The Martian – Cinefex 144 Extract

by Graham Edwards

The Martian - Cinefex 144 Extract

What’s the best way to celebrate the launch of Cinefex 144? A sneak preview of all the articles it contains, of course. First up is An Abundant Solitude, in which Jody Duncan travels through space to report on Ridley Scott’s hit science fiction film The Martian.

Under the guidance of production visual effects supervisor Richard Stammers and visual effects producer Barrie Hemsley, the film’s 1,100 VFX shots were divided neatly between Framestore, MPC and The Senate, with special effects supervisor Steven Warner and his team adding their practical skills to the mix.

In this exclusive extract, MPC visual effects supervisor Anders Langlands describes the subtle ways in which colour was used to transform locations at Wadi Rum, Jordan, into the film’s spectacular Martian landscapes:

MPC removed the foliage in the photography by either painting it out, or adding CG rocks over the top. MPC also replaced the bright blue skies in the Wadi Rum plates with more alien-looking, amber-colored skies. In preproduction, Lev Kolobov, working closely with Richard Stammers, created a series of color grading temps that would give the skies their warm hue.

“Richard was very keen to avoid its looking like we just put a tobacco filter onto the lens when we shot it,” commented Anders Langlands. “He didn’t want it to end up looking like sepia film or something like that. Also, it wasn’t just a matter of keying off the original blue sky or roto-ing it off, because, obviously, all of that skylight illumination fell onto the ground and rocks, as well. We found that if we took out too much blue from everything, we killed all of the nice color variation in the landscape.

“So Lev came up with this nifty little series of grades that enabled us to replace the sky with whatever color or series of colors that we wanted, and still preserve all of that natural color variation in the landscape – which is what made those plates look so gorgeous in the first place. We ended up with skies that had a coppery feel, with some green tones going off to deeper, orangey-brown tones. Often, we exaggerated the natural gradients in the sky to create a more dramatic effect.”

Read the complete article in Cinefex 144, which also features Everest, In the Heart of the Sea and Crimson Peak.

All content copyright © 2015 Cinefex LLC. All rights reserved.