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Gravity – a gold mine of VFX

Published on June 3, 2014, by in VFX.

Film makers have always strived to push the limits of creative possibilities. Alfonso Cuaron’s VFX wonder, Gravity emphasises not only the advancement of technology but also the extent of imagination that a film maker can bring alive on screen. Dominating the nominations at this year’s Oscars & winning the award in seven categories, Gravity became a landmark in VFX development & story telling.

Visualising the film

The concept for Gravity was a difficult but not impossible. Cuaron was sure of his story & worked as per his imagination to create a stunning output that impressed the audience & the critics.

Framestore

Visual Effects Studio Framestore was the team behind the stunning visuals & computer graphics in the movie. They developed all the technology necessary to make the movie possible. Almost 90% of the movie was made by computer graphics. To the average audience the scenes would look amazing but to a VFX enthusiast it was a mine of technology.

Light Box

Cuaron tested & tried various rigs to see if the final shots could be possible. What resulted out of these experiments was the Light Box. It helped the actors to experience the same extremes of darkness and light that would be present in space. The USP of this technology was that it showed a projection of the objects and light to the actors, which would be inserted later. It was a representation of the virtual environment minus the green screen. For e.g. it would show a spaceship coming or an asteroid passing, which made the acting experience real & easy.

VFX galore

The entire film is a testimonial of the present scope of VFX technology. Every stage was planned out in detail to ensure minimum mistakes & maximum output.

  • Story Boarding:  This was done to ensure that the scenes panned-out as desired by Cuaron.
  • Animation: Prior to the actual filming, an animated movie was made. This helped the artists at Framework & Cuaron to have an idea as to what scenes need to be altered or what particular angle should be chosen.
  • Sound Design: The sound effect artists worked on the animated version with the same intensity as they would normally do on any other film. The music score was also kept to near original.
  • Light Design: The lighting artists were always under pressure to deliver a lifelike space environment.
  • Rendering: Like any other animated movie, rendering the images proved to be a task as Cuaron didn’t treat this as a rough work but an actual movie so that nobody would deviate from the task in hand.

Detailing

Cuaron left no stone unturned during the filming. Every shot, every frame was done from all the possible angles & the best one would make the cut. The refraction of light, and its interaction & simulation, even if it is for a split second, meant that Framework had to be on their toes. Each and every shot was perfected to avoid any mistakes.

Cuaron & VFX Studio Framework worked day in and day out to make a movie that made history. Apart from the actors, the story telling was done by the inanimate objects too, which were brought to life by this brilliant team with use of available technology & pushing the limits.

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