THE PARENT TRAP
In order to make two twin sisters out of one Lindsay Lohan, the filmmakers utilized state-of-the-art visual effects techniques and hired veteran director of photography Dean Cundey to oversee the process
In order to make two twin sisters out of one Lindsay Lohan, the filmmakers utilized state-of-the-art visual effects techniques and hired veteran director of photography Dean Cundey to oversee the process.
"Nancy and I had never done a heavy effects movie and Dean Cundey has done so many big effects films," says Shyer. "We wanted to be in the hands of a master, somebody who wouldn't be thrown by all the visual effects. He helped us kick the movie up a notch."
Meyers agrees, "Dean Cundey has shot very big scale movies which for the most part have been very technical. So he was a great asset to have on our team. We obviously only have one Lindsay and yet she appears in tandem over a hundred times in the movie. It's been great to have Dean with us since he's done so many of these kinds of shots before in "Back to the Future," "Who Framed Roger Rabbit" and "Jurassic Park." He made the effects shots fun for me and the actors and he helped us keep the shots inventive."
"In the original film, people were fascinated by seeing two Hayley Millses on the screen at the same time, but their techniques were extremely limited," explains Cundey.
In 1961, the only way to accomplish the side-by-side tandem shot was by using a locked-off camera with a straight split-screen, with an almost-visible line right down the center of the shot. In 1998, motion control cameras, digital compositing, advanced ear pieces and gifted technicians can create the illusion of twins in a much more natural setting.
"Audiences today are used to more sophisticated visual effects. They must be seamless," says Cundey. "We're no longer limited by the technology. It's just a tool. We can in fact, be a lot more fluid in the way the camera moves to give the audience the illusion that they are watching a regular film with no limitations."
In just the last three to five years the computers have become significantly smaller, faster, and less cumbersome. Motion control technology has now become a valuable filmmaking tool. However, Walt Disney Pictures' "The Parent Trap" is putting two characters in multiple indoor and outdoor settings, not just in one room. Also the motion control system created for this film is more sound-friendly: with gears, hydraulics and electric motors that have been made to operate more quietly.
Basically, a scene utilizing motion control techniques is shot in two passes: the A pass and the B pass.
When the filmmakers are satisfied with a good take on the Annie/A pass, the shot is locked. Lohan will then change hairstyle, make-up and wardrobe and return to the set to shoot the Hallie/B pass.
On the A pass, the camera operator and dolly grip "teach" the motion control computer the pan, tilt, track, boom and focus moves. On the B pass, the Cooper software will play back the camera moves exactly as they were done on the first pass to within about a 1,000th of an inch accuracy.
During each pass, a stand-in acts opposite Lohan to aid her with eyeline, timing and blocking. With the aid of the state-of-the-art ear wig that plays back her Annie performance in her ear only, Lohan can perfectly time the delivery of her Hallie lines on the B pass.
"It helps when the actress understands the process enough to know that she will be talking to a suspended tennis ball instead of a human being," laughs visual effects su
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