- VFX artist Todd Vaziri explains the challenges of creating the iconic freeway explosion scene in Mission: Impossible III, including the use of two cameras and the need to seam them together.
- The scene was difficult to make cohesive due to various factors, but the use of a stereo camera rig allowed for better fidelity and two pieces of negative to work with.
- Despite the difficulties, the scene remains memorable for its sudden timing, impressive stunts by Tom Cruise, and the inclusion of a rigged suitcase, showcasing the amount of work that went into creating it.
VFX artist Todd Vaziri explains how a filming goof in Mission: Impossible III made one of the movie’s most iconic shots difficult to create. Released in 2006, the threequel followed IMF agent Ethan Hunt (Tom Cruise) as he was forced to confront a brutal arms dealer intent on locating the mysterious Rabbit’s Foot. Along with Cruise, Mission: Impossible III starred Ving Rhames, Michelle Monaghan, Billy Crudup, Simon Pegg, and Philip Seymour Hoffman. Much like its predecessors, the movie was recognized for its action, and the freeway explosion that saw Hunt get thrown into a vehicle has become a particularly memorable sequence.
In Corridor Crew‘s latest video, Vaziri, a VFX artist from Industrial Light & Magic, reveals just how challenging that scene was to make. He noted the factors that went into shooting it, including the various cars and having Cruise perform his own stunts on wires. He then explained how there were two cameras being used simultaneously, which created “two pieces of negative” and issues related to their seam. Read Vaziri’s comments regarding that iconic moment in Mission: Impossible III below:
It was very difficult to put all the stuff together and make it a cohesive camera move… So they built a stereo camera rig with overlap so that we can basically have two motion picture cameras going at the same time. So I would have two pieces of negative to work with, which is wonderful, it’s great for fidelity. These also have to get now seamed together and if you look carefully, Tom goes across the seam, and the explosion goes across the seam. You can see the dolly tracks, you can see the sandbags, you can see the pads and everything like that, so this was a real tricky shot to put together.
What Makes This Mission: Impossible III Scene So Memorable?
While this installment may not feature the most dangerous stunt work in the Mission: Impossible franchise, that sequence remains memorable for its sudden timing. After capturing Owen Davian (Hoffman), Hunt attempts to transfer him by ground, only for a group of criminals to begin firing at their vehicle. As the bridge they were crossing falls apart, and Hunt finds it difficult to secure the arms dealer, he decides to counter-attack, but is targeted along the way, resulting in the massive explosion.
That action-packed scene also tracked Hunt’s efforts to secure a rifle, which he nearly lost upon getting thrown into a parked car. In addition to pulling off Cruise’s impressive stunt, Vaziri noted how difficult it was to include the suitcase too. In the video, he revealed that the object was rigged, and that there were grips on set who controlled its movement.
For franchise fans, the plot of Mission: Impossible III brought just as much excitement as its action did, though the freeway scene is likely considered the movie’s most iconic moment. It’s interesting to hear how much work went into that specific stunt, and that creating the entire sequence was almost impossible. Given how challenging it was to accomplish, it is worth wondering what the behind-the-scenes looked like for other installments as well.
Source: Corridor Crew