Voltage, the frenetic tour de force of directors Mark Neveldine and Brian Taylor
, you’re sure to like their latest action film: Gamer, the Lionsgate film that opens on Sept. 4. Set in a futuristic realm of massive multi-player online gaming, Gamer is about a wrongly convicted, death-row inmate (played by Gerard Butler) is playing for his life in one of the games, but is actually being controlled by a 15-year-old boy. In this futuristic game, death row inmates are “played” by rock-star
gamers, controlled by a chip in the head.
contributed 100 effects shots to the film via editor Doobie White, a partner in the four-year-old, West L.A.-based post production facility. Doobie previously worked with Neveldine and Taylor on Crank
, cutting action sequences. On Gamer
, the directors depended on White to put together the film’s online gaming footage. Using the Avid, White created stylized sequences featuring digital â€œglitchesâ€ and discordant sound effects. The directors liked the result so much that Therapy was tasked with re-creating the effects from scratch in 2K resolution in its After Effects and Quantel iQ/eQ systems.
The trials and tribulations of editing Gamer
impressed writer Tad Friend enough to include it in a story for The New Yorker
. After seeing a successful screening of the movie to an audience of gamers, Friend, accompanied by Lionsgate co-president of studio marketing Tim Palen, runs into director Taylor into the hallway who enthuses over the amount of “candy” available to create the trailer. He talks up Doobie White: “This guy named Doobie cut together the battles and the battle-in-the-rave sequence,” says Taylor in the story. “And he’s like scary–sick fast, cuts it in two days with
sound design. Like he’s just off
!” And Taylor suggests that, given these amazing skills, White cut the trailer.
How does White respond to being immortalized in a New Yorker
story? “It was pretty cool,” he admits. “Friends of mine called me up and said, is that you in the New Yorker?”
But White’s head is in the cut. “Believe it or not, you can have the coolest footage and it’ll still come out looking unexciting,” he
says.Â “You put the wrong track, you just focus on guns flying over and even though there are fights and explosions, it can just look like noise.” For Gamer
, White showed off his rather unique way of handling the challenges posed by the film’s action sequences.
“First, I came up with a concept that we’ll see glitches that happen between the gamer and the screen,” he says. “I created a lot of elements in After Effects and Photoshop. We built things like the computer screen crumbling apart, scan lines and elements like still photos, Flash pieces and so on. Then I pulled these elements into the Avid Adrenaline and manipulated them further, and integrated them into the cut..” Creating effects in the Avid isn’t the only unusual trick that White performs for the sequences he cuts.
He also creates sound design for the action sequences. “Sound design is a major factor,” he says. “For me to see and visualize this, I have to do sound. If they want to scrap it at the end, fine. But it sets the pace for me and helps with the edit.” Like the VFX, White creates the sound design from a pastiche of sounds he’s created and stockpiled over the years, new pieces played on the keyboard, another collection of elements and also sound libraries.
And the directors liked what they saw…and heard. White got pulled into the final mix for the action sequences he sound-designed. And his Avid-created effects also made the cut.
White’s recent credits include the 2009 Tribeca Film Festival documentary selection Transcendant Man
, a biopic about the life and ideas of futurist Ray Kurzweil that Therapy produced in conjunction with Ptolemaic Productions. (Whiteâ€™s trailer for the film also snagged a Bronze Telly award.) He edited the ZeroMeth campaign, the 2008 AICE Award winner in the PSA category. His other credits include videos for Gnarls Barkley, Eminem, Chevelle and Jennifer Lopez and spots for Mazda, Mercedes, and the games Call of Duty
and Shadow Ops
, among others.