‘Star Wars: The Force Awakens’ VFX Reel Reveals the Magic Behind the Movie
Earlier this morning, Star Wars: The Force Awakens was nominated for five Academy Awards including Best Visual Effects. While much was made of the film’s return to practical effects, of which there were many, a new VFX highlight reel shows just how many digital shots were actually in the finished film and how those shots were used to augment the existing practical effects.
One good example is everyone’s favorite Star Wars: The Force Awakens character, BB-8. In this footage we see how BB-8 was both a practical puppet operated by a man in a full greenscreen suit (so he can be digitally erased) and also a CGI creation dropped digitally into more action-heavy scenes (like the attack on Jakku).
Instead of shooting Adam Driver and Daisy Ridley in a giant greenscreen room, Abrams and his crew built a massive set with snow and trees with a bluescreen backdrop. The result is a much better sense of space and gives the actors something concrete to work against as they’re working through a very physical scene. Notice also the prop lightsabers are actually glowing red and blue on set, giving a much more naturalistic feel to the lighting.
Also interesting is that Driver (despite reports he was so intense he never took his mask off on set) shot some of his Kylo Ren scenes sans mask, with the mask later digitally inserted over his face.
There’s so much to see here (including looks at both Andy Serkis and Lupita Nyong’o motion-capture performing as Supreme Leader Snoke and Maz Kanata, respectively), any fan of the Star Wars franchise is going to want to check it out.
We should note that this footage, which runs approximately 10 minutes long, is filled with spoilers so you might want to avoid it if you haven’t seen the movie yet. Oh, who are we kidding, of course you’ve seen the movie. So go ahead and watch.