I just watched 'Into The Wild'. In the final scene the camera rotates around Chris' face, zooms out of the bus and zooms out showing the surrounding area above the bus. This link does not show the close-up rotation but should give an idea of what I am talking about.

How was this done without any cut? Or is it done using some Graphics/Editing?

1 Answer 1


This is what you're after: Into the Wild Visual Effects.

It is an interview with Jay Cassidy, who served as Editor for the film. Quoting part of the article:

From Close-up to Aerial in One Seamless Shot
The final moving shot starts out on a close-up Hirsch’s face... in the bus then pulls back through the window and rises up over the bus and continues up above until the bus is a mere speck on the screen. This proved to be the most challenging shot of the film for Entity FX. This was made harder because the shot, which actually combines a crane shot and helicopter shot, was done in the wrong order and one different days, one sunny and one rainy.

“A critical thing was that it was shot out of order,” explains Beck. “Ideally you shoot the helicopter first and then the crane move to match it up. But for a number of reasons it was shot the other way around. Pre-vis was really critical. We pre-viz’ed a number of different proposed moves and tried to suggest one that would work both technically and aesthetically. If you look at the last pre-vis and it looks an awful lot like the final. I went up to Alaska and was beating on the Akila guys to make the crane as long as possible to get as high as possible. We had an 82-foot crane that was pulling back from the close-up up as high as it could go. And then we shot the helicopter trying to match the position of the crane on a different day with different weather. So it was our job to match those two together.”

Obviously the crane shot was a lot smoother than the helocopter shot but thre were also differences in position and motion path. In order to smooth out the helicopter shot and to match the cameras, the two shots were transferred at 4K, which allowed them the flexibility to stabilized and push into the shots as needed.

“There was a lot of stabilization of the plates and stabilizing the scale,” explains Marty Taylor, VFX supervisor/lead compositor. “The crane finished below the height of the helicopter and the perspective was different, you saw more of the top of the bus in the helicopter shot than in the crane. This way we were able to lock the two plates together and stabilize and match them. From there figure out what we needed to add as CG elements and matte paintings.”

Because the shots were done on two different days under very different conditions, Entity had to essentially re-create large patches of the landscape.

“One day was rainy and the other day was dry,” recalls Taylor. “On the rainy day all he plants were knocked over and beaten by the rain. On the other shot the plants are dry and standing up. So we had to match that and then we had to make the propeller-wash disappear. The crane is nice and smooth and there’s no wind. Then you get to the helicopter portion and everything is blowing like crazy.”

Once the moves were matched Entity had to create 2D and 3D landscapes, and morph back and forth between those and the real landscape. In addition, Entity FX had to replace a road and production base camp with pristine Alaskan tundra.

“We refer to it as a matte painting but it was actually a 3D reconstruction because it was moving in perspective as the camera was pulling back,” notes Beck.

  • ...and all that work can now be done with a consumer drone. Commented Aug 22, 2020 at 8:59

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