David Lowery’s “A Ghost Story” has done well in it’s limited release this past month, and he recently spoke with Adobe after a screening of the film about his Adobe exclusive workflow.
**Warning** This interview contains spoilers for the film
A Ghost Story features a character, who recently died, in the iconic ghost costume, a white sheet. However, the directorial decisions Lowery made — and the compositing and editing tools he used — gives the ghost much more depth of character than you’d see with neighborhood trick-or-treaters.
“I just had this idea of a ghost movie in which the ghost is a guy in a bed sheet with two eyes cut out, and I just love the idea of taking that iconography and that image and playing it incredibly straight and incredibly seriously,” Lowery says. “It’s breaking from the norm in terms of how we tell a story and the tools we use to tell it.”
A Ghost Story is enjoying great reviews from critics since its limited theater release July 7. It’s the first film Lowery created using only Adobe Creative Cloud tools. He leaned on products like Premiere Pro, Lumetri, and After Effects to push the boundaries of his storytelling and to produce a film that critics have called brilliant, profound, and “piercingly emotional.”
Bringing A Ghost Story to Life
A Ghost Story tells the story of a man who dies in a car crash (Casey Affleck) and returns to his house as a ghost. He watches his wife (Rooney Mara) and all the people who inhabit the home over time. Over the course of the film the ghost learns to open doors at night, gently comforts his grieving wife, and even shoves books off bookshelves when she shares a kiss with a would-be suitor. And Lowery doesn’t stick to the typical paranormal movie conventions — A Ghost Story is no horror flick. The film is quiet, contemplative, and at times bleakly funny and unexpected.
Because the film’s ghost looks like something you’d see on Halloween, he is more human than he is haunting. To overcome the naturally absurd depiction of a man wearing a bed sheet over his head Lowery shot the two main characters at different frame rates. The living person was filmed at a normal rate, and the ghost was filmed in slow motion — 33 frames per second. Lowery then did basic compositing of the two takes of the same scene so the ghost had an other-worldly manner. Nearly every shot that features the ghost is a split screen, in which at least two images are simultaneously displayed.
For more on Lowery’s use of Adobe’s Creative Cloud Tools, visit Blogs.Adobe.com/CreativeCloud/Using-The-Art-of-Film-To-Tell-A-Ghost-Story