Los Angeles Times



To help achieve the most organic version of “All Quiet on the Western Front” possible, visual effects supervisor Frank Petzold got down in the trenches. He was on set to experience the sights, sounds, feels and smells of those brutal battles.

“All the snow, the freezing, the being in water knee-high; we were there too. You’re part of the filmmaking process rather than being presented with a plate at the beginning of postproduc­tion. You throw ideas around. You’re attaching your heart and your soul to every effects shot.

“I like to improvise. We did 3-D scans of the whole battlefiel­d and everything. But on set, ‘You guys are doing dialogue; let me grab a few cameras, grab some stunt guys and ... blow up some stuff with the [practical effects] guys.”

What most viewers will likely come away with from the movie is the visceral insanity of the battle scenes.

“I shot stuff with six different cameras: a lot of soldiers running — different camera speeds, just collecting elements. On another project, you’d go, ‘Let’s simulate this in the computer.’ I didn’t want that. We added fog, the airplanes we didn’t have. We had one tank that could go a few yards. At some point you have to get out the hot-glue gun and do stuff.”

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