fxpodcast #314: ILM and Deepwater Horizon

This week we speak to ILM visual effects supervisor Craig Hammack about his work on Deepwater Horizon for director Pete Berg.

The film depicts the final hours before the April 2010 disaster of the offshore drilling rig Deepwater Horizon, which exploded and created the worst oil spill in U.S. history.


Most of the filming took place on a massive 85% scale oil rig built over a 5 foot deep water tank built in a Chalmette, Louisiana USA car park. Mike Seymour talks to Craig about the film and they refer to a few aspects of that rig that can be seen below here.


The rig itself which had an active heliport (although that itself proved an issue due to mixed scales between the rig and chopper as you can hear in the podcast).


The giant sports LED screen used for some of the filming. It is clearly visible here on top of the productions ‘oil rig’ in the centre of shot.


Craig and Mike discuss the stunning night escape that involved jumping off the rig.



The director was Pete Berg, and the visual effects were handled almost entirely by ILM. The DOP was Enrique Chediak who was Cinematographer on The Maze Runner and  127 Hours. The film was shot on Arri Alexa 65, Hasselblad Prime 65 Lenses (one scene)  and on the Arri Alexa XT with Leica Summicron-C and Summilux-C Lenses.  The final film was graded at Company 3. Interestingly this is This Mark Wahlberg’s sixth film based on a true story. The other four are, Lone Survivor (2013) The Fighter (2010), Pain & Gain (2013) Invincible (2006), and The Perfect Storm (2000). And not only did he do Lone Survivor with Pete Berg but the team are pencilled in for several other productions including a possible 6 Million Dollar Man remake.

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