Inhuman Precision: Flying the Camera
Oblivion has the honorable distinction of being the first film released in theaters that was shot on the Sony CineAlta F65 camera, a 4K-output camera that provides extraordinarily sharp detail through its implementation of an 8K chip. Knowing that he would be shooting the epic in Iceland, Kosinski chose this camera for not only its breathtaking take on locations, but its rendering of color and skin tone. He laughs: "It literally came off the assembly line just a few weeks before we began principal photography."
This high resolution gave the director everything he wanted. Reflects Kosinski: "One of the reasons I selected the camera we used is that it has a very high-resolution sensor. It outputs the footage at 4K, which is still four times the resolution of any other digital camera out there. It provides a level of sharpness and detail where you can not only see the glint in the actors' eyes but also extraordinary detail in landscapes. I knew the detail of the Icelandic landscape would be captured in a spectacular way by this camera and look great on the big screen."
On the exterior Raven Rock set and the Odyssey crash site set on Hooper Road in Baton Rouge, the unique Flying-Cam was heavily used. Weighing approximately 125 pounds, the Flying-Cam is a combination of a gyro head, an HD camera and a small helicopter that is operated by a crew of five people via a remote wireless system through a computer program.
The Flying-Cam gives a perspective of freedom and movement that one cannot achieve with a stationary or cumbersome camera rig. On Oblivion, it was able to give the point-of-view shots of the flying drones, and it was just the right scale to create fast and stable shots. Says EMMANUEL PREVINAIRE of the Flying-Cam system: "21stcentury is about robotics, so you have a computer onboard with a physical model of the machine. This computer can execute exactly what you want with the precision a human being could never reach."
Though the Flying-Cam has been used on the Mission Impossible, Harry Potter James Bond , new groundbreaking technology was forged on the Oblivionset. The first moment when this was used was when key drones deactivate and drop from the sky. They rolled down the hill and landed in front of the big doors at Raven Rock. The technology enabled Kosinski to duplicate the action shot after shot, within two inches of each take. This precision is something that the team at the Flying-Cam headquarters in Europe has been working on for some time. This technology -- which combines GPS and satellite links together with, of course, digital cinema -- could not be achieved until today.
Recalls HAIK GAZARIAN of Flying-Cam: "All the team members and engineers that we have in Europe are pilots and camera operators, and everyone had been dreaming about this moment, and we just saw it happen on the monitor. So it is a pretty unique concept of technology and cinematography placed in one gigantic set for Oblivion."
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