When you see the little speeder moving across the landscape, it’s
a completely digital shot. But because we’d been there, when we
recreated that moment, we did it from a physically-based approach.
I don’t know if J.J. [Abrams] knows how we constructed the images,
but he was at the location and he knew how it looked.
The other thing is that we photographed these events in a way that
I think did not cross the line of the impossible with complicated
camera moves. We made sure if you had a Millennium Falcon, this is
how you’d shoot it. We tried to photograph some kind of version of
all these events to give us a point of reference even if we threw
it away. One advantage I had in putting shots together in the
final movie is that I shot second unit. If a shot involved visual
effects, I knew what we’d need to achieve.
Amen. I would argue the single biggest crime in the digital VFX era is absurdly impossible camera movement. (Via Todd Vaziri.)