The year has been completely taken over by the blockbuster movie Oppenheimer, which was directed by the acclaimed Christopher Nolan. Worldwide audiences are praising it for its outstanding performances and modern technology on display. The director Nolan is responsible for masterpieces like Inception and The Dark Knight trilogy. And now he has once again given fans a truly exceptional cinematic experience.


Nolan is renowned for being against the overuse of computer effects. Therefore his most recent success, Oppenheimer, was actually promoted as a film without CGI. However, a CGI expert challenges Nolan’s claims that the movie, Oppenheimer is VFX-free.

Christopher Nolan’s Oppenheimer is actually not VFX free

Even more than a month after its release, not everyone is aware that Christopher Nolan’s Oppenheimer has a large quantity of VFX. Specialists refer to these realistic-looking VFX as “invisible” visual effects. There was discussion going on about Nolan’s assertion that the film had no computer-generated graphics or CGIs. That statement, however, is very different from arguing that the movie contains no visual effects shots at all.

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Christopher Nolan
Christopher Nolan

In a recent interview with The Hollywood Reporter, Andrew Jackson, the Oscar-winning VFX supervisor who also worked on Oppenheimer, provided some clarification on the subject. Andrew Jackson said, “Some people have picked that up and taken it to mean that there are no visual effects, which is clearly not true.”

Jackson explained that visual effects use a variety of methods. It also included both realistic “in-camera” effects created on the film set along with computer-generated imagery. Therefore, Oppenheimer made creative use of many visual effects to enhance the story even though it may not significantly rely on CGI. Jackson went on to describe the innovative ways in which Nolan used the effects in his summer blockbuster hit movie Oppenheimer.

Andrew Jackson explained how Christopher Nolan used visual effects in a particular scene

The historical Trinity Test sequence, where scientists led by J. Robert Oppenheimer portrayed by Cillian Murphy detonated the first atomic bomb in New Mexico in 1945, is recreated in Oppenheimer in one mesmerizing VFX scene. According to Andrew Jackson, this scene was brought to life utilizing a process known as digital compositing.

The creative team at DNEG, Nolan’s preferred VFX studio, merged real filmed elements like smoke and explosions with computer magic. This strategy fit with Nolan’s concept since he aimed to imitate the time’s use of actual effects rather than computer-generated simulations.

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Jackson clarified that their intention was not to produce an exact duplicate of the historical appearance of the explosion or to go too far in the direction of stylization. They established a balance, portraying the spirit of the event without strictly sticking to physics. And also chose a loosely artistic interpretation.

The filming of realistic explosions and other aspects was orchestrated by special effects supervisor Scott Fisher. He utilized a variety of lenses and cameras, including the powerful Imax and high-speed cameras. Therefore, the movie is not actually VFX-free. Oppenheimer is still being played in theaters, so go see it for yourself.

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Source: The Hollywood Reporter

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