About The Location
Locations used included a power plant in Redondo Beach where the crew spent nine weeks of night shooting, the Sybil Brand Institute in Monterey Park, and the old Unocal Building which has been converted into a state-of-the-art studio facility now called the Los Angeles Center Stages. Other scenes were shot in Glendale, Torrance, Valley Village and downtown Los Angeles. Production designer David L. Snyder also created a vast set at the Universe of Hades at Universal Studios for the Stygian Penal Colony in the film.
"The great thing about a science-fiction movie is that all the normal rules don't necessarily apply in terms of how things look," says director of photography Robert
McLachlan. "It gives a cinematographer a lot of freedom in terms of how to shoot and how to express yourself visually. We're going to places that no one has ever been before. There's no one to say, 'Well, all the lights look like this and all the people look like that, and everything is this color or that color.' So it gives us a lot more leeway.
"The other great thing about futuristic locations is that the variety and contrast are exciting to play with." To demonstrate the differences between each parallel universe, McLach Ian used subtle hints with color while Snyder adjusted the design of the sets.
"In the prison sequence that opens the film in what we call Universe A, or the penal colony, we used lavender gels that gave it a really intense, futuristic color. From there we move to the universe that is somewhat more familiar to us, that looks a lot closer to the one that we live in, where there's a slightly different hue. When we're in the
Multiverse, it's somewhat subdued. In post-production we pulled a little bit of the color out of it, so it's a bit more monochromatic. Gabe's house is the only place that's really warm and cozy and inviting. In the Happy Universe the whole world is very intense, with saturated color and late afternoon light."
As Yulaw's power increases, he becomes a sort of superman. He's faster and stronger, and the filmmakers needed to find a way to convey this expansion of his powers on screen. "We decided to use a technique where Yulaw would look like a blur when he's moving at super speed," says Wong. "To do this, we changed the perception of how we see ourselves. When he's moving fast, we are moving much slower. In other words, we tried to slow down the world as he goes speeding by."
"I wanted to try and find a way to create within the camera an effect where Gabe and Yulaw looked like they were moving incredibly fast rather than using the conventional methods of slowing the camera down or computer graphics," says
McLachlan. "I remembered some tests that I'd done a long time ago with strobe lights that were designed
for photographing liquid. The technique has been used in very small amounts in TV commercials to freeze motion. The process gives you an incredibly sharp image because the exposure time of the strobe—it's like the flash on your still camera—pops at a very high rate of speed that arrests motion. What I also discovered was that if you combined the strobes with normal light, it produced both an incredibly sharp image and a very blurred image. We took this concept one step further when we strung together 30 of these strobes, which has never been done before, and put them all together in a big line. This created the effect where Yulaw is trying to evade the police and is actually running so fast that he's passing cars driving down the street. I'm really excited that we were able do it because it is an incredibly difficult and labor-intensive effect, but looks absolutely beautiful on screen."
Coordinating the martial arts and stunts with the visual effects team's strategy was paramount once filming began. Visual effects supervisor Eric Durst and effects producer Susan Zwerman oversaw the arduous t
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