Film and digital are completely different things.

Interviewer

Is there a reason why the plan of renting a room at some other studio and making it there didn't work out?

Anno

There weren't many studios that were willing to take on "Evangelion". Many of them in the industry took it more nervous anime work to take on than I had expected. They didn't like it 10 years ago, but that hadn't changed much. Ohtsuki helped us out a lot, and we had several candidates for studios, but none of them came together for various reasons. Well, that's okay, I thought. I went to Nishi-Shinjuku to work on the plot of the entire quadrilogy and the scenario for the first film.

Interviewer

You've changed your plan from that to establishing a studio, why is that?

Anno

That's because Munenori Ogasawara joined us, saying that he wanted to work on Evangelion. We were able to get him as a line producer, so the way we made it, or the methodology, was completely different from what I had in mind. So things changed a lot from there. Ogasawara was an ambitious man, so he said, "We don't want to rent a room at some studio, we want to build a studio and do it ourselves. So, can we look for real estate?"

Interviewer

How did you feel at that time?

Anno

I thought, "A studio, huh. Well, if that's the way it's going to be, then that' s fine too." I decided to leave the big picture to others. When we looked for a place, we happened to find a good, reasonable property along the Chuo Line, so we decided to use that as our studio. After that, the scale of the studio just grew and grew.

The director and main staff members had been decided to some extent around last summer, but how we would make the film was yet to be decided. Even at the stage when the script was done, I still had the re-editing plan in mind, so I was trying to find a way to make it clearer by digitally processing the old film. We did a few film tests at Imagica (note1).

Note1) A Japanese post-production company for films, television programmes and commercials, etc.

Interviewer

I heard that you also experimented at T2 Studio.

Anno

Yes, I took the original pictures from the old TV version and made them into a movie, and then had them shot digitally as a temporary new part. The previous TV version was on 16mm film, so I made various digital changes and converted it to 35mm on film. It was not an optical blow-up, but a digital blow-up (Note 2). So, after going through Cue Tech (Note 3) from T2, I had some film test patterns made using the latest technology from Imagica. However, when I saw it in the preview, it was so bad.

Note2) To make a film for TV animation into a film size for movies.

Note3) A Japanese post-production company that handles VTR editing of recordings, offline editing, non-linear editing, MA, and authoring of Blu-ray Discs, etc.

Interviewer

What was the problem?

Anno

"Film and digital are completely different things," the video engineer told me. "It is impossible to convert the particles of optical film into data and replace them with electrical signals." I certainly agree. As a comparison, I asked them to show the same original cut filmed digitally alternately. Every part of the image looked inferior to the digitally shot image. The difference in texture and resolution was also a problem, and the roughness of the grain in 35mm was terrible, and the reproduction rate of colors, etc. was not good. Since we originally shot cels images, it was also a problem that the blow-up caused the line drawings to stand out. I did a test screening of a digital shot that had been processed to add noise to match the film scanning screen and HD telecine screen. However, that didn't make the fine new digital screen look clean. I felt that the screen resolution of the TV version was already too old after twelve years. We thought it would be impossible to mix a full new screen with it.

After the test screening, the entire staff was very disappointed. It was just too embarrassing to show this to the audience. I don't think we can get 1,800 yen for this. Addo to it, we found out that the cost performance would be too poor when we asked them to estimate how much it would cost if we had to scan the film or use HD telecine. Fortunately, there were still some of the original drawings left, so after considering the performance of the screen, I concluded that it would be inexpensive to digitally recreate everything from the original drawings into a new work.

Interviewer

By screen performance, you mean the way it can be processed later.

Anno

Yes. We took into account the clarity of the screen and economic reasons. So we decided to reshoot everything digitally and start over.

Interviewer

Even if the original version of the TV animation had been 35mm instead of 16mm, does that mean it would have been no good?

Anno

With 35mm, I think the more particles there are, the more data will be familiar, but I don't think the unique texture of the cels and the digital texture of the new film will match at all, so I probably would have stopped.

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