MOVIES

The Dune Movies But Without Special Effects

Patrice Vermette served as the production designer for “Dune: Part One” and “Dune: Part Two.” He worked in partnership with multiple departments, practically and digitally, to pull off an entire galaxy with a big — but tight — budget. The name of the game was immersion, and Vermette helped create as much practical magic as possible via collaboration, creativity, and materials you might not expect.

“Patrice Vermette had to be very, very creative with space. The sets were like Transformers,” Denis Villeneuve explained in making-of footage. For example, in “Dune: Part One,” Duke Leto’s (Oscar Isaac) room doubles as Duncan Idaho’s (Jason Momoa) room. After the space was dressed for each character’s parts, lights and VFX were added to bring the scenes to life — and block out the wood scaffolding behind the sets. “We went old-school Hollywood,” Vermette told Elle Decor. And of Villeneuve’s immersive approach, he added, “I think it helps everyone on the team get into the mood of what we’re doing.”

Vermette and his team also used interesting materials to create ceilings for CG artists to better manipulate in post. During the lab scene, the spoked ceiling is made of fabric, which allows teams to better manipulate texture effects and actors to be lit naturally from sunlight above. Vermette also explained to Elle Decor that filming on the soundstages in Budapest had its difficulties. “The challenge was it was the rainy season,” he revealed. In addition to rain wetting the shoot’s considerable sand, he added, “There was the wind factor … our fabric ceiling had to be super tight.”

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