Feb 23, 2021
16 mins read
Hideaki Anno says, "The last episode of the Lupin TV version looked like a live action movie. " Talking about the concept of "amount of information" in anime.
#NicoNico Super Conference 2015
NicoNico Ultra Conference 2015 (April 01, 2015 - April 26, 2015)
This is a full transcript of a conversation between Dwango's Takao Kawakami and Evangelion director Hideaki Anno, which took place at the Super Discourse Area of the Nico Nico Ultra Conference on April 25, 2015. Anno recalled that when he watched the final episode of the TV version of Lupin the Third by Hayao Miyazaki in real time, "it looked like a live action movie" due to the realism of the background. He talks about the "amount of information" in animation.
Nobuo Kawakami, Chairman and CEO, KADOKAWA and DWANGO Inc.
Ryusuke Hikawa, Animation researcher
Hideaki Anno, President, Khara, inc.
Previous Article (2/4)
The characteristics of Ghibli animation in terms of "amount of information".
Hikawa: From your point of view, how does Studio Ghibli compare to Studio Color in terms of the amount of information?
Anno: Miyazaki-san doesn't put much effort into compositing, does he?
Hikawa: Oh, he does everything by drawing and layout already?
Anno: He's trying to recreate the film era in digital form. It's hard to go further than that, but I want to go further than that. Since it's digital, I want to do something that can only be done digitally.
Hikawa: It's true that in "The Wind Rises", there was almost no filming process, and from the beginning to the end, people kept telling us that if the backgrounds and the drawings were done properly, we wouldn't be able to take our eyes off the film, and we, the viewers, were like, "Wow, you're totally right.
Anno: I think that's fine. In the case of Ponyo, he cut back on a lot of things, didn't he?
Hikawa: We used all cells for that one too.
Anno: Ponyo was aimed at children, so I think they decided that it would be too difficult to use too much information, so they reduced the amount of information. There were very few lines. Even so, the cars and other objects were well drawn. Mr. Miyazaki has always been very good at using different techniques like that.
It's amazing to see drawings of Gigant and drawings of Conan, both of which are just outlines with no shadows.
Hikawa: It's not simply a matter of quantity, but rather a matter of contrast.
The final episode of the TV version of Lupin "looked like a live action movie."
Anno: It was the TV version of Lupin that he started systematically drawing in.
Hikawa: The last episode?
Anno: I think Miyazaki-san started a lot of things with that episode. He made the background more realistic.
Hikawa: That's one piece of information, that the place looks like the actual Shinjuku.
Anno: When I saw it on TV in real time, the monitor was accurate, but when I looked at it, it looked like a real picture. I thought, "This is amazing. That battle scene in Shinjuku was really well drawn.".
Kawakami: I've heard about controlling the amount of information like that in the world of animation, but is there any such concept in live-action?
Anno: There are people who do that in live-action, but it depends on the person. But in the case of live-action, the good thing about live-action is that it cuts out what's actually there, so the amount of information is controlled according to the camera frame, whether it's a subtraction, middle picture, bust shot, or close-up.
Kawakami: So there aren't many ways to control it in live-action?
Anno: That's right. The size of the picture and the length of the film. These are the good thing about video is that you can control the time. That's what I like about it. Especially with animation, you can even control the time. You can control the timing yourself. With live-action, it's hard to go that far. I've tried to make it look like animation by removing the inside of the frames, but it doesn't work as well as animation.
The good thing about animation is that you can freely change the time.
Why does Anno shoot live-action films?
Kawakami: But when you talk about the amount of information like that, it sounds like it would be better to do everything in animation.
Anno: If I control everything, I can't come up with anything beyond what I'm thinking. That's why I tend to come up with more than what I have in mind when I do live-action. It's in live-action that the unexpected comes out.
Kawakami: Does it widen your range?
Anno: It also widens the range. There are good points and bad points. It's interesting to do both.
Hikawa: To use a metaphor, live-action is like hunting, where you have to take a gun and collect your prey, or set traps and collect materials, and then process what you've collected.
Kawakami: It's called "location hunting" and it's all about hunting, isn't it?
Anno: Kurosawa would wait for a week for good skies. He would say, "The skies aren't good today either," and leave it at that until his prey arrived. I'm sure there are people who are particular about such things in live-action as well.
Kawakami: In order to control the amount of information, in the case of live-action, you wait for your prey to arrive.
Anno: You wait and create.
Hikawa: But nowadays, with CGI, that's becoming more and more delicate.
Anno: Well, that's not a good thing. They put off everything until later and say, "CG will do the rest.". Even if there's a problem on the spot, they say, "Let the CGI take care of it.". More and more work is being concentrated on the post-production side.
Hikawa: There are some things that can't be put in the same category as the live-action films of the past.
Anno: It's like animation. That's what Oshii-san was talking about before. "All movies are going to be anime." That's true.
Overseas cinematography is dominated by acting with CGI partners.
Kawakami: I once went to visit a movie set over there (overseas), and I was really disappointed at how crappy it was. I was very disappointed to see how crappy the place was before it became a movie.
Anno: That's the way it is now. Everyone does it in front of a green or blue background. It's almost like that now.
Kawakami: It looks like they're having a school arts festival. It's like, how can this be a Hollywood movie?
Hikawa: Some of the actors would say, "I can't act in green" and leave.
Anno: Well, I understand the feeling. Nowadays, that's the mainstream.
Hikawa: On the other hand, if you can't do that, you can't act.
Kawakami: In reality, you are fighting without an opponent, right?
Anno: Yes, that's what happens when the opponent is CGI. It must be tough for the actors.
Kawakami: It's tough, isn't it? For the actors, you don't know if it's really okay until it's done.
Anno: That's true nowadays. I don't think the filmmakers know what the screen will look like until it goes through compositing. The only people who have a complete picture are the people in the compositing department or the director. The only people who can visualize the finished image are the people in the compositing department or the director.
Kawakami: So the cameraman doesn't have an image of the film anymore, he's just creating the material.
Anno: That's right.When live-action CGI is added, it becomes a material shoot.
Kawakami: So the person who does the final compositing is doing something similar to the director?
Anno: He's more like a cinematographer. Everything is decided by compositing. Nowadays. The colors can be changed, and even the lighting can be changed in extreme cases. You can really change color contacts and other things at the compositing stage. On the other hand, I don't think we can spend that much money in the field anymore, so we just make do with what we have.
Kawakami: Compositing and shooting are the same thing.
Anno: In the case of animation, the trend is the same, so we call compositing "shooting".
Kawakami: In animation, everyone says "shooting" and "by shooting," but It's like, what is shooting? I mean, isn't it just capturing the cels?
Anno: Well, there are no cels. I think that's already an industry term.
Hikawa: You mean compositing, right? There's a stage where the materials are combined into one final piece, but that's practically the biggest part of the production in anime, isn't it?
Anno: Nowadays, the compositor is the hardest part.
Mr. Kawakami: Anno's storyboards are easy to understand.
Hikawa: I think you saw the work of two masters at Ghibli, Mr. Miyazaki and Mr. Takahata. What do you think are the differences between them?
Kawakami: Differences? I haven't seen that much of the work. I don't know much about the work itself, like the way it's drawn. It's very difficult to understand the storyboard and how and where in the storyboard they are drawing the pictures.
Hikawa: But you said that Anno's storyboards were easy to understand.
Kawakami: It was easy to understand. You know, I could understand the flow of the story by looking at the written words, so it was easy to understand.
Anno: If you put too much of that in the storyboard, the story will be more interesting. To make it more interesting than the storyboard, it's better if the storyboard is boring to some extent. But the animators need to be motivated. The most important part of the storyboard is to motivate the staff.
It should be a minimum blueprint while motivating the staff, such as, "This is interesting," or "This will be more interesting if it's done this way.".
Kawakami: So you make the storyboards interesting in order to motivate the staff?
Anno: Yes, that's right. I deliberately don't draw much, for example.
Kawakami: That's right. Anno's storyboards are very vague. He wrote things like, "Make it look cool". Like, "Make it look cool. There are some things that are very vague, aren't there?
Anno: Yes. If there's an animator who can handle it, I'll do it. If it's been decided that this person will do it, then it's basically better to leave it to the animators. It's all about control. As I'm sure Miya-san (Hayao Miyazaki) is doing, the skills of animators differ greatly, so the only thing I can do is to say, "If this person comes, I'll make this kind of cut, and if no one else is good enough to do it, I'll make a picture that doesn't rely on the animator.".
Live action is for actors, animation is for animators.
Kawakami: In other words, it's like a cut where even if you're not very good at it, you can still get most of the results?
Anno: No, I mean to make the work interesting even if the pictures are out of control. It's the same when I cut back and forth from a stop motion picture. There are many ways to make things more interesting. For example, if the movement of the Eva here is great, then I'll just use this part of the stop motion picture instead of the interesting movement of the Eva there. The interesting part of the stop motion picture. I think that's the part of animation where you have the most freedom.
Hikawa: It's like asking an actor to play a role. Is it similar to that?
Anno: If this actor is going to play the main role, then we'll make a movie like this. That's what it's all about, isn't it? The animators are the actors, aren't they?
Hikawa: Both cameraman and actor.
Anno: That's right.In the case of hand-drawn animation, the animators are still doing the main parts. They have the most important part.
Kawakami: In the case of live-action films, they become actors, don't they?
Anno: Both actors and cameramen. The director has to be able to motivate the crew.
Kawakami: So, in the case of live-action films, the director needs to know how the actors are going to perform in order to be able to do the actual work.
Anno: There are directors like that, and there are also those who just leave it up to others to make the film. Some people say, "Well, maybe if you make this part a little more interesting," while others tell you to follow his image exactly. It all depends on the director. In film, the director is the only person who doesn't have to do anything.
Kawakami: That's right. That's what Mr. Suzuki (of Ghibli) said, too.
Anno: Directing video really doesn't require you to do anything.
Anno: A visual director really doesn't have to do anything. On the contrary, you can go as far as you want. As long as you have a camera and a director, all you need is a subject, and you can make a video work.
Hikawa: There are films like that, aren't there? Like when the director disappears in the middle of a film.
Anno: Somehow, even if the director disappears, the film can still be made. The director's job is just to take responsibility. That's what it is in the extreme. When someone asks, "What do you think, director?" you just say, "OK," or "Let's do it again.". "Theoretically, anyone can be a director as long as he or she remembers these two phrases.
Kawakami: It's like being a conductor at a concert.
Anno: It may be similar to being a conductor, but I don't know much about the work of a conductor, so I can't really compare the two, but I think it's easier to be a film director. If you take it to the extreme, anyone can do it.
Kawakami: I see. But you have to manage the whole process.
Anno: That's done by the producer.
Kawakami: Is that the producer's job?
Anno: A director really doesn't have to do anything. I've seen many directors like that. It's a bit of a misnomer to say that there are many.
Kawakami: I also learned that a producer doesn't have to do anything to be a producer. Producers may be similar to directors.
Anno: But in that case, you have to get the money, right?
Kawakami: If you have money, you can become a producer.
Anno: Directors don't have to get money either. There's even less work.
Hand-drawn animation ends when the staff runs away.
Hikawa: Also, Mr. Kawakami, you have done CGI animation, "Ronia, the Robber's Daughter". I'd like to ask you about the amount of information related to it. Did you feel the amount of information when you worked on Ronia compared to the hand-drawn animation?
Kawakami: Yes, I did. It seems that computer lines have less information for humans. They're so accurate that even if the number of lines is the same, the picture will look flat and boring. Goro (Miyazaki) did a lot of work on how to increase the amount of information to cover that up.
Hikawa: The accuracy of CGI has been talked about several times, and Space Battleship Yamato would be amazing if it were drawn, but when the same thing is done with CGI, it somehow looks less powerful.
Anno: Nowadays, there is software that makes the lines look hand-drawn. There is a movement to make up for the weaknesses of CGI, but there are still areas where hand-drawing is superior.
Kawakami: I was thinking that CGI is more like a factory. With hand-drawn work, if you work hard, you can make it. But with CGI, I had to work on the schedule many times, and I really felt that if I couldn't do this, I wouldn't be able to make an animation.
Anno: Oh, I think it's the other way around. CGI fills in the picture, so I think I can manage. With hand-drawn work, if the animators run away, that's the end of it.
Kawakami: But that's exactly what I thought this time too. When I was making Ronja, some of the technical staff almost ran away, and I felt like there was nothing I could do.The number of pictures that can be drawn is proportional to the number of art staff and their time. It was already proven that we couldn't do that no matter what we thought.
Anno: Hand-drawn work requires more manpower. I think the rate of blank spaces is higher with hand-drawing, but in the end it takes a lot of people to fill them in. It's a process of filling in the picture and then maintaining the quality.
It's really hard to make something. It's even harder when you want to do it right. It's a lot of work just to make something, but when you have to make it right, it's really hard.
Hikawa: What you just said reminded me of something. When I asked Anno-san about Eva before, I asked him what he would do if the finished product wasn't exactly what he expected (because of time constraints). As mentioned in the "Secrets of Content" section, if it's not finished properly, you reduce the amount of information. Can you explain that in detail?
Anno: What did say about it?
Hikawa: If it wasn't drawn well, you'd cut out the animation.
Anno: Yeah, I'd make a stop motion picture. In this case, I'd just do my best on the first stop picture and manage the rest.
Hikawa: It's like erasing the information about movement.
Anno: I also redraw the story from the storyboard, like in the case of Nadia episode 34. When there's nothing I can do. I'd redraw a storyboard that could be done in two weeks.
Kawakami: So it's faster that way.
Anno: The quality is better that way. It was really hard for me to have it aired, so I decided to redraw the storyboard and make it a little more decent. Well, that's how it goes.
<Original JP site: https://logmi.jp/business/articles/53932>