Directed by Simon West

Visual Effects Produced by:

DREAM QUEST IMAGES, Visual Effects Supervisor: David Goldberg



Nominated for one 1997 VFX HQ Awards: Best Matte Paintings.

Abbreviated Review

Jerry Bruckheimer, the producer of such high-voltage action pictures as THE ROCK, CRIMSON TIDE and TOP GUN, presents CON-AIR, another visual effects-filled action film. CON-AIR features some brilliant digital effects from Dream Quest Images, supervised by David Goldberg, as well as some digital matte paintings from Matte World Digital and digital composites by Computer Film Company.

The vast majority of the effects concern the actions in and surrounding the hijacked airliner, a C-123. A massive amount of motion-control photography was made for the film--a miniature plane was shot against a greenscreen on a motion control stage. The plane element was then digitally composited into live-action background plates.

Matte World Digital provided this digital matte painting for CON-AIR, significantly and invisibly expanding the airplane graveyard location.

A fantastic sequence takes place as the C-123 flies through the air while a vintage Corvette flies tethered behind the plane. A CGI Corvette was created for numerous shots, and looks quite photorealistic. The reflections on the windshield really sell the effect.

The plane eventually lands on the Las Vegas strip, causing an enormous amount of damage--since the filmmakers couldn't actually land their plane in the city, an enormous miniature set was built. The city street and plane were recreated and shot at high speeds to simulate the impact of a full scale C-123 landing on a real street.


The hijacked plane makes a dangerous approach to land right in the center of Las Vegas. Many of the plane shots were executed with traditional motion control elements.

The film features some extraordinary sequences of a hijacked airliner landing in the streets of Las Vegas.


The hijacked C-123 makes its landing along the Las Vegas strip. These sequences were made with a combination of model miniature planes and streets, as well as the compositing of full size elements.

Matte World Digital created some absolutely brilliant digital matte paintings to extend the desert aircraft graveyard--their work is 100% invisible. Computer Film Company contributed many digital composites for the end sequence of the C-123 landing in Las Vegas.

CON-AIR is a fun-filled, violent film with some wonderful visual effects sequences. It represents yet another triumph for Dream Quest Images, and their highly successful collaboration with producer Jerry Bruckheimer; the two worked together on the visual effects films, CRIMSON TIDE and THE ROCK.

Official Web Site:
Check out Cinefex 70.
Check out American Cinematographer June '96.

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