ATOMIC LANDSCAPES – THE ART OF ALL THAT REMAINS

ATR Matte shot

Our current feature project, All That Remains (currently in post-production) is one of only a handful of Western films that has attempted to depict the atomic bombings of Japan, up close and personal.

As such the responsibility and the magnitude of recreating such a devastating and history defining moment was, to say the least, enormous, and at times a little overwhelming.

But, once we had committed to telling this story, it was time to roll our sleeves up and do whatever it took to see it through to the end.

To keep our budget down we opted to do all the special effects work ourselves, what we didn’t know was that it would take us almost four years to make the film, with several months of nothing but working on FX shots. As the film was shot mostly in a green-screen studio the heaviest FX work was creating all the set-pieces and the landscapes that the film takes place in.

Including all the digital set-pieces, we created hundreds of matte shots to bring our vision of both the pre-bombed city of Nagasaki and the atomic bomb devastated wasteland to life.

ATR Matte shot

 

ATR Matte shot

The matte shots below illustrate how we also blended archive footage of Nagasaki, taken months after the actual bombing, into the digital landscapes.

ATR Matte shot

ATR Matte shot

Above: The tiny figure of Dr Nagai in his little hut, lying on his back, writing under a giant cloud and surrounded by the beginnings of a re-built Nagasaki.

ATR Matte shot

ATR Matte shot

We did also employ the use of model miniatures for some of the FX work, but it was working on the matte shots that we got the closest to setting up an easel right in the middle of the atomic ruins and painting what we saw. As film-makers we must always find a sense of art in what we do, even if the world we are painting is a “world stripped naked”.

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