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War Of The Worlds


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#1 jdtranetzki

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Posted 03 May 2006 - 10:54 AM

Hi, I had posted this under off-topic but realized it may be better suited here in general discussion.

can someone explain how they managed the moving crane shot in van on the freeway...in Spielberg's "War Of The Worlds". If you remember the scene, just as they take the van from the shop and escape through the freeway not only is it a single continuous tracking shot but it moves in, through, and out the other side of the van in the moving crane, away from the van and close in again, and finally pulls up and away to reveal a long wideshot of the van on the freeway.

How did they do that? (specifically going in, through, and out the windows of the van to the other side without cutting?)

very, very curious. thanks.
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#2 Jason Debus

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Posted 03 May 2006 - 12:00 PM

There was some discussion about that shot in this thread:

Favorite shot of 2005

I love the fact that he captures the whole scene without any cuts while also keeping the tension, definitely my favorite shot in that film.
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#3 jdtranetzki

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Posted 03 May 2006 - 12:44 PM

There was some discussion about that shot in this thread:

Favorite shot of 2005

I love the fact that he captures the whole scene without any cuts while also keeping the tension, definitely my favorite shot in that film.


yeah. that was really something.

I assumed it would be a marriage of cgi and motion control. But then i heard it was an actual freeway.
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#4 Leo Anthony Vale

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Posted 03 May 2006 - 01:07 PM

yeah. that was really something.

I assumed it would be a marriage of cgi and motion control. But then i heard it was an actual freeway.


---There was a posting about this on CML. While it was an actual freeway, it was a background plate shot with 8 cameras in 360* configuation. & the car being on blue screen stage.

---LV
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#5 jdtranetzki

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Posted 03 May 2006 - 01:19 PM

---There was a posting about this on CML. While it was an actual freeway, it was a background plate shot with 8 cameras in 360* configuation. & the car being on blue screen stage.

---LV


hey, thanks. that explains it now. i can't say i'm a little disappointed and was hoping to hear it was purely mechanical in execution, but the ends justify the means, so to speak, and the emotion of the scene was so accessible.

on that note, i don't think there is anyone better in the relationship of the two- Steven Spielberg and Janusz Kaminski, in the usage of techniques to best deliver the emotion of a scene. the narrative and emotional undercurrent are rarely, if ever, muddled or lost to some device or another.
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#6 Jason Debus

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Posted 03 May 2006 - 02:06 PM

I found an interview with Dennis Muren where he talks about the sequence and how it was done:

CS!: At this point, do you have a team of people who do everything for you while you supervise or do you still get your hands dirty working at the computer?

Muren: I had to bring in another supervisor, Pablo Hellman, because there was no way that ILM could have kept the quality of the work up during the 8 months we had on the show. I took the sequences I wanted like the intersection, the ferryboat, and all the stuff that's going on at the end, and Pablo did a lot of stuff that was really important, too. He did the big car sequence that everybody loves. That was one of the most challenging ones, actually. That was made up of about nine pieces of film with invisible edits. It's all blue screen, but any department could have screwed that shot up. Tom and the actors were always shot on the stage, and then the car and backgrounds were shot. It was all just beautifully combined together into what looks like one shot. There's no way that you could shoot that for real. It's almost two and a half minutes, maybe a little longer than that.

CS!: Was this an idea that came up while on the set or was it planned in the storyboards?

Muren: No, that was planned way in advance. They had broken it down into like six shots, and shot each part separately, and it was all on a stage. The backgrounds were shot on a quarter or half mile on the freeway they had blocked off. I was telling Pablo that I think when this film shows to an effects audience in L.A, they're going to applaud that shot.

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#7 timHealy

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Posted 03 May 2006 - 02:07 PM

---There was a posting about this on CML. While it was an actual freeway, it was a background plate shot with 8 cameras in 360* configuation. & the car being on blue screen stage.

---LV


I worked on WOW and that is exactly how it was done. However in addition to the Jeep Wrangler that had the eight cameras for the background plate, they also used a small remotely controlled crane (I forget manufacturers name) mounted to the top of one of those Mercedes SUV's (or was it a BMW??, I forget). The crane was controled from inside the moving car as it traveled down the highway with the mini van. The small crane with the SUV gave the filmmakers a low profile where the camera car could be in front of the picture car and move around to the rear of the picture car during the shot and vice versa. A much easy feat than using a full sized camera car and a manually controled crane. And then of course these shots matched the movement that leads into and out of the van. And to top it all off, a helicopter was used as well for a few shots. They had it all covered.

In fact if you look carefully the camera trailer is parked right in the middle of the highway. You really can't discern it from all the other vehicles.

Best

Tim

Edited by heel_e, 03 May 2006 - 02:09 PM.

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#8 Brad Grimmett

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Posted 03 May 2006 - 02:15 PM

It was probably a Russian Arm on top of that Mercedes. Does that sound familiar Tim?
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#9 Peter J DeCrescenzo

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Posted 03 May 2006 - 02:48 PM

It was probably a Russian Arm on top of that Mercedes. Does that sound familiar Tim?

Was it something like this (I saw this at CineGear last year), or something smaller?
http://www.ultimatearm.com/index2.htm
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#10 timHealy

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Posted 03 May 2006 - 07:24 PM

I don't think it was either of those two cranes but it was similiar.

So here are two pictures from that highway on Staten Island, NY the day that scene was shot. One of the plate Jeep and the Mercedes with the crane on it. Perhaps someone knows who makes it.


Best

Tim
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#11 timHealy

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Posted 03 May 2006 - 07:48 PM

let me try that again....[attachment=1180:attachment]

and this one....


[attachment=1181:attachment]
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#12 James Steven Beverly

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Posted 03 May 2006 - 11:52 PM

It was probably a Russian Arm on top of that Mercedes. Does that sound familiar Tim?


Brad, what is a Russian arm? I've never heard that term before. Thanls
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#13 timHealy

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Posted 04 May 2006 - 12:11 AM

Yahoo search > russian arm = http://www.filmotechnic.net/

On second thought after looking at all the photos in their gallery, the one used on WOW could be one varient of the Russian arm.

But I am uncertain. Perhaps someone out in the forum knows.

Best

Tim
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#14 Brad Grimmett

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Posted 05 May 2006 - 02:50 PM

Yep, it's a Russian Arm. I've never used the Russian arm myself, but I know that it's controlled completely from inside the vehicle that it is mounted to and it's capable of high speed shots while moving the camera in any direction. I don't know exactly how it works though. Check their website for more info. The arm has become very popular over the last few years and I've only heard good things about it.
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