When I took my tour of ILM studios a few weeks back, I was lucky enough to get some behind-the-scenes info on the special effects and animation that went into making Iron Man; straight from the guys who worked on it. Unfortunately for me that only made it harder to wait until I could own my very own copy of the Summer blockbuster!
A small group of us got a special Q&A session with Ben Snow (VFX Supervisor), Hal Hickel (Animation Supervisor), and Aaron McBride (Art Director, who by the way is pretty much John Krasinski's twin, but with longer hair — this made it very hard to pay attention), and got some fun details on the Iron Man suit, the flying sequences, and how cool it was to work with director John Favreau. To check out some geeky-but-fun facts from the film, just read more.
- Although a full, tactile Iron Man suit was made for reference, they used visual effects for almost all of the scenes with Robert Downey Jr. in the suit.
- Iron Man was chock-full of visual effects! ILM produced about 400 of the 800 visual effects shots in the film.
- A bunch of the shots had to be filmed twice, once with the real Iron Man suit, and once as CGI.
- John Favreau wanted Iron Man to fly the opposite way that Superman does: "Superman takes off fast and lands slow, if you think about it. He takes off really fast and always comes down for those soft landings. Iron Man is the opposite. He takes off slow and lands fast," which makes total sense with the weight of his suit!
- The "Suit-Up sequence" (where those big arms place all of Iron Man's plates on Tony Stark's body) was completely CGI! They digitally placed Robert Downey Jr.'s head in to that scene.
- John Favreau is one cool dude. Not only does Buzz think he was the perfect man for the job, but he's easy to work with as well. All three guys said it was refreshing to have the director ask for input from the crew, since it made the project more fun for them, and more of a collaborative environment.
I think it's a safe bet that there's going to be a ton of extras on the DVD, including the ILM test shot of Iron Man — the first shot they ever produced for the film. Needless to say, I'm leaving work today on a mission — to get my own copy of the movie, STAT! I have lots more information to share with you from my day at ILM, so stay tuned for some insider info on the making of Indiana Jones: The Kingdom of the Crystal Skull!