Friday, August 28, 2020

Magazine Article: Cinefex Issue 63 (Part 3)

And now for the final part of the Cinefex article.

A rooftop POV of the Dark Knight leaping to a bridge far below featured a digital matte painting rendered in exaggerated perspective by Bob Scifo of WBIT. A digital Batman and cape, along with fog and smoke effects, were then composited into the background plate by PDI.  

At Two-Face's hideaway, girlfriend Sugar (Drew Barrymore) experiences the Riddler's latest device for stealing cerebral energy. Computer generated beams, consisting of a core of animated particles, were created by CIS and tracked into the live-action shot, along with a floating TV screen which was color-balanced digitally.  

The Riddler treats Two-Face to a jolt of stolen brain energy.

Matte artist Syd Dutton and cameraman Mark Sawicki of Illusion Arts prepare to shoot one of the matte paintings created for the film. The scene — an establishing shot of the Gotham Hippodrome where Batman first encounters Robin performing in a circus act — was enhanced by three-dimensional miniature statuary positioned in the foreground for added depth.  

Modelmaker Smokey Stover of Grant McCune Design completes work on a sixth-scale batwing used in a climactic battle scene. Built by Stover and Edward Lawton, the versatile plane was rigged to jettison its wings and convert conveniently into a batsub upon submerging in water.

A twelfth-scale batwing hangs on a miniature section of the batcave wall.

For an establishing shot of the Riddler's Claw Island lair, a miniature set was built and filmed motion control. Digital artists at CIS enhanced and composited the multiple passes required for the shot, combining elements such as lights, foreground and background smoke, layered laser effects and a synthetic sky.  

With his cape deployed like a parachute, Batman plummets six hundred feet in a breathtaking dive from the rooftop of a Gotham hotel. PDI accomplished the action digitally with a computer generated superhero and cape animated utilizing high-resolution motion capture data from a performing gymnast. The computer generated stuntman was then composited into free-fall background footage created digitally by WBIT.

Modelmakers add finishing touches to the ten-foot-tall Claw Island lair, setting for a climactic confrontation between Batman and his nemeses. The miniature set included welded steel columns representing an abandoned factory and a giant brain wave collector fashioned from a pyrex glass cone. Incoming energy waves captured by the collector would be realized through digitally enhanced laser effects designed and shot by Boyd Shermis and his team, then composited by CIS.  

Engineered at MetroLight Studios, the bat signal was given a dimensional look by distorting the digital cloud image onto which the computer generated signal was projected to create a slight rippling effect. Lead technical director Tomas Rosenfeldt, technical supervisor Jerry Weil and supervising producer John Folimer survey the results.

A miniature constructed by Grant McCune Design was used for an establishing shot of the Arkham Asylum, where the Riddler is at last fittingly consigned.

Friday, August 21, 2020

Batman Forever Merchandise Review - Hat and Scarf set from M&S

Apologies, in a silly mood this week. Here's my in-depth review of the M&S Hat and Scarf set. An indispensable piece of Batman Forever merchandise. After two and half years of doing this website I need to blow off some steam now and then. Normal (?) reviews will continue in a fortnight ;)

Friday, August 14, 2020

Magazine Article: Cinefex Issue 63 (Part 2)

And now for part 2 of the Cinefex article.

Two-Face sets the helicopter, with Batman aboard, on a collision course with Lady Gotham. A large-scale model of the statue is readied for a shot of the fiery crash.  

Effects crew members add last-minute detailing to one of several fiberglass heads built to accommodate multiple takes. Breakaway sections in the cheek were rigged to shatter when struck by the helicopter's spinning rotors. Upon filming, however, the crew discovered that the blades‘ cutting into the head caused the statue to buckle and warp, requiring a digital fix by PDI.

As with the billboard effect, the miniature helicopter is tail-mounted on a rod prior to being pushed into the statue to simulate the collision.

For an establishing fly- through over Gotham and into the headquarters of Wayne Enterprises, Warner Brothers Imaging Technology produced a wholly computer generated three-dimensional cityscape, complete with detailed skyscrapers and statuary.

Wayne Enterprises plant manager Fred Stickley (Ed Begley, Jr.) becomes an unwilling test subject for the Riddler's prototype invention — a television adapter that transforms video images into 3-D holograms while surreptitiously sapping brain waves. For a shot of three-dimensional fish emerging from a television screen, Composite Image Systems digitally extracted the fish from bluescreen tank photography and matted them into space. Color shifts and other surface treatments were added to link the fish with the video environment and simulate the signal beam breaking up.

The batmobile — altered from previous incarnations to include a more streamlined body, with sleek wings running down the canopy and rear fenders — was built full-scale and as a miniature by TFX. To promote the illusion of intense engine firepower, both miniature and life-size versions of the car were equipped with propane burners for spewing flame as the batmobile fires up to maximum power. Modelmaker Paul Ozzimo sculpts the body of a sixth-scale miniature used in several key scenes.  

Crew member David Beasley adds fuel to the model flame-car in preparation for a shot of the vehicle doing a wheelie down an alleyway.

Pursued by Two-Face and his cohorts, Batman escapes by deploying a grappling hook and cable and driving his batmobile straight up the side of a building. The shot was accomplished in miniature using the TFX sixth-scale vehicle on a like-scaled alleyway set built by Grant McCune Design.  

Friday, August 7, 2020

Batman Forever Merchandise Review - Power Beacon Batman figure from Kenner

This week we're looking at Power Beacon Batman - one of several light up figures with a tiny but powerful LED inside. For some reason this wasn't classed as a special "Deluxe" figure. Anyway, given the colourful neon cinematography of the film it makes a nice fit for the action figure line. The only downside is the very bulky cape which hides the AAA battery. This is a definite purchase for me because it's such a fun figure.