Oppenheimer's VFX Supervisor Reacts to Rumor That No Visual Effects Were Used

Yes, VFX was used in the making of Oppenheimer.

Oppenheimer has been playing in theaters for about a month now, and it has beaten a few interesting box office records in addition to entering the top five highest-grossing Rated R movies of all time. The film stars Cillian Murphy as J. Robert Oppenheimer AKA the "father of the atomic bomb." A lot of the film was made practically, but there has been some confusion surrounding exactly what went on behind the scenes. In fact, director Christopher Nolan had to clarify that he didn't actually set off a real bomb. The director has also said that there were no computer-generated images in the film, but that has led to some confusion. Some fans of the film are under the impression that no VFX was used at all during production, which was recently debunked by VFX supervisor Andrew Jackson. 

"Some people have picked that up and taken it to mean that there are no visual effects, which is clearly not true," Jackson told The Hollywood Reporter. "Visual effects can encompass a whole lot of things." He explains that includes computer-generated imagery and "in-camera" special effects created on set. 

He added of the movie's big Trinity Test scene, "[Nolan] didn't want use any CG simulations of a nuclear explosion. He wanted to be in that sort of language of the era of the film ... using practical filmed elements to tell that story." He added of the practical explosions on set, "They used four 44 gallon drums of fuel and then some high explosives under that, which sets the fuel alight and launches it into the air."  

"We had some with really close-up detail of the burning explosion," he continued. "We had a lot of material that we could layer up and build into something that had the appearance of something much bigger." He added of AI and the future of filmmaking, "We're on the verge of a revolution in not just our industry, but across the board. I don't think people have quite grasped the reality of how much is going to change." 

Christopher Nolan On Recreating The Trinity Test:

While chatting with The Hollywood Reporter, Nolan reacted to fans thinking he took such extreme measures to get his movie made.

"It's flattering that people would think I would be capable of something as extreme as that on the one hand, but it's also a little bit scary," Nolan shared. 

"I think recreating the Trinity test without the use of computer graphics, was a huge challenge to take on," Nolan previously told Total Film. "Andrew Jackson – my visual effects supervisor, I got him on board early on – was looking at how we could do a lot of the visual elements of the film practically, from representing quantum dynamics and quantum physics to the Trinity test itself, to recreating, with my team, Los Alamos up on a mesa in New Mexico in extraordinary weather, a lot of which was needed for the film, in terms of the very harsh conditions out there – there were huge practical challenges." 

"It's a story of immense scope and scale," Nolan added. "And one of the most challenging projects I've ever taken on in terms of the scale of it, and in terms of encountering the breadth of Oppenheimer's story. There were big, logistical challenges, big practical challenges. But I had an extraordinary crew, and they really stepped up. It will be a while before we're finished. But certainly as I watch the results come in, and as I'm putting the film together, I'm thrilled with what my team has been able to achieve."

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