Deepwater Horizon – VFX Breakdown

This week we speak to ILM visual effects supervisor Craig Hammack about his work on Deepwater Horizon for director Pete Berg. The film depicts the final hours before the April 2010 disaster of the offshore drilling rig: Deepwater Horizon, which exploded and created the worst oil spill in U.S. history.

The director was Pete Berg, and the visual effects were handled almost entirely by ILM. The DOP was Enrique Chediak who was Cinematographer on The Maze Runner and 127 Hours. The film was shot on Arri Alexa 65, Hasselblad Prime 65 Lenses (one scene) and on the Arri Alexa XT with Leica Summicron-C and Summilux-C Lenses. The final film was graded at Company 3. Interestingly this is This Mark Wahlberg’s sixth film based on a true story. The other four are, Lone Survivor (2013) The Fighter (2010), Pain & Gain (2013) Invincible (2006), and The Perfect Storm (2000). And not only did he do Lone Survivor with Pete Berg but the team are pencilled in for several other productions including a possible 6 Million Dollar Man remake.

ILM has a bit of history with Peter Berg (Director) and Petra Holtorf-Stratton (Visual Effects Producer) from collaborating on BATTLESHIP and LONE SURVIVOR. When they became involved in the project I think they realized Visual Effects would play a large role. They were after someone they could be confident would be able to roll with the punches and deliver solid results.

I would say the Derrick was the most complicated. It was featured quite heavily and had to do the most. It has to appear clean, covered in mud, on fire, melted and finally we see it collapse… all states seen in the film from extreme close ups to far distant shots. That and it’s basically full of flat surfaces with some dressing around it. Simple flat structures seen in those situations are often the hardest to make look real and non-computer generated.

Excellent VFX Breakdown by Industrial Light & Magic, Iloura, Hybride and Base FX about their work on Deepwater Horizon

Director: Peter Berg
ILM VFX Supervisor: Craig Hammack, Mohen Leo
ILM Associate VFX Supervisor: Jason snell
ILM Executive VFX Producer: Wayne Billheimer
ILM VFX Producer: Leslie Valentino
Iloura VFX Supervisor: Jason Billington
Hybride VFX Supervisor: Philippe Theroux
Base FX VFX Supervisor: Varun Hadkar

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For more information visit at ILM, Iloura, Hybride and Base FX