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SPIDER-MAN

The Look of Spider Man
It was important to the filmmakers to root the world of Spider-Man in the real world of New York, where the story is set. This, however, presented its challenges:

"In order to make the story reverberate with the audience, I didn't feel that it was proper to have a super-stylized world like the comic book world you see in a lot of film translations of comics," explains Raimi. "This made it difficult stylistically, because if you place this fantastic, colorful character into the normal setting of New York, it's just too jarring. So, we took the edge off reality—there are parts of New York which are magical, so we created a whole city out of those realistic magical parts of New York. Most every building actually exists in Manhattan, but we shot them at magic hour, or added a little extra something to their design or architecture, or to the way the light hits them, in order to transform the environment."

"One of the design elements I tried to incorporate into the film as a whole is a sense of slightly over-scale and somewhat classical architecture," says Production Designer Neil Spisak, who led his team of artists, painters, construction personnel and plasterers in creating the atmosphere for the almost 100 Los Angeles and New York sets and locations required by the story. "Since much of the action takes place in mid-air, with Spider-Man swinging through the skyscrapers of New York, we created building tops and cornices closer to the upper architecture of the buildings, in areas not usually on view."

"Spider-Man's world is comprised mainly of the sky above Manhattan, so we scouted tons of New York rooftops," adds Director of Photography Don Burgess, ASC. "We got to see a whole side of New York that most people never get to see. We're bringing that to the film, and I think it's very exciting."

One of Burgess' chief lighting challenges for Spider-Man involved the intricate Times Square sequence, on which he worked closely with Sam Raimi, John Dykstra, ASC and Neil Spisak:

"I had to try to design a lighting thread that would keep the continuity throughout all of the different areas we would be shooting for the sequence," explains Burgess. "I had light studies done—still photographs taken of Times Square all day long in 15-minute increments to ascertain the best look for the scene. We executed that lighting concept on a sound stage, then replicated it in broad daylight on the Downey set. It was a huge challenge to make it all match and work together, and it ultimately worked out great."

Visual Effects Designer John Dykstra, ASC collaborated with director Sam Raimi on ascertaining how best to replicate the superhuman strengths, agility and movements of Spider-Man for the film—combining the actual abilities of Tobey Maguire with the state-of-the-art technology of computer-generated images.

Dykstra and his team labored on nearly 500 shots for Spider-Man. The look Dykstra achieved with his effects is gritty, in-your-face reality, not stylized or comic book-ish.

"When I joined the Spider-Man effort, I knew we had to have the flexibility to take the character to places that we couldn't really go—they're not going to let us fly down the street at 60 miles an hour and come within three feet of a balcony and dive down into traffic. I knew that we were going to have to create a virtual environment. The question then became, ‘how realistic can we make it look?' We needed the ability to mo

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