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Backstage Interview Transcript: Visual Effects

CATEGORY: Visual Effects
SPEECH BY: Paul Franklin, Andrew Lockley, Ian Hunter and Scott Fisher 


Q.    Congratulations everyone.  Tell us all a little bit about using everything in the arsenal today at your disposal. 

A.    (Paul Franklin) Well, it's more than just using everything that's in the visual effects box of tricks and special effects and miniatures and all that.  It's working in unison with the rest of the film, being part of the creative process right from the very beginning all the way through production right to the very end.  And I think that's what got us where we are. 


Q.    Congratulations everybody.  Paul, hey, we had spoken earlier.  You talked about the contributions of Kip Thorne and you mentioned Kip on stage. 

A.    (Paul Franklin) Yes.


Q.    Talk about how bringing hard science into rendering space has maybe changed now the perceived and expected look of space going forward in science fiction cinema. 

A.    (Paul Franklin) Well, I think every year we always try and get closer and closer to reality, and this time we had the access to the amazing skills of Kip who is one of the world's leading theoretical physicists.  And he gave us the maths, the physics which describes the universe and how these extraordinary things would actually look if you were able to go and see them.  So every year we get closer and closer to reality, and so this is, as I said in my speech, it's showing us the outrageous beauty of the universe.


Q.    Congratulations.  Did the story of the movie, the message of the movie inspire you, bring you all together?  Did you have questions?

A.    (Paul Franklin) Yeah, absolutely.  I mean, just to make this film I had to go away from my home for over a year, away from my young children.  So I felt very much an empathy with the character, with Matthew McConaughey's character, and that helped inform everything you do, particularly in the end sequence of the film where we're trying to maintain the emotional intensity while also providing a spectacular result.  Guys, how do you feel about that? 

A.    (Ian Hunter) I just want to mention, too, that Christopher Nolan really wanted us to ground the movie in a very realistic, very humanistic story, and so we're going to the far end of the universe but he always constantly emphasized that we wanted to make sure that we brought humanity with us.  And so in the visual effects, as awe inspiring as they are, it's still backed by family and caring and love, and I think having that guidance from him was really what helped us achieve what we did. 


Q.    I mean, Christopher Nolan loves to make a lot of his effects practical.  So when you're trying to create not a world but actually a universe, how do you keep it practical, and do you have to kind of climb to the depths of your mind to make something up?

A.    (Paul Franklin) Some things you can't obviously go and shoot for real, you can't go and film a real black hole.  But what we were able to do is we were able to bring that visual reality onto the set.  We used live in‑camera projection.  Whenever you're looking out of a spacecraft window, you're seeing what the actors actually saw on the set.  So we weren't using green screen, we were doing it live.  And our sets were more like simulators than regular sets, and so that level of photographic reality informed everything that we did.


Q.    A lot of people say that science and the arts are opposite sides of the coin but especially working in visual effects, technology and the arts you really represent the fusion of the two.  What do you think that science and the arts have the most in common? 

A.            (Paul Franklin) I think what they really have in common is creativity.  Scientists, great scientists, all scientists are creative people.  They're trying to explore the universe in the same way the artists are, they're just taking a different approach to it.  And the great thing with visual effects and special effects is it brings all that together, it brings together physics and maths and engineering with creative arts.  My background is fine arts.  The people I work with have degrees in advanced level physics, and of course, Kip Thorne is a great astrophysicist.  We all speak the same language, that's the amazing thing that we find when we do these sorts of thing




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