On July 21, 2023, the highly acclaimed filmmaker Christopher Nolan unveiled his latest cinematic masterpiece, “Oppenheimer.”
Set against the backdrop of the mid-20th century during World War II, the film delves into a pivotal era when the United States engaged in a military-industrial arms race with other global powers. The objective was to unlock the formidable potential of atomic energy and pioneer the world’s first nuclear bomb.
“Oppenheimer” intricately weaves through the intricate and dynamic life of J. Robert Oppenheimer, a figure of immense influence and controversy in the 20th century. The narrative unfolds around Oppenheimer’s pivotal role as the leader at Los Alamos and his instrumental contribution to the development of the first atomic weapons.
The film was shot on 70mm IMAX film and created with the intention to watch it in the largest format possible. I was fortunate enough to witness this masterpiece twice in 70mm equivalent digital IMAX. The power and dynamic slow burn of the three hour long film can not be understated.
Christopher Nolan is known for his practical effects and lack of CGI in his films. Oppenheimer is no exception. Said to be made with entirely practical effects, I decided to challenge myself and recreate some of the effects in the film. The video above is my recreation and take on some of the practical effects and visuals from the film and trailers.
All shots in my short movie were shot on my Canon EOS R6 Mark II at 4k 60fps. Below is an image of my setup used to capture my recreated practical effects.
All shots were taken in a dark room. For the sake of setup clarity, the lights were turned on.
To recreate the shot in the film, I used black charcoal powder and water swirled together in a clear Tupperware bin.
For my movie, the main source of light is from a fish tank light below a white party table cover used to diffuse the light. To create space between the fish tank light and the Tupperware, I used stacked toilet paper rolls in each corner—8 in total.
I chose to use Ludwig Goransson’s “Can You Hear The Music,” which was also featured in the official Oppenheimer score.