Watch: Andy Nicholson on creating ‘Gravity’s’ production design

“I approached designing this movie the same way I would a period piece,” says Andy Nicholson of “Gravity,” a film that looks not at all like an old costume drama set amidst ornate sets. But he believes the analogy is apt due to the space flick’s extraordinary attention to detail.

“When you’re designing sets for a big movie you’re very rarely going to have a camera a foot from everything you’re doing for long periods of time,” he adds. Nicholson is particularly proud of the scenes shot in the Russian Soyuz space station where “Gravity’s” audience can see the ship’s dashboard up close.

“The translations are accurate,” he says proudly to Gold Derby. “The sequence of buttons are accurate.”

Production preparation for “Gravity” began one year before filming. It involved extensive research and hiring space consultants. Multiple sets were built – 3D, proxy, real ones – involving constant interaction with director Alfonso Cuaron, the animation/ CGI teams and traditional set builders.

“We spent a lot of time dressing the interiors of the 3D sets,” he says. “That was a completely new process that’s never been done before.”

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