First Man

A biopic about legendary American astronaut Neil Armstrong



Damien Chazelle

Based on

book by James R. Hansen


Damien Chazelle, Wyck Godfrey, Ryan Gosling, Marty Bowen

Production Companies

DreamWorks, Perfect World Pictures, Temple Hill Entertainment, Universal Pictures


Universal Pictures

Dneg VFX Supervisor

Paul Lambert

Dneg VFX Producer

Michelle Eisenreich

Release Date

12th October 2018


The riveting story of NASA’s mission to land a man on the moon, focusing on Neil Armstrong and the years 1961-1969. A visceral, first-person account, based on the book by James R. Hansen, the movie will explore the sacrifices and the cost—on Armstrong and on the nation—of one of the most dangerous missions in history.

Astonishing. The definitive take on a monumental moment in history – without ever losing sight of the man underneath the visor. EMPIRE

‘First Man’ gave us the opportunity to truly redefine what shooting ‘in camera’ really means.

As the primary VFX vendor for ‘First Man’ DNEG was tasked to create multiple rendered sequences in prep for use on a giant 60 foot wide by 35 foot tall curved 180 degree LED screen. The LED wall was the best option to get the clarity and brightness and capture as much in-camera as possible. It allowed us to shoot certain space and in-flight elements with our CG content to fit seamlessly within the boundaries of a film being shot 16mm & 35mm. While the astronauts were in the capsules, the X-15, Gemini or Apollo, they were mounted on 6 axis gimbals and shot in the foreground of the LED screen. In the VFX world we generally focus on creating visuals for single shots, most lasting between 5-15 seconds. The director, Damien Chazelle, did not want to be limited in this way. We had to create content for entire sequences, some lasting 10,000 frames. This allowed Damien to work with actors on any portion at any given time. In the beginning, we began rendering front and side views to the screen but quickly realised creating 360 spherical images gave us the most flexibility on the day, as we could rotate it in any direction. This was a challenging amount of work to complete before shooting even began.

Post shoot, we then had a large range of work across a variety of formats, 16mm, 35mm and 70mm IMAX which had to be ‘invisible’ VFX work that fit within the truly ‘out of this world’ look of the movie. This ranged from some wardrobe touchups through to environment enhancements, as well as some painstaking work restoring and even enhancing some of the original 1960-70’s archival footage. This also included some intensive FX work for some of the Apollo launch shots. All of this technically challenging work was run from DNEG Vancouver, with support from talented artists at our other offices around the globe.

Oscar® winning in-camera techniques

In early 2019 DNEG’s multiple award winning VFX Supervisor Paul Lambert and Tristan Myles, DFX Supervisor First Man, picked up the 91st Academy Award for Best Visual Effects for ‘First Man’. More on our Oscar win here.

VFX Featurette


Online press

FX Guide: First Man: DNEG Exclusive Video

IndieWire: Beyond Christopher Nolan: ‘First Man’ Redefines In-Camera VFX

LA Times: How ‘First Man’ director Damien Chazelle and his visual effects team took moviegoers to the moon

VFX Voice: FIRST MAN: An Effects Odyssey

Awards Circuit: VFX Supervisor Paul Lambert Describes the Arsenal of Techniques for Creating the Look of ‘First Man’

VFX Science: First Man – The Eagle has landed

ICG Magazine (page 56-67): Shoot the Moon

The Credits: First Man‘s VFX Supervisor on Archival Footage, In-Camera Effects & the Biggest LED Screen Ever

Awards Daily: Visual Effects Supervisor Paul Lambert Takes Us Behind The Scenes Of First Man

Visual Effects Society (video only accessible to VES members): First Man Presentation + Q&A with Paul Lambert, Ian Hunter, J.D. Schwalm

Animation World Network: One Small Step: Recreating the Historic Lunar Landing for ‘First Man’

Animation World Network: WATCH: In-Camera Effects Redefined for Oscar-Shortlisted ‘First Man’

Digital Trends: Oscar-winning FX master explains why ‘First Man’ is a giant leap for filmmaking

Studio Daily: Oscar-Nominated VFX Supervisor Paul Lambert on First Man

SHOOT Online: VFX Supervisors reflect on First Man, Christopher Robin and Isle of Dogs

Allegorithmic – Substance 3D: The Texturing of DNEG’s 2019 VFX Oscar-winning First Man

Animation World Network: WATCH: Michelle Eisenreich Talks ‘First Man’ In-Camera VFX at FMX 2019


The Hollywood Reporter: ‘First Man’ VFX Secrets Revealed in New ‘Behind the Screen’ Podcast

Next Best Picture: Behind The Scenes Look At The Visual Effects & Film Editing For ‘First Man’

DARK – Chats about Space, the Universe and Beyond: Paul Lambert – Creating Space with Oscar-winning Visual Effects Supervisor of First Man

Behind the VFX of First Man – breakdowns:

BBC Click: First Man: Behind the VFX (interview with Tristan Myles, DNEG DFX Supervisor)

New stunning ‘First Man’ VFX featurette is online!

‘The VFX of First Man’ video series Part 1-5 is live! Get a sneak peek at Part 1 here:





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