The Design Observer Twenty

Véronique Vienne | Case Studies

Filmic Collisions

For production designer Lilly Kilvert, twice nominated for an Academy Award (Legend of the Falls and The Last Samurai), the latest generation of digital cameras can be very disruptive for our visual perceptions. High definition technology accentuates details, bringing all of them into crystal sharp focus. As a result, it is much harder to know what to look at.

Eschewing green screens, Kilvert now mimics the way the eye sees with painted backdrops that grow softer into the distance. Atmosphere and dimension are added with fabrics, smoke, fog, haze—and lots of dust. Last spring, she was in make-believe Mongolia, using every trick in the book to recreate the ancient world of Marco Polo for the new Netflix Original series of the same name (to be released December 12). The movie is an epic tale in which cultures collide—as they did collide on the sound stage where Kilvert’s job was to protect the soft contours of our filmic imagination against the ferocious attack of razor-edged pixels.

Jobs | April 01