“We prevised virtually all the movie, beyond what we would normally do, what you would normally do, because we were taking information from the previs and we would later be applying it directly to what would happen on the shoot. … We did some pre-lighting sessions with Chivo (Lubezki), the d.p., where we took the previs and we lit it as if you were lighting a traditional set.” — “Gravity” vfx supervisor Tim Webber
The shot is planned in previsualization, with low-resolution animation. This is director Alfonso Cuaron’s opportunity to develop and design what would physically happen throughout the film. The previs on “Gravity” took approximately a year and became the template for the whole production. Data from previs was used to drive the action of the camera and actors on set, so the previs for “Gravity” had to be more detailed than a standard previs.(Previs by Framestore.)
The pre-light was the chance for our cinematographer Emmanuel “Chivo” Lubezki to plan the lighting for every shot. Chivo used Framestore’s technical directors as his digital gaffers, setting the direction and quality of light throughout the whole film. Framestore rendered the whole movie before a frame was shot using a physically accurate lighting model – the main sources of light being the sun and the bounce from the earth. The data from the pre-light was used to light the actors on set. (Pre-light by Chivo & Framestore)
On set, motion-control robots moved Sandra Bullock around to simulate weightlessness. Those movements had to be pre-choreographed. Note the minimal physical set. This “plate” was handed back to Framestore for vfx to be added.
This was the process where Framestore’s techincal directors took the live action plate from the shoot and integrated it into our computer-generated scenes, blurring the lines between live action and CG animation. These “conformed” scenes were then passed to the animation team. (Conform by Framestore.)
This is the final shot as delivered by Framestore. The plate and the digital set are both included. The shot then goes to color grading, sound and other post departments.