Jordan Peele Explains the Insane New Tech Used to Capture the Night Sky in NOPE


Jordan Peele released his third film this summer with the thriller Nope, and it was a layered movie with tons of intriguing elements and mixed reviews. It follows a brother and sister who are trying to run the family business of horses in Hollywood movies in the wake of their father’s death when suddenly strange things start to happen at their ranch. It’s an alien story with a mysterious side story and some really amazing characters.

One of the finest parts of the movie, though, was the visuals, and as it turns out, there was some new tech used to give us the vast night sky we were able to appreciate in the movie. In a recent interview with Peele and the film’s cinematographer Hoyte van Hoytema at the Toronto International Film Festival Q&A on Monday, Peele explained:

“I haven’t wanted to ruin the illusion, but I’ll ruin it for you today. The night shots, for the most part, were shot in the day, which is due to a technological and strategic thing that [Hoytema] brought to the table.”

Peele and Hoytema spoke at a special screening of Nope at the Cinesphere IMAX Theatre, in a conversation moderated by TIFF CEO Cameron Bailey. During the Q&A, the duo — while avoiding spoilers for attendees who hadn’t yet seen the film — discussed how they brought the night scenes to life.

According to Hoytema, conversations around how to photograph the night scenes began when the two began scouting locations in Agua Dulce. While visiting the desert, Hoytema was overwhelmed by both the darkness of the night and the magnificence of the sky and the stars and started to believe that there was no feasible way to accurately capture it.

“There’s no way to photograph this, this feeling of vastness, and grandeur of the sky, which was such a big part of our story. We kind of immediately started thinking ‘How can can we portray exactly that feeling that we have when we were out there in the field?’ I started very much exploring the technology, how can we do this? How can we photograph in the way eyes see it or the way that we experience it?”

Finally, the two came up with a solution where they merged two cameras — one that shot infrared light with a narrow bandwidth, and one that captured 70mm film. The two then would overlay the images, with the infrared capturing how people’s eyes respond to darkness and light at nighttime. They then used the film camera to capture all the color and grain data they wanted for the shot, resulting in the memorable nighttime cinematography seen in the movie.

“It’s really cool shit,” Peele said. “This thing really pushes the film forward, and was difficult and it’s something that I’m excited to work with in the future and continue to push.”

via: Variety

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