Christopher Nolan Explains Why There’s No CGI in ‘Oppenheimer’

Now we’ve had days to process shocking information Oppenheimer Zero CGI footage, it’s time Christopher Nolan Explain the rationale behind this decision, and explain how they achieved some of the film’s impressive technical and visual feats. In this day and age, it can be hard to imagine a blockbuster movie—especially one about the atomic bomb—without digital effects, but in an interview with Collider, the filmmakers detail how the feat was achieved and, apparently, it’s not not easy.


nolan told Steve Weintraub A Conversation About Visual Effects Oppenheimer As soon as the script is ready, it starts happening. He also noted that a key contributor in these conversations was his visual effects supervisor, andrew jackson (Mad Max: Fury Road), proficient in special effects and practical effects. With his vast industry experience, Nolan recruited him early on and explained why they chose to shoot the movie using only real effects rather than CGI. Nolan explained:

“One of the first people I showed him the script was Andrew Jackson, my visual effects supervisor. He was very proficient in CG, but he was also very proficient in practical effects and understood the value. I showed him the script very early on, and I said, ‘Well, what we need in this film is a thread between Oppenheimer’s internal processes, his imagination, his visualization of atoms, molecules, those interactions, those waves of energy. We need A running thread from that moment to the final expression of destructive power, when that power is unleashed. It has to live in the same family.”

For those unfamiliar with CGI, the acronym stands for Computer Generated Image. The way computer-generated imagery will be used in filmmaking appears to be a major focus of Nolan’s early planning. Oppenheimerthe director highlighted the pros and cons of the tool, saying, “I think computer graphics are very versatile and can do all kinds of things, but they tend to feel a little bit safe. That’s why they’re so hard to use in horror movies.” …animations tend to make the audience feel a little bit safe. Ultimately, the Trinity Test, and Oppenheimer’s early visions of the Quantum Realm, they have to be threatening in some way. They have to have an authentic flavor-world imagery. For those For those who were there, the Trinity Test was the most beautiful and most terrifying thing, and that’s what we’re going to do with this movie.”

Oppenheimer - Cillian Murphy
Image via Universal Pictures

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Keeping it real is necessary for scale Oppenheimer

Nolan went on to discuss Jackson and the special effects supervisor’s production process Scott Fisher (Dunkirk) after getting Oppenheimer The correct explanation is, “So[Jackson]spent months working with our special effects supervisor, Scott Fisher, working on the extremely tiny and the extremely large, and he The aspect is second to none.” Nolan further elaborates on how their experimentation ended up being perfectly aligned with the film’s plot:

“So it’s really a combination of scales, and in the end, that says a lot about the whole movie, because quantum physics and expressing quantum physics through nuclear weapons is actually incredibly different about scales. The laws of quantum physics play out in this acting on tiny levels, and then they find expression in stars and black holes and supernovae and everything else. We’re really trying to embrace both ends of the scale, and Andrew’s methodology and how he gets there really covers both ends.”

Nolan is right that quantum physics is a complex subject because it involves extreme opposites of our existence. As Nolan succinctly puts it, “The laws of quantum physics work on a very, very small level, and then they find expression in stars, black holes, supernovae, and everything else.” The British filmmaker added , Oppenheimer He “tried to hit both ends of the scale” and it seemed that using practical effects rather than CGI ended up being the way to achieve his desired look and feel.

Oppenheimer Premieres in theaters July 21. You can watch our full interview with Nolan in the player below:

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