FX Review

FLUBBER - FX Credits - FX Review - Behind the Scenes - Stills

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The Flying Thunderbird
Williams powers his Thunderbird with Flubber magic, which allows his car to fly beyond the clouds. Perhaps the best shot of all the flying car sequences is the introductory shot, where the T-bird slowly flies from the garage over the camera. The most remarkable shots are scenes where the car hovers twenty feet over the city streets. In a terrific crane shot, the car is revealed to be floating down a city street, but not before the camera cranes through a tree. The headlights appear quite convincingly through the leaves that exist between the car and the camera, and the reflections in the ground convincingly place the car above the street. These shots

One of Dream Quest's countless flying Thunderbird shots. When a model or full scale car was used, meticulous detail had to be added, including reflections on the body of the vehicle, and the car's windshield.
advance upon the classic flying car shots in BACK TO THE FUTURE PART II, where a combination of full scale and model cars contributed to those flying shots. FLUBBER's T-bird shots go a step beyond those shots. Another fine shot, again involving the car at close range to the ground, occurs during the scene where the car zooms around the camera and lands in front of the bad guy's mansion.

The flying T-bird floats into the clouds in a series of fairytale-styled shots; although quite realistic, the intense moonlight, brightly lit clouds and playful motion of the car and cloud interactions take away some of the harsh reality of the scene. The shots vary from extreme wide shots of the car performing complicated maneuvers, to very tight shots of the car flying by the camera. In every shot, the headlights put out bright cones of light, sometimes a bit exaggerated, but always integrated into the shot.

In shots featuring Robin Williams elements, he was shot against a bluescreen sometimes in a full scale car on a motion base, and others solely with a steering wheel. This trickery is invisible to the viewer as these techniques, along with the use of model miniature cars and CG cars, all are used in tandem to create these convincing sequences. The background clouds, albiet stylized and quite puffy, along with foreground mist and clouds are realistically tracked into all the camera moves. The few daylight shots of the car hovering or flying overhead are also well composited and believable.

A particularly complicated shot of the car flying into a tree is hurt by the fact that the end of the shot features some distracting strobe effects, apparently caused by skip framing, which unfortunately adds a great deal of confusion to the shot.

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FLUBBER - FX Credits - FX Review - Behind the Scenes - Stills

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. . VFX HQ Produced by Todd Vaziri . . http://www.vfxhq.com . . e-mail: tvaziri@gmail.com . .
All text Copyright © 1998 Todd Vaziri, unless otherwise noted