Oppenheimer: How Did They Record a Nuclear Explosion Without Computer Tricks?

MOVIE NEWS – It caused quite a stir last year when director Christopher Nolan said that no computer tricks were used in the film Oppenheimer to film the atomic explosion. The film is about Robert Oppenheimer, the scientist also known as the father of the atomic bomb, and of course the presentation of the weapon of mass destruction could not be omitted.


Fortunately, the creators did not explode a real atom in the desert for the sake of authenticity, but worked with traditional tricks. The head of the stunt team, Scott R. Fisher, who worked with Nolan for the sixth time, told Total Film what they came up with.

The biggest task was recreating the Trinity test, the world’s first atomic explosion in the New Mexico desert on July 16, 1945. For the recording, one of the most ancient film tricks, forced perspective, was used, when the composition of objects placed at points far from each other into a common image creates different proportions. “We made very large mock-ups, making sure they were still manageable,” Fisher explained to the magazine. – We placed the cameras close to them, so they created a gigantic effect. As for the pyrotechnics, we worked with a mixture of gasoline and propane, so we get the biggest bang for our buck. Aluminum powder and magnesium were added to the mixture, so a blinding flash and unbearable brightness was created, which is observed during an atomic explosion. We wanted every viewer to talk about this when they leave the cinema.”

“Our goal was to make sure that everything you see in the film is photographed and not computer generated,” explains Nolan. – We used the computer for what it is best suited for: to put together existing things. Put together what fits together, take out what we don’t need, and add new layers to the already finished composition.”

In the more than three-hour film, in addition to Nolan’s favorite actor, Cillian Murphy, who plays the title role, stars such as Robert Downey Jr., Matt Damon,Emily Blunt, Rami Malek, Florence Pugh, Benny Safdie, Michael Angarano, Josh Hartnett and Kenneth Branagh. p>

(Oppenheimer – domestic release: July 20, 2023.)

Source: UIP Dunafilm

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