Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Transformers Wingsuits: No CGI Required

A buzzy promo for the movie features a behind-the-scenes look at a group of precision skydivers who wear "wingsuits" while soaring through the air at around 150 miles per hour. The wingsuits, which look a lot like something Batman might use, allow brave souls to maneuver around tall objects, like, oh, say, the Sears Tower. Indeed, one of the most impressive stunts in the movie is exactly that. Move over, special effects artists.

According to the video, Michael Bay first saw the jumping team on "60 Minutes." The action director decided then and there to put them in "Transformers 3." In the video, which you can watch below, the team jumps off skyscrapers and out of helicopters, twisting and turning through downtown Chicago with amazing precision. These jumps have been done before, but never in a city, where tall buildings present logistical -- not to mention life-and-death -- challenges.

To effectively capture the scene, Bay attached a 3D camera to the helmet of one of the jumpers. In an interview with, Bay remarked, "I got five guys and we wrote this scene around them. We had them going through the alleys and buildings of Chicago, going around buildings. How did the city allow any of that, I have no idea? I've never heard of a city approving anything like that." And make no mistake, this was a dangerous stunt. Bay said, "They jumped over three and a half weekends, and did six jumps a day. But I was more worried about the base-jumping. Each guy has to pull off a different elevation so they don't crash into each other."

According to an article from The Hollywood Reporter, star Shia LaBeouf was caught be surprise when the stunts were filmed. He "was eating breakfast... at the Trump building when he saw four men fall by his window."

While some of the background explosions may have gotten help from the special effects department, the producers of the film want you to know that the guys in wing suits are 100% real. Of course, it goes without saying: Don't try this at home (or at the office).


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