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Island Hopping
"The Island” takes place in two distinct worlds—the regimented, monochromatic, manufactured world of the institute's residential facility, dubbed Centerville by the filmmakers, and the colorful, unpredictable world outside. Every aspect of the production was deliberately crafted to reflect the disparate natures of these two milieus.

Director of photography Mauro Fiore says that he and Michael Bay discussed how to modify the lighting and the camera work to convey the division. "The underground environment is artificially lit, so we wanted it to feel very clinical…much more about white light, lacking in color. But when the agnates discover the outside world, there is an oversaturation of color because they are experiencing the sun and nature for the first time. We wanted to maintain that contrast with the camera as well. In the beginning of the film, we are in this controlled environment, so our approach was to not move the camera in any chaotic way and to keep it more formal and objective. Later, as we get into the outside world, the approach was much more kinetic and subjective, using more hand-held cameras.”

Filming on "The Island” began in fall 2004 in the deserts of California and Nevada, where Lincoln and Jordan first emerge from the containment facility into the world above. Walter Parkes offers, "Michael liked the idea that when the characters first escape from their confinement, they are in an inhospitable world—not one that's been destroyed by pollution, but in no way welcoming. It gives us a two-step reveal. First they come out and realize they are able to breathe the air, but it is still the threatening landscape of the southwestern desert. Then, when they get to Los Angeles, they are like kids in a candy store. It's a world they could never even have imagined.”

During post production, visual effects supervisor Eric Brevig and the effects team from Industrial Light & Magic would embellish the barren desert landscape. They digitally added 100-foot wide intake fans that keep the secret facility below ventilated, as well as the futuristic mag-lev train, which transports Lincoln and Jordan to Los Angeles.

The desert locations served as the backdrop for the first of many sequences involving the talents of frequent Michael Bay collaborator Alan Purwin, the film's aerial coordinator, and his team of fellow pilots. Purwin's helicopters were used both on camera by Laurent's security team in their pursuit of the escaped agnates, and off camera to provide the dramatic air-to-ground and air-to-air aerial photography. The black choppers in Laurent's unit, called Whispers, marked the film debut of the state-of-the-art Eurocopter EC120, one of the quietest helicopters ever made, which is equipped with the latest in hi-tech gadgetry and can easily cruise at speeds of 150 miles per hour.

After a week of desert filming, the cast and crew relocated to Detroit, Michigan, which doubled for the Los Angeles of the not-too-distant future. Producer Ian Bryce says, "We scouted all over the country to find a city that could ‘play' Los Angeles, and found Detroit to be the closest aesthetic match to downtown L.A. in terms of the architecture. The city was also very flexible and gave us a great deal of cooperation and control.” Bay adds, "Detroit is reminiscent of Los Angeles, and they were amazing enough to let me shut down eight blocks at a time and control the streets for as long as I needed to. I really liked shooting in Detroit…except for the cold,” allows the Los Angeles born-and-bred director.

Beginning several weeks ahead of the main company's arrival in Detroit, the design team redressed areas of the city, fitting them with appropriate signage and other trappings of a near-future urban metropolis. Production designer Nigel Phelps observes, "Detroit has a classic, timeless look, which made it a perfect canvas. We brought in all of the slight

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