Wednesday, June 3, 2015

CGI Pacific B-24s in 'Unbroken'

The recent film 'Unbroken' on the life of Louis Zamperini featured a significant section on his experiences as a Consolidated B-24 Liberator crewman in the Pacific, with several major incidents including a crash landing and being downed in the Pacific.

While there are currently two airworthy B-24s, understandably the film company chose to use majority of CGI (Computer Generated Imagery) for recreating the aircraft scenes, around a gimbal mounted B-24 replica fuselage to film the actors in the studio.

Much of the 'aerial' work was advised by my colleague Bob Livingstone, well-recognised B-24 authority, and he wrote up his experiences in a recent issue of Flightpath (Vol.26 No.3).


Here, the company Rodeo FX have put together a very interesting  showreel on the use of the CGI in the film, and I think it shows well the strengths of this often over-used and abused technology special effect, and, not incidentally, some of the weaknesses, not least unrealistic physics and motion. (Think about how an aircraft would pivot around a broken wheel, not against it, for one. And secondly, how a Zero's beam attack path really would work at the 200+mph speeds of a B-24.)  But these are, perhaps, nit pics. On the computer screen alone, many of these scenes are impressive and as presented here, fascinating to see how they're put together.

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