Interstellar – Cinefex 140 Extract

by Graham Edwards

"Interstellar - That Our Feet May Leave" by Jody Duncan - Cinefex 140

Issue 140 of Cinefex magazine contains in-depth articles on the visual effects of three of this year’s big movies, as well as a special Q&A with practical effects experts Tom Woodruff Jr. and Alec Gillis. Today and tomorrow, we’re giving you exclusive tasters from every article in the issue.

First up is Christopher Nolan’s epic space adventure Interstellar. The visual effects for this acclaimed film run the whole gamut, from New Deal Studios’ traditional minatures through to Double Negative dynamic space simulations – which were so sophisticated that visual effects supervisor Paul Franklin and scientific consultant Kip Thorne ended up presenting academic papers on what they’d learned while making the film to NASA’s Astrophysics Committee.

In this extract from Jody Duncan’s extensive article, That Our Feet May Leave, Nolan and Franklin discuss the methodology behind those all-important spacecraft shots:

The majority of shots of the spacecraft in space were realized with miniatures built and shot by New Deal Studios. Christopher Nolan is atypical among current directors of big-budget films in his preference for miniature photography, and nearly all of his films have featured miniature effects. “I believe that the audience has an absolute ability to discern animation from photography,” Nolan explained. “However sophisticated the animation, the audience eye can see the difference between something that is constructed from the animator’s mind and something that is real, that has light bouncing off of it and going through the lens of a real camera. There’s a wonderful quality to that.”

“Chris felt that this movie demanded the sort of tactile reality you get when you shoot a physical miniature, rather than attempting to do a ship entirely in CG,” added visual effects supervisor Paul Franklin. “We still created CG spacecraft for the atmospheric entry sequences and for a sequence where you see a spacecraft being swept up into a wave; but the bulk of our spacecraft shots in space were achieved with miniatures.”

Read the complete article in Cinefex 140, which also features The Zero Theorem, Exodus: Gods and Kings and a Q&A with Amalgamated Dynamics.

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