We were invited by Universal to take a behind the scenes look of Oblivion at their studio. Our visit consisted of 3 stops: props, special effects and aircraft (bubble) design.
The first stop was at the props department where we were informed about the little details on the costumes. As viewers, we wouldn’t notice it but Jack’s costume had details that gave us clues to his origin. I won’t spoil it for anybody but pay attention to the number in his suit. Pretty obvious once you see it. We were also informed about the weapons used. The director wanted to make it futuristic but enough that the audience can still relate to it. On display was a life size replica of the killer droid. Pretty cool seeing how much wire and lights it requires to make it look menacing.
Next up was the special effects department. The team demonstrated before and after special effects shots. It was really impressive to see the reference they used to make the CG “rocks” and “glaciers” look as lifelike as possible. What impressed me the most were the scenes in Jack’s high rise fortress. I think this movie set a precedent on how green screens will be done in the future. Everything was shot in a studio and the fortress was surrounded with a green showcasing the clouds and the sun. Those components were shot in real life for 2 weeks. Pretty much just capturing with cameras on tripods. Then it was shown on the screen. The video provided the lighting and backdrop for the fortress scenes. I always wondered how it looked so real when I watched it the first time. Now it makes sense. Impressive stuff.
The last presentation was for the Bubble Ship. On hand was the Bubble Ship shot for the movie. Concept designer, Daniel Simon was on hand to discuss the ship in detail. He said he worked on the design since 2010 and made tweaks until the movie was shot last year. His biggest challenge was making the ship practical for the shoot while still making it look cool. For example, the step to the cockpit. Originally it was suppose to fold out but it looked weird so he used the landing ledge as a step. He had to make sure the characters got in and out of the ship without hesitation. Adding bobblehead Elvis into the cockpit was also a challenge as it was already designed beforehand just to have aircraft controls. Last minute, the director decided to put Elvis and he had to scramble for a new design. He said in Hollywood, you have to make adjustments on the spot and move on because an extra day of shooting might cost a million bucks. Some parts of the design, he wasn’t happy but overall he was pleased.
The behind the scenes look of Oblivion was really cool. I love events likes this because it makes me appreciate filmmaking even more. Plenty of blood and sweat goes into making movies.
Oblivion is available now on blu-ray and DVD.