Study Guide

Thor Production Design

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Production Design

Digital Film

Thor arrived when Hollywood was seriously falling in love with 3D. (Giant take-all-your-money monster hits like Avatar and Alice in Wonderland will do that for you.)

That meant filming with digital cameras: ones that didn't use any film and instead caught all the shots on a hard drive. That made it easier to get that whole 3-D thing going, as well as adding the staggering number of computer effects shots they needed to get the whole thing to work.

As Branagh explains:

"We came to feel that in our case 3-D could be the very good friend of story and character for a different kind of experience." (Source)

So everything was shiny and new on the Thor set, taking advantage of a recent technological advancement to help all those flying hammers and space vistas really pop out of the screen.

But in addition to the new-fangled computer magic, Branagh used a number of more old-fashioned techniques to bring the story to life. Mainly, he paid very close attention to the look and the feel or comic books, and set about to craft his movie in their image.

Some of his techniques are obvious, like basing the visual look of Asgard on classic comic book artists like Jack Kirby (more on that in the Setting section). But others are subtler. For example, notice how he frames a lot of his shots at an angle, like here.

That's not a mistakeā€¦or a sneaky way of getting in a close-up. Comic books do the exact same thing in their frames, it helps add a dynamic feeling to all the biffs and the pows, as we as drawing the reader's eye quite naturally to the next frame.

It makes things feel action-oriented, even when people are just sitting around talking, and it preserves the sense of reading a comic book, even though you're staring at a gigantic screen. That's why you hire directors like Branagh for movies like these: the man pays attention.

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