Great article about the making of Our favourite movie from 2013:

Trevor Hogg talks to production designer Andy Nicholsonproduction visual effects supervisor Tim Webber, visual effects supervisor Tony Clark, animation supervisor Max Solomon, compositing supervisor Mark Bakowski, compositing sequence lead Theo Groeneboom, and matchmove supervisor Amélie Guyot about getting lost in space with filmmaker Alfonso Cuarón. Beware there are spoilers...


I first met Alfonso Cuaró[Children of Menon a Monday in London after receiving an incredible script [co-written with his son Jonas] midday Saturday,” recalls Andy Nicholson.  “Gravity [2013] was to be set almost entirely in low earth orbit and in zero-G. It was unlike anything I had read before and our 30 minute meeting lasted almost two hours.”  A major element of discussion was the research material gathered over the weekend by Nicholson.  “We went through a selection of NASA images that I had sourced online. We talked generally about the project and began discussing what was important about the look, that it had to be photorealistic and how that could be achieved.”  The Mexican filmmaker was impressed with his British colleague.  “Soon after I got the job I met with Alfonso, David Heyman [Producer] and Tim Webber [VFX Supervisor] at the offices of Framestore where we looked at an early ‘techviz’. What I saw was an inspiration. It suggested a way to achieve a complicated zero-G shot by moving lights and camera within a CG set around an almost stationary actor. On-screen the actor would appear to be moving.”


“The ‘techviz’ was a CG animation of a figure sitting on a rig similar to a bicycle seat with separate camera and lighting rigs moving around them and a wireframe image of the set that was also moving, but independently, projected around everything,” explains Andy Nicholson.  This concept would become a backbone approach for establishing much of our shooting methodologies. There would eventually be many other rigs using similar principles, the most elaborate being a ‘12 wire’ rig which we would use for flying Sandra through the ISS [International Space Station].  Simulating the proper movement was tricky.  “When someone is.....continue reading in