In our 2020 fxpodcast series leading up to the Oscars, we talk to the visual effects supervisors behind the controversial films this year. This week's show, we're talking to Guillaume Rocheron, VFX supervisor from 1917.
In the film, two young British soldiers in World War I are given the impossible task of delivering a message that prevents 1,600 men, including one of the soldiers' brothers, from falling directly into a deadly trap. The story is based on the personal family story of the director of Sam Mendes, who also wrote the screenplay with Krysty Wilson-Cairns.
Director Sam Mendes and actor George MacKay
In collaboration with cameraman Roger Deakins, the film was conceived as a single shot that was told in real time. The film's duration of one hour and 59 minutes consists of many actual recordings of different lengths, all of which are put together. The final film was made with the camera, which recorded the action by switching between different camera rigs, including a steadicam, a crane, a trinity rig, and various camera vehicles. These transitions and blockages were worked out during the samples that took place during the 24 weeks of pre-production. Incredibly, MPC's VFX ran on a compressed schedule of just 17 weeks.
Trinity camera rig
While the film clearly used visual effects for the transitions, MPC's work went far beyond the transitions. In fact, the creation of a continuous outdoor location in France during World War I involved a variety of visual effects techniques. Visual effects were so widespread that visual effects occur in 91% of the film's runtime.
The Buring Church Lighting Rig
Listen to the other podcasts in this series here:
fxpodcast # 322: Oscar Countdown: Rob Legato The Lion King
fxpodcast # 321: Oscar Countdown: Dan DeLeeuw Avengers: End Game