Shot Behind the Shot – A blindfolded Sandra Bullock braves the rapids in Bird Box

Before and after VFX from Netflix's Bird Box (2018)

(Above) A before and after VFX comparison from Netflix’s Bird Box (2018), which finds Sandra Bullock and two children traversing river rapids blindfolded. The movie is set in a creature-ridden post-apocalyptic nightmare where even a glimpse of the outside world results in almost instant death. The practical portions of the aquatic action were shot on location on the Smith River in Northern California. The water tank work was completed over the last two days of principle photography in a tank surrounded by 200′ of blue screen, with 300,000 gallons of water tinted to match the color of the Smith River.

The pics above come from the awesome site Art of VFX, which detailed the making of Bird Box via an interview with VFX Supervisor Marcus Taormina.

Check out more of the Shot Behind the Shot series here.

Behind the scenes of The Coen Brothers’ The Ballad of Buster Scruggs

Ballad of Buster Scruggs before and after VFX

A before-and-after visual effects comparison from “Mortal Remains,” the final chapter in the Coen Brothers’ Netflix western anthology film The Ballad of Buster Scruggs. While the other entries were shot on location across New Mexico, Colorado, and Nebraska, “Mortal Remains” and its spectral stagecoach ride were shot entirely on a soundstage. In keeping with the Coen’s reluctance to delve into the meaning of their work, even the film’s production designer Jess Gonchor wasn’t sure of the passengers’ fate.

“I still don’t know whether the characters in that story are dead or alive or just living in the afterlife,” said Gonchor in an interview with The LA Times. “The Coen brothers didn’t discuss it. We built these monochromatic super facades, which were lit from behind. It was a storybook version of what the afterlife might look like.”

The images above come from The Art of VFX’s interview with visual effects supervisor Michael Huber.

The Shot Behind the Shot – Elf (2003)

I found a few images of behind the scenes set-ups on the Blu-ray featurettes of Elf. They offer a glimpse into how cinematographer Greg Gardiner used forced perspective to create the illusion that Will Ferrell’s Buddy the Elf towers over his North Pole counterparts.

Check out more in the Shot Behind the Shot series.

The Shot Behind the Shot – Jaws 2 (1978)

Behind the scenes Jaws 2 ending

(Above) The set up for the shark’s fiery demise at the conclusion of Jaws 2 (1978). The production still comes from a collection of 180 set photos recently unearthed and published by the Northwest Florida Daily News. The sequel was shot on Florida’s Emerald Coast as opposed to the Martha’s Vineyard locations of Steven Spielberg’s 1975 original. Check out all of the set stills here.

The Shot Behind the Shot: On the set of Brian De Palma’s The Untouchables (1987)

(Above) Al Capone henchman Frank Nitti plummets to his death in this scene from Brian De Palma’s 1987 film The Untouchables. (Photo by unit stills photographer Zade Rosenthal)

The pic above – along with the one below from De Palma’s Battleship Potemkin homage shot at Chicago Union Station – comes from a recently republished article on The Untouchables from American Cinematographer magazine.

Check out more from our Shot Behind the Shot series.

The Shot Behind the Shot – Fahrenheit 451 (2018)

Behind the scenes of HBO's Fahrenheit 451

Behind the scenes of the HBO retelling of Ray Bradbury’s classic sci-fi cautionary tale Fahrenheit 451. Shot by cinematographer Kramer Morganthau on Panasonic’s 4K VariCam 35 with Panavision Super Speed and Ultra Speed legacy primes. The lighting units you see on frame right – both sitting on the ground and perched on the stand – are Arri SkyPanels.

The set pic on the left comes from American Cinematographer magazine’s feature on the film from the June issue, which you can read here.

Shot Behind the Shot: The Princess Bride (1987)

(Above) The Man in Black reveals his ambidextrous swordsmanship in 1987’s The Princess Bride. (Pic on the left via Behind the Clapperboard)

Here’s Mandy Patinkin on preparing for the scene, from an Entertainment Weekly oral history:

I knew that my job was to become the world’s greatest swordfighter. I trained for about two months in New York and then we went to London and Cary and I trained every day that we weren’t shooting for four months. There were no stunt men involved in any of the sword fights, except for one flip in the air.

A few more nuggets from that same oral history….

ROB REINER, director: I read the book when I was in my 20s, because I was a huge William Goldman fan. Then, after I had made a couple of pictures, Spinal Tap and The Sure Thing, I started thinking of The Princess Bride. I very naively thought I could make a movie, then I discovered that Francois Truffaut had tried and Norman Jewison had tried and Robert Redford had been involved — one after the other. No [studio] wanted to make a movie of The Princess Bride; nobody was interested in it. We kept tearing the budget down, I had to try to sell foreign rights and video rights, I had to cut my salary, I had to cut the cast’s salaries. It was crazy. I think we had, like, $16 million dollars, which even at the time wasn’t very much. In the script it said “the army of Florin” — I had seven people in the army of Florin.

WILLIAM GOLDMAN, writer of The Princess Bride novel (published in 1973) and screenplay: I had two little daughters, I think they were 7 and 4 at the time, and I said, “I’ll write you a story. What do you want it to be about?” One of them said “a princess” and the other one said “a bride.” I said, “That’ll be the title.”