American Cinematographer - November 2013 - 38

◗

Facing the Void

After fast-moving
debris damages
the space station,
Stone and
Kowalski find
themselves in a
life-threatening
crisis.

then become very close, and then go
back to a very wide shot."
"We wanted to surrender to the
environment of space, but we couldn't
go there, so the only way of doing it was
through all of these technologies," notes
Cuarón. "In a fantasy world, we would
have shot the whole film in space. If we
had, not much would have changed in
terms of the visuals."
Webber, who led the visualeffects team at Framestore in London,
convinced Cuarón that his desire for
long takes with a zero-gravity camera
required that they go virtual. "We
needed the freedom of a virtual camera,"
says Webber, "so we created a virtual
world and then worked out how to get
human performances into that world."
The space setting offered three
main sources for the lighting design: the
distant sun's hard light, the soft bounce
from Earth and, occasionally, the
bounce from the moon. "The settings
are either outer space or the interior of a
capsule," says Lubezki. "In space, it's
mostly [the characters] against black
with a piece of the Earth, a piece of the
sun and sometimes the moon. That's
not enough [visual] variety to keep you
excited for 100 minutes, so Alfonso and
I decided to make the lighting
constantly change.
"It was very exciting to deal only
with the quality of light - how harsh or
soft it would be, the amount of bounce
and its color," Lubezki continues.
"Those few elements made it possible
38

November 2013

American Cinematographer



American Cinematographer - November 2013

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of American Cinematographer - November 2013

Contents
American Cinematographer - November 2013 - Cover1
American Cinematographer - November 2013 - Cover2
American Cinematographer - November 2013 - 1
American Cinematographer - November 2013 - 2
American Cinematographer - November 2013 - 3
American Cinematographer - November 2013 - 4
American Cinematographer - November 2013 - Contents
American Cinematographer - November 2013 - 6
American Cinematographer - November 2013 - 7
American Cinematographer - November 2013 - 8
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