Wednesday, August 17

Sitcom Sorcery: How ‘WandaVision’ Images Are Created

Warning: Marvel spoilers follow. Wanda Vision through the show’s seventh episode…

As one of Marvel’s most ambitious projects to date, Wanda Vision acts as a visually dynamic magical mystery that unfolds across multiple episodes and numerous eras of American television. As Wanda Maximoff deals with her post-End of the game Grief within the confines of a small New Jersey town that has been cast under a spell into a sitcom, the series takes us on a journey through several decades of classic television sitcoms.

From El show de Dick Van Dyke to the Bradys to more Modern fake documentaries, Wanda VisionThe settings, aspect ratios, and tone shift and deviate with each episode, all while the normal MCU takes place just outside the city limits. It’s an incredible amount of vibes and subjects to juggle and that task fell into the able hands of cinematographer Jess Hall (hot fluff) and production designer Mark Worthington (american horror story).

Juice Mobile had the opportunity to speak with Hall and Worthington about some of the challenges involved in recreating the homes of famous television families and evoking epic eras from screen history.

Also, what was it like weaving the song “Agatha All Along” into the ongoing production?

as one of the family

While fans noted that the first handful of Wanda Vision episodes seemed to channel the houses of El show de Dick Van Dyke, Haunted, the brady group, Y Family ties, the idea was not exactly to settle for a specific house or family.

“It wasn’t so much about copying or wanting to be absolutely recognizable,” Worthington said. “We wanted the style and tone to be, but the rest not to land in any specific place one way or another.”

“We weren’t aware of landing on one sitcom or another, in particular,” he added. “We looked more at the eras and found what a ’50s sitcom or a ’60s sitcom or a ’70s sitcom might express. And while there might be some recognizable pieces in there, it wasn’t about of that. Because, as you’ll also notice, they’re also actually a radical departure from anything that’s ever been done.”

“This is our sitcom,” he explained. “This is the Wanda Vision sitcom. If we had copied a certain sitcom, it would be a distraction. Because you would spend all your time thinking ‘Well, that’s not right’. Or ‘Hey, that detail is different from what I expected.’”

“You can watch the story unfold and not worry about whether or not that thing about the fireplace is accurate.”

“It was unusual,” noted Jess Hall, about being very focused on sitcoms for the first few episodes. “In a sense, you are a bit restrained. You are working with a cinematographic vocabulary that is very specific. Our director, Matt Shakman, was a child actor on sitcoms, so he already understands the sitcom universe and was a great guide. But for me, I really had to respect the camera style of that period. I definitely had to work within a limited range. But then when you’re limited, you have more time to focus on the details and that’s what gets really interesting. The level of detail that we went into in terms of creating the lighting of that period, creating the softness of the image with custom lenses, and using the color cues to control the look of the image became a big part of it. ”.

The frame game

Wanda Vision is unique in that it not only transports viewers back to bygone eras of television, its early episodes also especially featured the original aspect ratios and framing of those times. “There was constant mental activity there,” Hall said.

“Aspect ratio-wise, it was great to start at 4:3. There was a lot of discussion about how the audience would feel about 4:3 and whether they would find it weird or off-putting, so I was really glad we stuck with it because it’s really authentic and it really worked.”

“We had to be very cognizant of when we were going to go from 4:3 to 2.39 (widescreen) because that required some awareness of aspect ratio composition and how we were going to handle that. But it was really used at these key dramatic points, as a dramatic tool.”

In addition to the changing frames of the Hex world, Hall always wanted to make sure the audience knew when they were in Hex and when they were out of it in the “real” world of the MCU, which is why even as the most recent episodes already they weren’t using 4:3 footage for the sitcom scenes, they still didn’t look exactly like what we see SWORD experience outside. “All external MCU footage is shot in 1.3x anamorphic,” Hall explained. “It’s not just the aspect ratio, it’s also the format. The anamorphic lenses we use were built to endless war Y End of the game, specifically. And they have a different perspective than spherical lenses.”

“So subtly, you’re signaling to the audience. You’re encoding that image with a familiar MCU element that they’ve seen in a previous movie, but also a slightly different interpretation of three-dimensional space and perspective than you see in spherical work.”

“You also have the different color palettes,” Hall continued, “and I was always trying to play with the contrast there. Like in the warmth of Episode 3 and the first time we see Monica being cast out of the hex and going into this kind of cool, cyan blue/green world of practical lighting from a disaster military base.”

“Black and white was another challenge,” Worthington commented, of the first two episodes, “You don’t paint a set in black and white when you shoot in black and white. Has colors. And different colors react differently on value scales once shot in black and white. So we did a lot of testing of different colors and ranges of values. Only days of that. Because it is an art form. Those technicians and cinematographers and production designers who worked in the black-and-white era of film and television understood it like the back of their hand. We had to learn that.”

Agatha (Filmed) All the time

Episode 7 culminated in a major villain reveal when Wanda and viewers learned that Kathryn Hahn’s sidekick, Agnes, was actually Marvel’s witch Agatha Harkness. What followed was a mock opening credits sequence, complete with an earworm bop, for “Agatha All Along”: a show within a show (within a show) demonstrating how Agatha had been manipulating events in each of the episodes. the previous episodes.

Which meant the sequence had to be shot bit by bit throughout the season.

“We were in those scenes, in other episodes, and then we had to say ‘Okay, we’re ready for the Episode 7 part,'” Hall said, adding, “And those moments were set up as one take.” . They’re all as one, basically, whether it’s her going down and landing and transforming and then turning around or the other parts. So we always had a slightly different vocabulary for that.”

“It was often more complicated camera movements than what we would use in the episode. So we’d be like, ‘Okay, bring up the technocrane. Now we have to make the moment of transition. It was fun. And Kathryn Hahn is a great actress who brought something new and great to each of those moments.”

Wanda Vision premieres new episodes every Friday on Disney+.

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