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Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull Behind the Scenes Info

Behind the Scenes at ILM: The Making of Indiana Jones

It's been 19 years since we last saw Indiana Jones — who just so happens to be one of my favorite heroes in film — so I was stoked to see the latest installment to hit the big screen. However, I'm even more excited to take home my own copy of the film tonight to add to my collection. Not only to relive the adventure, but to see the extras that come with the DVD!


During my visit to the ILM studios, I was not only treated to some juicy behind the scenes info on the making of Iron Man, but also got the inside scoop on the making of Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull. We chatted with Visual Effects Supervisor Pablo Helman and Art Director Christian Alzmann here in San Francisco a few weeks ago, and talked about the challenges of movie making, and how visual effects really enhance film. To see what they offered up, just read more.

  • Scenes for the film were shot in Hawaii, Russia, Brazil, and New Mexico.
  • Although there were a lot of special effects used in the blockbuster, Pablo Helman (Visual Effects Supervisor) wanted to use real landscapes and location shots whenever possible — usually he used at least 50 percent of actual footage, with the rest being visual effects.


  • The nuclear bomb scene in the first half of the film was shot using miniature models — the entire town was scaled down, except for the one house Indy ran into to hide from the bomb.
  • The chase scene through the jungle contained a huge number of visual effects. The road they were driving on was in Hawaii, but the cliffs were pieced in from shots they took in Brazil.
  • The attacking ants were programmed with artificial intelligence, so the animators didn't have to animate every single ant's path.
  • To get the special effects right for the Maccupiccu scenes, a photographer was sent on location to photograph the landscape for three days. Later, animators and visual effects designers could match the light, contours, and backgrounds to the photos, since the Maccupiccu scenes were shot on a set.
  • Interesting, but obvious: George Lucas prefers working with special effects, whereas Steven Spielberg likes to work with actual film and footage.

Will you be getting your copy of the DVD today? You know where I'll be after work!

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