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Junkyard Excursions and HUD's

An E350 panel van seat finds new life as the base for our SR71 ejection seat

The Mach III team spent our Valentine's day the right way; at a junk yard! Saturday morning we set out to the local scrap yard to salvage parts for the rear of our SR-71 cockpit. Since we cannot film in the actual SR-71 we're building our own simulated cockpit. The rear of the SR-71 has a whole mess of exposed wiring and metal boxes. To simulate this, we cut up a few wiring harnesses and grabbed as many fuse boxes and radios as we could find.

For about $30 we were able to get a variety of parts that should fit the bill quite nicely. We also scooped up a car seat that will be re-built into the ejection seat.

Removing wires from a wiring harness

On the prowl

The loot

It all starts with the page! Planning shotlist for our next shoot.

Andy and I also spent a fare bit of time locking down the shot list for the American sequence of the film. Can't say much on the specifics at the moment, but our opening scene has me ecstatic to get behind the camera and shoot this thing! Our current shoot dates are March 3rd and 4th.

Compositing the HUD

On the VFX side of things, my primary focus this week was building the heads up display or HUD for the Swedish Fighter jets. Since the HUD is featured in the majority of the shots, it was imperative that it looked the part. I spent a long time researching the various aspects of a fighter jet HUD and tried to find a healthy balance of realism and Hollywood aesthetic in my design. Below is the actual Saab 37 HUD, as well as a few other select frames I used as inspiration.

Acutal Viggen HUD's

Harrier HUD


The image below is the first draft of the HUD I designed for the film.

JA 37 HUD for Mach III Ready for comp

HUD ready for animation in Nuke

I built the HUD through a combination of Illustrator and After Effects, then brought all the individual assets into Nuke and rigged them so they could be animated according to the needs of the shot. After I complete the animation for the shots, I plan to isolate the HUD on a black screen, film it with my BMCC, then composite the BMCC plate back into the shot. In theory this will pick up on all the subtle camera artifacts that you would receive if you were photographing an actual fighter jet HUD. Not sure if this idea will actually work, but it's something I will certainly be trying out. Check back next week to see the results of this technique! Follow us on instagram: @MachIIIMovie

Check back next Monday for our weekly updates!

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