Dune: Part Two’s Anti-Gravity Attack Is ‘Peak Sci-Fi’ For Cinematographer Greig Fraser [Exclusive] – SlashFilm


In the opening minutes of Denis Villeneuve’s “Dune: Part Two,” Harkonnen hunters are searching for native Fremen warriors on the surface of Arrakis during an eclipse. The hunters quickly realize the Fremen have called a sandworm to devour them, so they engage their anti-gravity jet packs and soar off the dunes up onto a huge rock formation to avoid being eaten. It’s a simple-enough looking action — we’ve seen jet packs on screen plenty of times before — but something about the tangibility of the effect combined with Hans Zimmer’s score, the desert location, and the stunning orange lighting that looks distinct from any other part of the film caused me to whisper “wow” in my theater seat. By the time the Harkonnens realize it’s a trap and they’re being picked off one by one, it’s too late.

In honor of today’s release of the 4K UHD disc of “Dune: Part Two,” I had the pleasure of speaking with cinematographer Greig Fraser about the film, and I asked him how he achieved the look of this jaw-dropping opening action sequence.

“Denis and I were talking about how to open the movie,” Fraser explained. “We talked about doing it at night, we talked about doing it day-for-night, we talked about doing it during the day, and all of those things just didn’t sit well. We just went, ‘This is not —’, I mean, we put ourselves in the audience’s seat and went, ‘OK, we’ve bought the popcorn, we’re drinking the Coca-Cola, come on, you’ve gotta show us what you’ve got, guys.’ We thought, well, if we start the same way that the last one finished, with that look, it felt a little bit, eh, not right.”

“So we were playing with all of those different things, and I found a filter that cuts out a number of light rays,” he continued. “I’ve been playing with, particularly in Giedi Prime, with infrared and cutting out red, green, and blues, and cutting out different spectrums of light to come up with different looks. That’s effectively what filters do: Filters cut a lot of spectrums of light. But I had a variable filter which took out just enough blue that you could get a little bit of blue in the sky, but it was mostly orange-y or red, and it had the right element of shadow detail. So we chose to use this filter, and we chose to make it deeper and darker as the story went on and as the eclipse became more heavy.”

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