10 Films Surprisingly Created Without CGI

Inception

There’s a reason why movie nerds love Christopher Nolan and it has nothing to do with Batman. The director has been adamant about only using CGI in his films when absolutely necessary, lending a dose of reality to the filmmaker’s work. It’s an exciting contrast to the fantastical overtones he often plays with. “There are usually two different goals in a visual effects movie,” Nolan explained in a recent interview. “One is to fool the audience into seeing something seamless, and that’s how I try to use it. The other is to impress the audience with the amount of money spent on the spectacle of the visual effect, and that, I have no interest in.” For Inception’s famous rotating hallway scene, Nolan put actor Joseph Gordon-Levitt into a massive World War I-era horizontal hangar that rotated 360 degrees. A different, vertical hangar found the actors wearing wires, and a third saw the stars strapped to trolleys, with the harnesses “erased” during post-production. You can get a look at the rotating hallway at the five-minute mark in the above video. Director of Photography Wally Pfister told MTV that the scenes took three weeks to capture (shot in two and three second increments) with the help of a 500-person crew. “We begin with a camera that’s not fixed to the set and shows a bit of the rotation, and then you quickly jump to where you’re rotating with the set,” he explained. “It creates this bizarre, strange movement. It’s an exhausting process for the actors. Having rotated on that set myself, it’s really quite challenging and a very strange thing to get used to. If you jump at the wrong time, you could be falling 12 feet through the air.”