Abrams Leads Movie-Making Return to Practical Effects

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The Force Awakens Director Wants His Movies to Look and Feel Real

Star Wars practical effects

With the box office successes of Avengers: Age of Ultron and Jurassic World, both shot almost entirely with green screen, it would appear that computer-generated imagery (CGI) has won the war.  But not so fast.  Both JJ Abrams, the director of Star Wars: The Force Awakens and Rian Johnson, director of its sequel,  have made the case for a return to basics  alongside CGI.

“Wherever possible, whenever possible, we tried to do things as much in camera as we could,”

“That meant that a lot of artists… were building things, not with pixels, but with wood and paint and foam, and actually constructing sets that we could have done in post [production with CGI].
BB-8 and Rey in The Force Awakens

“It gave the actors the actual location, the actual sunlight or stage light – something to bounce off, and [gave] the movie a feeling of being in an actual location, not an artificial one.”

“It was really nice to not have to also worry about ‘will that ship look good on camera?’ because we actually had it, we were actually filming it.”

Johnson and Abrams have an ally in Roger Deakins, the 11-time Oscar-nominated director of photography behind the camera of the natural landscapes of No Country for Old Men and Skyfall.

“I think that trend would be a good thing. I like the look and feel of models,” Deakins told the BBC.

“CGI is an amazing tool and a great asset for any visual ‘storyteller’,” argues Deakins. “Any technique that enlarges our ‘canvas’ is to be celebrated but, as with anything else, it is all about how it is used.”

Ben Falk, film-writer and biographer of Robert Downey Jr, agrees: “In a cinematic world dominated by superheroes and alien beings, I think that a lot of film-makers now are realising that it needs to feel tangible. A puppet Yoda is always going to be better than a CGI Yoda.”

Practical Effects and CGI make the film feel real

The directors of the new Star Wars movies, along with other directors, have decided CGI is a valuable tool but only part of mix.  With CGI, less is more.

What do you think? Do you prefer CGI or practical effects in your fantasy films?

courtesy of BBC

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