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Bubbleship Gimbal
On Stage 6, the Bubbleship gimbal was constructed. Housing an identical replica of the Bubbleship cockpit -- though one without glass -- this rig was able to simulate air travel with the help of a green-screen background. Indeed, the VFX team later doctored in the landscape details and lighting variations. Similar to a ride at an amusement park, the cockpit (with two seats) was attached to a motion base.

On its axis, the gimbal can rotate 360 degrees; therefore, the effects of centrifugal force and gravity on Cruise and Kurylenko are obvious to the audience. Rams and hydraulics, with accumulators in the middle, made for 1,700-psi storage. When the computer-programmed and -controlled Bubbleship gimbal demanded a move, voltage was sent to command it to go either left to right or up and down. The gimbal's motion base resembles a flight simulator with six degrees of freedom and six cylinders that form a hexapod.

The gimbal rig was bolted to the ground and had the capacity of tilting to a 45-degree angle, 22 degrees up and 22 degrees down. For these moves, the cast wasn't required to wear a full harness, only a seat belt. With the expertise of special effects coordinator MICHAEL MEINARDUS and stunt coordinator Alonzo, the gimbal created the illusion that the cast was actually flying an aircraft.

The VFX team put in the cockpit glass and the rest of the Bubbleship -- as well as environments and landscapes that the craft flew through and across -- during postproduction. In fact, the backgrounds plates were shot in Iceland and are actual landscapes specific to the country. These plates were filmed precisely to match the Bubbleship action shot on stage and some were modified with visual effects after principal photography wrapped.

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