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The way you hear filmmakers talk about CGI these days, you could have sworn it was a failed experiment and not the cutting edge tool that everyone and their mother used for a good decade since its salad days. With the backlash continuing to grow, a good amount of directors are reverting back to the days of practical effects, and one such person is Ghostbusters director Paul Feig. His reasoning? Because it's funnier.
Feig was recently invited by Empire Online to conduct one of their trailer breakdowns, and out of all of the gems in Paul Feig's Ghostbusters commentary, the best was his discussion of the library scene. In particular, he discussed how the overall effect was created, and the description below is rather novel:
[W]e have this new system we use with LED lights, and we put the actor in full costume and make-up and they’re covered with these LED lights that throw light interaction onto the actors and the environment. Then we’re just augmenting with CG to make it a little more spectral. I think some people were accusing it of being full CG. It’s not. I’ve got comedic actors who shine when they’re interacting with actual people. I don’t want them acting with tennis balls. Tennis balls are rarely funny.
Considering that Ghostbusters is Paul Feig's first film dealing with the fantastical elements of the supernatural, he wouldn't be blamed for using a typical CGI setup to complete his vision. After all, it would probably help with budgetary concerns, as well as give Feig a better outlook into framing certain shots and effects. But like a true champion, as well as a director who understands actors and how they work, Paul Feig eschewed turning his comedic reboot into something George Lucas could have whipped up in his Star Wars: Episode I days, and gave his actors real elements to work with.
Saying that Feig's reinvention of the legendary sci-fi/horror/comedy has come under heavy fire would be the understatement of the year. With Ghostbusters taking heat for a lot of the different approaches it's taking towards its source material, Paul Feig's dedication to keeping the performances and the effects in a more managable realm speaks volumes to what the Spy director has actually been doing. Rather than try to simply wow the crowd with a film that looks good, Feig has laid down the framework for a film that boasts both convincing effects and believable performances. Even if you're a cynic and a half, you have to respect the fact that Paul Feig is a fan, and he's walked a thin line between homage and innovation.
Ghostbusters will haunt audiences in theaters everywhere on July 15th.