Greta Gerwig, the director of "Barbie," spoke about practical effects in a behind-the-scenes video.
The director said she didn't use CGI for scenes involving travel from Barbie Land to the real world.
"It was the most satisfying thing to watch," Gerwig said of shooting the scenes without CGI.
In a behind-the-scenes video recently shared to the film's Twitter account, Greta Gerwig, the film's director, as well as various other cast and crew members, spoke about the practical effects used in some of the transportation sequences.
—Barbie Movie (@barbiethemovie) July 23, 2023
Here's how some of the film's most iconic sequences came together without using digital effects.
Barbie and Ken driving across the desert in a slightly undersized pink convertible is one of the film's most iconic shots.
"The transition between Barbie Land and the Real World is a series of transportation vehicles that get us there," Margot Robbie, who stars as Barbie, said in the clip. "Kind of like in this 2D, endless tracking shot."
But the behind-the-scenes video shows that the car's "motion" was actually created by moving the background and foreground while the car stayed still.
The car in the scene wasn't actually driving. Instead, background and foreground scenery was pulled by crew members using conveyor belts to create a sense of motion, much like techniques used in vintage films and stage plays.
"We looked at theatrical methods of making things work," the production designer Sarah Greenwood said in the video.
Gerwig opted for an artificially-staged look in the space scenes.
"I settled on wanting it to look like a diorama in the Natural History Museum," Gerwig said in the clip. "Each box contains a scene, and I wanted them to sort of move through that scene and come out, and then move through the next scene."
Similar to the driving scene, crew members operated conveyor belts with scenery on them for Barbie's journey through space.
Gerwig's dedication to the diorama look meant that planets in the space scene were held up by invisible wires and clouds were moved using conveyor belts.
The conveyor-belt technique was also used for scenes in which Barbie, Ken, and later a group of Mattel executives cycled through a field of flowers.
At first glance, it appears as though the characters are biking through the tulips.
Behind-the-scenes footage shows how the tulips were pulled to create a sense of movement.
"None of it's CGI. It's just presentational, as if you were watching a play," Will Ferrell, who plays the CEO of Mattel in the film, said in the video.
Clever effects were key to recreating the shimmer of the ocean in the speedboat scene.
"It's all very flat and 2D, so you might have a boat that's moving while the water's moving, and that's literally like our crew members pulling a rope," Robbie said in the video. "And putting little bits of cellophane on the water to make it look like it's twinkling like water."
Gerwig said she wanted to "paint in big, beautiful broad strokes" while building Barbie's "crazy world."
"Barbie" is currently playing in theaters. You can watch the trailer below.
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