One of JJ Abrams objectives for the new Star Trek movie, was to make it feel as ‘real’ as possible. This manifested itself in many ways, and in a new interview with Post Magazine, the director talks about shooting the movie on film, his post production process, and of course…lens flares. See below for excerpts.
JJ Talks Post
Abrams on why he shot on film and not digitally:
I knew this movie would have a great deal of computer generated visual effects in it and I knew that’s the reason Star Wars films have been shot with a great deal of blue- or greenscreen and digitally, and I was nervous about that. I wanted this film to feel distinct from those. I didn’t want to have a given about how many effects would be created. I didn’t want there to be this artiface to the movie, even though it’s called Star Trek, even though it’s a fantasy future sci-fi. I wanted it to feel as sort of tangible and gritty and real as possible.
As [DP] Dan Mindle said, he wanted it to have guts. And so for me the approach to the movie was, I wanted wherever we could to be practical and to be analog, because there was going to be a whole bunch of virtual and digital, so wherever we could add the realism by literally making it real I thought would help the aesthetics. So we built sets and found locations as much as possible and dressed them or extended sets.
JJ on Star Trek’s ubiquitous lens flares:
We added them on the set, not post, because I wanted to give the film that sense of unpredictability. There’s something about lens flares — beyond the aesthetic of ‘the future’s so bright you can’t contain it in the frame.’ I wanted that beautiful interaction between light and glass that you can’t control, to add to the tangible analog human imperfect quality that’s increasingly hard to find in these kind of films.
JJ on the post production process:
I love it, and the ability to look at the material and make the best version of the movie based on that as opposed to trying to make the best version of what was in the script is magical and exciting. It can be frustrating when the shortcomings of my directing require us to be acrobatic in the edit, but the answers are wildly satisfying, when you figure out what to cut and how to bridge sequences, or what shots to use from scenes that have nothing to do with what you intended. That’s miraculous to me.
Much more from JJ Abrams on post production at postmagazine.com
JJ on the set with his actors