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Interview with Director Ben Burtt

Photo: David Allen NOVA: It's a great shot. How did you do it?

BURTT: This shot, which ends the sequence of course, gives one a great thrill on the big screen because you feel like you're falling right toward the street. And it was done in a very clever way. The entire set is a miniature city. These buildings are actually about 25 feet long and I say long because they weren't standing up. The buildings were laying horizontal so the camera could travel between them on a boom arm moving from the top of the building toward the street level below. But from the camera's point of view of course, you don't know whether you're travelling horizontally or vertically. You just Photo: tower on its side assume you're falling because of the nature of the set up and the feeling you get from it. It was shot one frame at a time. It was a form of animation where the camera would take a picture and then move slightly forward and take another picture and another picture. And therefore get you all the way down to the street.

This is a great shot for the large screen because it puts the audience right in that position, that point of view where you're hurdling from the top of a building right to the street below. The entire shot is in miniature, the city, the buildings, the street, the cars, everything was there in the shot at one time, but all miniaturized.

Photo: David Allen NOVA: How long does this shot run?

BURTT: It's, I think six seconds.


Photo Credits: (1-3) copyright 1996 WGBH Educational Foundation.

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