Review By Jesus Figueroa

The Blu-ray release of THE AMAZING SPIDER-MAN along with its 2nd Screen app were key topics of the afternoon at the Hyatt Central Plaza Hotel on Friday November 1st. Director Marc Webb, Sr. Visual Effects Supervisor Jerome Chen, Additional Animation Supervisor David Schaub, and 3D Visual Effects Supervisor Rob Engle sat down for a quick press conference for the film.

The intimate setting for the press conference was a small office, about 20 seats for press and the four seats behind a table for the four guests. Webb, Cheng, Schaub, and Engle became a very great team when it came to the special effects and 3D animation for THE AMAZING SPIDER-MAN. Communication was key and early on they had to begin trusting each other and sharing their vision for the project. “My job is to get all the images that are in his (Webb) head, suck it out of there, and put it on the screen. And do it all within budget,” says Chen.

It’s not easy, but the at-ease attitude that came across from their joking around and making fun of each other showed a good relationship between them.

“There’s an incredible array of talent. Rob did these great 3D parts, which is incredibly complex and nuance task, you know, to create a stereo world that felt authentic, legitimate, and real,” says Webb about the new way they were able to use 3D effects.

Schaub helped create the way the characters move. Making the movement more life-like was a daunting task with every little movement and every wrinkle of the suit. Pointing out that rendering these effects can take about 3 days a frame or something extreme like that, the group expressed the importance of knowing the script and committing to choices that are made to not waste time. Developing the characters early on so audiences get a chance to connect is very important to Webb. Then the action sequences will come and everything falls together.

“I don’t want people thinking about the 3D. I want it to enhance the feeling and if it becomes to ‘in your face’ it pulls you out of the story. It becomes a gimmick,” says Webb.

When asked about favorite villains the group responded that after working for a year and a half the lizard had become one of their favorites. Webb took a different approach and mentioned liking Electro. Jaime Foxx posted a tweet on Halloween about being dressed as Electro. When asked about Jaime Foxx being in THE AMAZING SPIDER-MAN sequel Webb said, “Jaime Foxx is electrifying,” teasing the reporters without really answering the question. “I’m sure Sony will announce the cast soon,” Webb quickly cleared up.

There are many parts of a movie that Webb shoots, sees, and makes the choice to leave it on the cutting room floor, or put it as a deleted scene in the special features. The bonus content of a DVD or Blu-Ray is important to Webb, “Much of the language I use directing a film I got from watching commentary,” says Webb. There is much to be learned from the extra features on a DVD. “It’s incredible that people like James Cameron and Peter Jackson are experimenting and pushing things forward and I think it should be encouraged,” says Webb.

The press had the privilege to have a green room which housed a presentation set up by Joe Burke, one of the creators of the 2nd Screen app. I asked for a quick demonstration. “Our Blu-ray that’s coming out has 3 hours of special features. We have even more than that. So we had to ask ourselves what’s the best way to deliver this to people,” says Joe Burke about THE AMAZING SPIDER-MAN Second Screen App which resulted from asking that question. Pulling up this beautifully user friendly app he ran through a quick demonstration of what could be seen without syncing with the Blu-Ray. Set to put production notes, storyboards, and hours after hours of special features at your finger tips. From watching the movie on your screen to being able sink and move your content from your iPad or Android tablet to the main screen. The app allows you to control the image on the screen and look at extra content along with the film while in sync or separate when you break sync. The app is free and currently available in the iTunes App Store for the iPad family only. Also available for the Android tablet market.

(Full Review of both Amazing Spider-man and 2nd Screen App coming soon.)