In order to capture every conceivable angle of all these cars and the exciting action they
precipitated, Solomon and Levy used multiple cameras numbering from 18 to 42 for every single
take. The cameras ranged in size and format, including state-of-the-art digital RED Epics.
This amounted to an enormous amount of footage to store, organize, and track for
The reasoning behind having so many cameras was two-fold. First, the various
viewpoints opened the film up beyond the front seat of the car. Second, the Voice has multiple
viewpoints: he is watching them, both with cameras on the outside of the car as well as the
inside of the car. He's also tied into the city's street cams and all of the police computers so he
can see what the police cars are seeing.
Levy recalls, "We started off thinking mainly of just cameras in the car, but Courtney
wanted the film to have a larger canvas, so it became a hybrid of footage in the cars and
standard wider angle movie narration. It evolved to cameras in the cop car as well, so we
weren't always running away from the action but could sometimes move towards the action.
Then some street traffic cameras were added in order to give the audience a broader sense of
where they are in relation to the 'hero car.'"
Solomon adds, "Story-wise, it made sense to have cameras outside the car, because
our villain had rigged cameras on the Shelby so he could have complete control -- directing them
to do the things that he wants them to do while able to see the mayhem and damage they're
VIOS, small point-of-view cameras, accounted for the majority of cameras rigged on the
cars and earned the nickname "crash cams." They were also used remotely for intense
sequences that would otherwise be impossible and endanger the cameramen.
"We stuck about 70 VIOS in the middle of the street to get dynamic shots where the cars
literally drive over them. Sometimes they survived, and sometimes they didn't," Solomon nods.
The "hero car" became a moving camera platform. There were approximately 28
cameras, only four of them 7D, rigged on the car at certain points to create a 360-degree view
of what was going on inside and outside.
All the formats and angles meant coordinating and synching the many cameras for any
given scene and making sure certain beats in the story weren't lost. It was a demanding
logistical exercise for 1st
AC/cam systems consultant Neil Chartier.
"When we used 40 cameras at one point, Neil's head was spinning. We rigged cameras
all over the place, cameras on the cop cars, crash cams on the road, the RED cameras, the
7Ds... It just became this insanity. He said, 'No more cameras. I can't do it,'" Levy laughs.
During production, even as the action scenes were being filmed, editor Ryan Dufrene
was already assembling the massive amount of footage. He worked on a screen that was
divided into nine different segments, which displayed various angles from different cameras.
The film has somewhere around 6150 edits in it, as opposed to the average 1,600. This helped
achieve Solomon's goal of "having a frenetic energy, but at the same time, a steady emotional
Levy says, "Courtney wanted to create something visceral that would also have an
emotional impact and for it to be realistic was extremely important to him. So, that's the way we
Solomon and production designer Nate Jones had many discussions about the overall
look of the film, ultimately settling on a course that had Brent traveling to various pockets in the
Jones details, "Courtney wanted to emphasize the different areas by creating visual
detours in a sense -- bringing the viewer around tight corners, closing off streets and creating
visual tunnels of light."
Jones initially used tones that worked with the beautiful romantic architecture of Sofia,
turning up the intensity of color as the action escalated. Since the story is set during the holiday
season, his team also dressed the various streets for Christmas, including a festive park Brent plows through, skidding across an icy body of water and driving down steep steps, causing
Weather in the European city also became an obstacle. A storm hammered the
production for weeks. In a word, it was freezing.
Levy describes, "In Eastern Europe, in the wintertime, at night, you're freezing
everything off. Not one part of you is warm."
Jones admits the weather was a challenge, even altering a critical scene in which the
Kid is first introduced -- jumping into Brent's car brandishing a gun. The crew could not
physically make it to the location that Jones and his team had spent two days dressing so they
ended up shooting in an underground tunnel construction area. Similarly, filmmakers had to
brave inclement elements at a power station in the mountains, where one of Brent and the Kid's
inescapable assignments results in pyrotechnics and explosions.
As the clock continues to count down and the Voice sends the two on tasks that escalate
in peril, Solomon wanted to take the audience along with the Kid as she deconstructs the
Voice's true intent -- and her stunning revelation that the seemingly random tasks they have
been asked to perform are anything but. The night has been perfectly planned, and it all adds
up to one last, dangerous, momentous task that will take all their wits -- and Brent's driving
skills -- to survive.
Visual FX supervisor John Attard and his team created content for multiple computer
screens, including overhead city view sequences for the Voice's supercomputer map
sequences, as well as police map sequences and the Kid's iPad map sequences. They then
combined these with real-life helicopter footage of the city. Each map contains elements that
intertwine and help the Kid solve the dangerous puzzle of who is putting them through the
paces -- and why.
The Voice's computer screens and the content on it were also a crucial element since
his identity remains hidden for most of the film, and they reflect who he is and how he's
manipulating Brent. Attard and his team worked closely with Solomon to develop a screen that
would be in use today but slightly more advanced.
Solomon says, "We wanted the contrast of the chaos in the car with him calmly drinking
martinis and eating olives, watching from behind the safety of the screens."
Since the Voice was only shown in part, in addition to the technical gear, Solomon
wanted to establish visual clues with the Voice's clothing, which included a hat, scarf, and
Costume designer Roseanne Fiedler recalls, "I found a very intricate and masculine set
of cufflinks and a scarf with a strong pattern. His character needed to be well dressed; tasteful
and expensive. We didn't want everything to be all black or very dark, it was important to have
rich colors, because of his character's dark nature."
Alexis Scott in Los Angeles, and Irina Kotcheva in Bulgaria handled costumes for Hawke
and Gomez. Kotcheva describes, "They have different backgrounds, social and life experience
so we wanted to focus on that. For Brent we chose a smart, modest costume with smooth
colors and a bit of a pro touch; the leather jacket hints at his past as a professional driver. The
Kid, on the other hand, is a 'have-everything' teenager with a street-wise style, including denim
and layers that reflect a bit of a sports and music fan."
Kotcheva also dressed the crowds of extras decked out for the holiday. Another
component of the film indicative of the season was the ambient music.
Solomon observes, "We always liked the idea that every time you cut back to the Voice
you hear these mellow Christmas songs, which is such a contrast to the intense situation he's
The ironic punctuation of Christmas music, combined with classic rock ballads, was
accompanied by an original score composed by Justin Burnett which also accentuates the high-
octane chase sequences.
Solomon concludes, "We wanted to create dynamic action that would give the audience
the most exciting ride of their lives. It certainly was for us."
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