For Universal’s new sci-fi movie Oblivion, starring Tom Cruise, Cinematographer Claudio Miranda, ASC, and Director Joseph Kosinski filmed many of the visual effects live in-camera rather than using blue screens. For the scenes in the “Sky Tower”, a set built almost entirely of floor to ceiling windows and highly reflective surfaces, Miranda wanted a 270° sky surrounding the set so that he could shoot in almost any direction. Using on-set projection and capturing the sky and clouds in-camera allowed Kosinski, Miranda, and the actors to truly inhabit Production Designer Darren Gilford’s stunning futuristic set.
The projection solution provided by PRG included 11 Mbox Extreme media servers and 21 Barco FLM-HD20 20K projectors to cover the 494’ wide by 42’ tall projection screen. The final resolution was 18,288 x 1,920 pixels and consisted of 62 synched layers of 1080p video. PRG Project Manager Zach Alexander, the Media Operator on the film, created a seamlessly blended image using the Mbox media servers to control cloudscape footage shot with three cameras over two–three weeks on top of a volcano in Hawaii. Alexander used the PRG V676 control console to call up the sunrise, full day, sunset, or night sky options. During filming Kosinski and Miranda selected the sky looks by viewing and selecting the video clips on the V676’s Media Window, prior to shooting. The front projected sky also provided almost 95% of the lighting used for many of the Sky Tower scenes. Alexander operated a separate system for the smaller “Cloud Tower” set with a PRG V476 control console, two Mbox media servers, and six Barco 20K projectors.
PRG Lighting Programmer Philip Galler controlled a wide variety of LED lights that were installed in Cruise’s bubble ship and in the Sky and Cloud Tower sets, along with banks of Kino Flo fluorescent fixtures. PRG Bad Boy Spot luminaires were used to simulate shafts of sunlight for the bubble ship cockpit sequences.
Project Contact: Brian Edwards
Film And Digital Times Magazine feature on Oblivion
Oblivion: Universal ©2013 / Bill Dobbs
Universal ©2013 / Bill Dobbs
Photo Credit: Universal ©2013 / Bill Dobbs, Universal ©2013 / David James