Oppenheimer does not include any CGI shots, says Christopher Nolan

Oppenheimer does not include any CGI shots, says Christopher Nolan

Instead, the director preferred to recreate a nuclear explosion in the New Mexico desert.

A few days before the release ofOppenheimer, Christopher Nolan comes back to the question of special effects. The director insists on The Collider : the film contains “zero” shots in CGI, neither during the explosion scenes, nor in any other sequence.

Nolan is not a big fan of this technique of digital effects, yet widely used in Hollywood. For the sake of realism, he preferred to work on ambitious filming techniques rather than creating everything artificially during editing.

But then, without CGI, how was the director able to bring to life the Manhattan Project, which inevitably involves… a nuclear explosion? Well, it’s simple: all in sobriety, he recreated the Trinity test dating from July 16, 1945, in the New Mexico desert. Yes, a nuclear test, for real.

“To recreate the Trinity test without the help of digital technologies was a huge challenge. Andrew Jackson, my special effects supervisor, came on this project very early, and he immediately looked for how we could show these visual elements in a solid way”, explained the director to Total Movie last December.

Concretely, the explosion was of modest size, but the proximity of the camera makes it much more impressive on the screen. “It’s an old school technique. We don’t call them miniatures, but big figures. We make them as big as possible, but scale them down so they are manageable”said Scott R. Fisher, who also directed the special effects, to the same media.

From then on, we knew that part of the work was going to be purely pragmatic. Just for this scene, it required a monumental preparation. But obviously, she was not the only one concerned: the digital effects will have no place during the 3 hours of viewing.

Oppenheimer will be released in theaters on July 19.

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