The Oscar for VFX goes to… 1917

Congratulations to this year’s winners at the Oscars – especially the artist and crews represented by…

Achievement in Visual Effects:

Guillaume Rocheron, Greg Butler and Dominic Tuohy

In the film, two young British soldiers in the First World War are given an impossible mission to deliver a message that will stop 1,600 men, including one of the soldiers’ own brothers, from walking straight into a deadly trap. The story is based on the personal family history of Director of Sam Mendes who also wrote the script with Krysty Wilson-Cairns.

Director Sam Mendes and Actor George MacKay

In conjunction with Cinematographer Roger Deakins, the film was conceived as a single shot, told in real-time. The one hour and 59 minutes run time of the movie is comprised of many actual shots of various duration, these are all stitched together.  The final film was engineered with the camera capturing the action by switching between various camera rigs, including a Steadicam, a crane, a Trinity rig and various camera vehicles. These transitions and blockings were worked out during rehearsals that took place during the 24 weeks of pre-production. Incredibly, the VFX from MPC was executed in a compressed schedule of only 17 weeks.

Trinity Camera rig

While the film clearly used visual effects for the transitions, MPC’s work extended far beyond just the transitions, in fact, the creation of a continuous WW1 exterior location in France involved a wide variety of visual effects technique. Visual effects were so prevalent that there are visual effects in 91% of the running time of the movie.

The buring church lighting rig

Courtesy: Mike Saymour,

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