Chris Parks – “Rendering Gravity on one computer would have taken 7000 years”
Chris Parks The Stereographer behind Gravity discusses working on the film
Chris Parks was the Stereo Supervisor behind the box office smash Gravity. The job of Stereo Supervisor is to make stereoscopic 3D decisions for the film. In the same way, the composer uses sound to tell a story; a stereographer uses 3D to captivate the audience and evoke emotions. This achievement was no small task given the ambitious nature of the project and the film’s success at both the box office and the awards ceremonies.
The vast majority of what we see on screen is computer generated with some minor exceptions, most notably the actor’s faces which were post converted by Prime Focus.
We asked Chris Parks about the decision to go down the post-conversion route rather than shooting natively
“I was involved with gravity for 3.5 during which time we did several tests, and it soon became obvious that it just wasn’t practical to get the equipment to do what we needed it to do within such a confined space as at it was enough of a challenge with a single camera. Add that to the fact that most of the film is computer generated and suddenly post conversion was the obvious choice although I did think that we should have shot the last scene natively”.
Even if the film wasn’t set in space, Chris revealed that using virtual cameras allowed for a great deal more creative scope.
“Alfonso Cuaron gave us a great deal of room to try new things. The IA (distance between the two cameras) sometimes varied from a few for close ups of the actors faces to over 500 miles for shots of the earth, and this would take place in a single shot!”
The film was rendered using a mass network of computers known as a render farm.
“We worked out that if Gravity was rendered on a single computer it would have has to have started in 5000BC”