Denis Villeneuve’s cerebral sci-fi Arrival surprised many last year and looks set for awards glory in February. It was voted the Best Film of 2016 by the online film writers community in our poll at the end of last year and made many of our top ten lists. Today we have a better look at some of the less visible artistry that went into making the film the spectacle it was.

The Quebec-based VFX house Oblique FX have been adding their touch of magic to recent projects such as this impeccable work on Villeneuve’s previous film Sicario. Their latest work, as seen in the full video below, gives an idea of the seamless integration of their VFX into the raw footage shot by the director. One notable aspect mentioned on the Reddit forums this was posted to today is the fact that the fog in the first shots featured here was captured in camera. This demonstrates perfectly why the best VFX work enhances and augments that which is caught by a fine DP.

Arrival Cast and Premiere Interviews

We’re big fans of the VFX breakdown videos which have been released on the internet. Acting as calling cards for the VFX houses they offer a much needed guide into the often-misunderstood world of the effect of CG on modern movies. We spoke to Independence Day: Resurgence director Roland Emmerich and VFX guru Volker Engel about their CG-heavy blockbuster and poured over these breakdown videos for 2015’s The Force Awakens to see how CG can enhance, rather than overwhelm, a Star Wars movie.

Arrival VFX breakdown

There’s also an enlightening interview we conducted with Chris Harvey, the VFX supervisor on Zero Dark Thirty, about secret helicopters and the ethics of fixing problems in post-production.

Here’s the full video,

Arrival VFX Breakdown video

Arrival – Making Of – Oblique FX from OBLIQUE FX on Vimeo.