'Arrival' Oscar Nominees Denis Villeneuve and Bradford Young Describe the Alien Movie's 'Dirty Sci-Fi' (Exclusive)

Bradford Young has, in a few short years, become one of Hollywood’s most talented cinematographers, as proved by his sterling work on A Most Violent Year, Selma and now Denis Villeneuve’s Arrival, which is up for eight Oscars. Young himself has netted one of those eight nominations, making him the second black director of photography to ever compete for an Oscar for Best Cinematography. (Remi Adefarasin was the first for 1998’s Elizabeth.) And now we have an exclusive behind-the-scenes clip that shows how he collaborated with both Villeneuve and his production design team to craft the sci-fi epic’s stunning visuals.

Related: ‘Arrival’: An Astrophysicist Fact-Checks the Science and Gives It an ‘A’

In the above clip, Villeneuve and producer Shawn Levy explain that, because of their distaste for green-screen effects, they actually built the entire UFO tunnel through which Amy Adams travels to converse with the alien visitors of Arrival. Since that dark, womblike passage is illuminated only by a rectangular window of light, Young and his production team had to work hand-in-hand to make sure that both of their needs were ably satisfied. More interesting, however, is hearing Young discuss how he used the interplay between light and dark to create a contrast between his extraterrestrial and human characters — as well as his interest in having his imagery be “deeply personal and deeply internal, and at the same time be massively observational.”

For more of Young’s thoughts on his Oscar-nominated work, as well as Villeneuve’s “dirty sci-fi” approach to Arrival – which he wanted to feel like a gray, rainy Tuesday morning that kids would lament while riding the morning school bus – check out our exclusive clip above. Arrival is available on Digital HD now, and lands on Blu-ray and DVD on Feb. 14.

Watch Amy Adams and Jeremy Renner talk about Arrival’s ending: