They tried the conventional methods. With wires and harnesses, “you feel the gravity in the face, you feel the strain,” Cuarón says. (In a few shots they would prove unavoidable, so the filmmakers designed a complex twelve-wire puppeteering system.) They tried the infamous “vomit comet”—a specially fitted airplane that flies in steep parabolic arcs to induce brief spans of weightlessness inside the open fuselage, which was used to great effect in Ron Howard’s Apollo 13. Cuarón found it impractical: “You’ve got a window of twenty seconds if you’re lucky, and you’re limited by the space of a 727.” They flew to San Francisco to view robots as stand-ins for the actors. They tried motion capture. They considered creating a “CG Sandra,” but “the fluid in the eyes, the mouth, the soul—there’s something that doesn’t work yet,” Lubezki says. Cuarón consulted the director James Cameron and Lubezki the director David Fincher. Both had the same advice: Wait for the technology.


    Two and a half years in, a shoot was finally scheduled. “I’ll tell you,” Cuarón says, “we started testing the technology, and it didn’t work until the very last day before we start shooting.” During filming, there could be no adjustments, no room for actors to interpret their roles; every scene had to be exactly the budgeted length of time. Webber and his team had designed what would become “Sandy’s Box”—a nine-foot cube in which Bullock would spend the majority of the shoot, on a soundstage in London, strapped to a rig. On its inside walls were 1.8 million individually controllable LED bulbs that essentially formed Jumbotron screens. Getting her in and out of the rig proved so time-consuming that Bullock chose to remain attached, alone, sometimes in full astronaut suit, between takes, where she listened to atmospheric, atonal music Cuarón had selected for her. She has referred to the experience as “lonely” and “isolating.” (Clooney provided some levity; arriving on set, he would replace her eerie music with gangster rap or ridiculous dance music.)

    Lubezki says some days went like this: “Eight a.m., the camera doesn’t work. Ten a.m., the shot doesn’t exist. Eleven a.m., might not shoot anything today. It was really scary shit.” Lubezki started a diary “so that when we’re fired, I want to be able to go back and see what happened.” Recently he reread part of it. “For fifteen days it is really rough,” he says. “Like Shackleton.”

    And when the shooting was finally over, there was a year and a half of postproduction work left. “Was I worried?” Cuarón says. “Yeah!” He and Lubezki would watch their footage, “and depending on the day, you’re just in a room laughing, like, What the heck are we doing? Chivo’s favorite phrase was, ‘This is a disaster.’ Some days you’d just have bits and pieces of Sandra Bullock in a box, floating around, surrounded by robots with cameras and lights on them, and you’d think, This is going to be a disaster."

So basically, every theory we had about how they did it was a little right and a lot wrong.


4-days later, I can appreciate the length of this article. True craftsmen want to get things right, no matter the miscalculations of time.

posted by insomniasexx: 1983 days ago