Saturday, 29 December 2018

Bombardier 1943

Received an Academy Award nomination for special effects in 1944. The special effects supervisor was Vernon L.Walker.

A large miniature Japanese military base was built on the ground along with a specially constructed 90 foot (27.4m) camera boom for aerial camera shots. The boom was on a trolley that could be moved along tracks laid alongside the miniature as a series of charges and fireballs were detonated simulating the bombing raid. Close up ground view shots of the destruction were also added into the sequence. In fact the explosions are so severe that in close up the miniature vehicles and buildings are there one frame and totally disintegrated the next.

Miniature Japanese base. Note the tracks laid down the left side for the boom trolley to travel on.

90 foot (27.4m) camera boom. Camera person sitting on top of the boom at left.

Large scale miniatures on fire. Note effects technician in the foreground.

The flying sequence shots show the occasional support wires particularly when the explosions make a bright local light source. The flying sequence backgrounds are generally process rear screen projections of camera plane footage.

Some scenes feature hand animated tracer fire and searchlight beams. These would have been drawn in black on animation paper and shot on an animation stand as a negative which is then burnt in on an optical printer.

Animated searchlight beams.

Hand drawn and animated tracer fire.

Wires show up in the bright illumination of the explosion.

Aircraft miniature, here one frame...

...totally obliterated the next.

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