Hollywood director Ridley Scott has revealed the integral role played by tough GoPro cameras in the making and storyline of his new film ‘The Martian’

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Matt Damon in The Martian, filming himself on a GoPro

Starring Matt Damon and directed by Ridley Scott, the new film The Martian tells a story of an astronaut forced to survive alone on the red planet – and does so in part using the humble GoPro Hero 4.

Scott, known for creating stunningly visual films such as 1982’s groundbreaking Blade Runner, said, ‘We used GoPro cameras in several of our biggest scenes in The Martian, and they really allowed us to capture not only the intensity and suspense of these moments, but also the intimacy of the characters themselves.’

The initial idea for using the GoPro came about when Scott and the crew were casting about for something Damon’s character could take with him everywhere that would also record what he was doing – sort of like a black box on an aeroplane.

The film is an adaptation of a novel by Andy Weir, which is told in the first-person perspective of its astronaut protagonist and thus does not feature an abundance of dialogue.

The solution for the film was to have Damon’s character using the GoPro as a companion, someone to talk to – not dissimilar to the way that Tom Hanks’ character in the film Castaway uses the volleyball that he names ‘Wilson’.

‘I ended up using these cameras in a way I didn’t expect,’ said Scott. ‘They became a character in the movie; they were mounted on the astronauts; Matt’s character actually records all of his video logs on them in the habitat. Small details that helped drive aspects of the story forward and gave the world an extra layer of authenticity and familiarity.’

On YouTube GoPro has released a glimpse of a day in the life of Matt Damon’s character Mark Watney, filmed of course on its own action cameras. See below:

The Martian is out in cinemas now.

 

  • Gery Teague

    I really enjoyed reading this article. Just wanted to note that it was a volleyball named Wilson in the film Castaway. Thanks again for the great article.

  • Yeah the first thing I noticed was that although the GoPro was highly recognizable by it’s form-factor they conspicuously covered the “Hero 4” logo with a bar code in the movie, as if they were deliberately concealing or downplaying the identity of the GoPro product. And then there was another helmet mounted action camera that looks remarkably like a Sony product. This is unusual considering the conspicuous prevalence of brand names in the movie like Taiwanese AOC computer monitors where they did not obscure the brand logo.