Alfonso Cuarón’s Gravity has been widely praised for its mesmerizing sequences hundreds of miles above the Earth, which, as it turns out, is the work of over 400 engineers and crew working for three years straight. The video above shows the painstaking detail that went into rendering each shot. Over at Framestore, the London-based GFX crew explains the process in detail:
There was nowhere to hide, no quick ways of establishing a shot – everything they created was on full display, maybe for ten minutes at a time. Their work had to stand up to intense scrutiny. “The amount of planning and additional work that came about because of the long shots was enormous, it shouldn’t be underestimated.” says Chris Lawrence. After hitting a button the team would often have to wait more than two days to see if a particular simulation had worked.
It wasn’t just the long shots, the whole process took a very long time and an awful lot of computer power. To render Gravity on a single core machine with a single processor in it and be ready for 2013 you would need to start before the dawn of Egyptian civilisation. Renders rarely look right the first time and comments need to be given and addressed - typing into a program called Shotgun, Gravity’s VFX Co-ordinators wrote the equivalent of four copies of War and Peace while taking notes during feedback.