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How did they do the car shot in War of the Worlds?


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#1 razerfish

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Posted 02 July 2005 - 10:00 PM

When Tom Cruise is driving on the freeway, the camera stays on him from the outside. It circles the car, then rises up in the air and the car drives away from it.

Was it down with the camera attached to a helicopter?
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#2 Mark Allen

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Posted 02 July 2005 - 11:33 PM

That two minute section was a combination of many many many things though it seemed seemless.

The car was shot on greenscreen, the street was shot live. There are quite a few hidden cuts in there that you don't see - they could have shot it on a camera car with and then cut to a helicopter or high crane shot for the end. (I forget the last shot of the sequence.)

more information here: http://filmforce.ign...0/630567p1.html

and here: http://www.comingsoo...ws.php?id=10193

(links courtesy of www.vfxblog.com)
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#3 timHealy

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Posted 03 July 2005 - 01:46 AM

Mark is correct. it is a shot made up of several elements.


Most of the background shot was created by rigging eight cameras around a Jeep Wrangler. As it drove down the highway, it photographed the sides, front, rear, and from every corner of the vehicle.

They probably edited the pieces together in 3D animation program so it was a continuous running loop and they could pan around it as fast or as slow as they needed to.

I know on Spiderman they created what they called mosiacs where they would film say the skyline of NYC, but it wasn't all in one shot. They would do 5 secs of one area then pan a little, do another 5 secs of shot two, etc, etc. Then after the first row they would start row 2 overlapping the frames by just a little. They might do this 12 or 16 times and perhaps more. Thus capturing a much larger skyline. All of these loops would then be digitized and fed into a similiar software program that stitched them together and they would have a bigger skyline to work with later than what one shot would do. Add and animate Spiderman and adjust your background appropriately. Working on Spiderman Two on second unit, one of the special effects supervisors told me that the software even corrects for lens distortion at overlapping areas so you don't get any weird "How the West Was Won" abnormalities in perspective.

War of the Worlds did a similiar thing but it went completely around in complete circle. As long as all the shots overlap there is no problem.

But there was also another camera car used that was one of those high end luxury SUVs like an ML series Mercedes. This car had a fairly new remote head on a short crane arm all controled from inside the vehicle. I don't remember the manufacturer but it was state of art. It was odd seeing this crane arm mounted to such a vehicle, but I understand they needed the performance of the vehicle. So I think the beginning and the end of the shots were used with this. I think this crane arm may not have a limit as to how many times it can swing 360 degrees.

There was something about the shot that I think even though they may have done some shooting with the prop van driving down the highway, they also did plate shots with no cars on the actual roadway, but dead vehicles in the emergency lanes on both sides and they put cars on the street itself during the effects process where it was less dangerous. I thought that was effective.

I hope I have all this right but I am not an effects person. It would be great if one of the effects people actually answered these questions on the site. I was just doing my lighting/electrical work on the film, but I do pay attention and like to ask the effects people a question or two. If I have any of this wrong please correct me.

Tim
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#4 timHealy

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Posted 03 July 2005 - 02:00 AM

I forgot to add there was a helicopter there that day and it was used to shoot the beginning of the sequence and I believe it covered the end of the sequence as they drove away to Boston.

Tim
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