Queens Midtown Tunnel


Men in Black - a true groundbreaking Blockbuster in all areas of production.
Under the direction of visual effects supervisor Eric Brevig, 'Industrial Light & Magic' was
engaged to craft more than 200 effects shots.
We will take a look behind the scenes of the 'ILM' model shop 'tunnel unit' and their efforts 
to manage the supercar 'flight' through the Queens Midtown Tunnel in miniature.
Oh, by the way, may I ask you if you remember the little red button...

Agent K (Tommy Lee Jones) and Agent J (Will Smith) race into the Queens Midtown Tunnel.

A bluescreen shot of the Ford Crown LTD. Pat Turner was the dop for the bluescreen scenes.
The tunnel is packed. No problem for Agent K: 'Push the little red button'.
Ford Crown - Supercar transformation.
The CG supercar model was built and animated by ILM expert Simon Cheung under
the supervision of John Berton.
Aaaahhhhhhhhh... and remember to put on a seat belt!
With jet engine power under the tunnel ceiling. 
The conversation between the two in this scene has a wonderful sense of humor.
The entire movie is transmitting a splendid humorous tone.
This scene was filmed by using a special Ford 'cockpit mockup' in front of a bluescreen.
Positioning and timing must be very precise for this composite scene.
A crowded tunnel model miniature. The'ILM' model shop crew, supervisor Steve Gawley and 
chief model maker Chris Reed, built a fantastic 1:8 scale miniature set.
The tunnel miniature measured about 3 feet in width, 96 feet in length and stood nearly
twenty inches tall.
The CG Ford/Supercar was composited into the miniature tunnel footage of Pat Sweeney.
'Tunnel unit' dop Patrick 'Pat' Sweeney prepares a motion control shot.
The roof of the tunnel miniature had doors allowing camera access.
"With exposure times of 18 seconds per frame, it took about an hour to go from one end 
to the other", says Pat Sweeney in 'Cinefex #70'.
Almost 50 very detailed car miniatures, in a 1:8 scale, were built by 
Steve Gawley and the model shop crew.
Model makers at work. Who are these guys? Jeff Brewer might be the guy on the right side.
Who is the model maker working on the Taxi?
The NYC Taxi and several other cars are built in very great detail, with realistic traces 
like dirt, small fender benders and stuff like that.
These are the ones you see in close-up in the tunnel scene.
The detailed Taxi model in the finished movie scene.
The CG Supercar races under the tunnel ceiling.
The Industrial Light & Magic model shop.
Look at the packed 'Men in Black' car park, only a few places left.
Model shop supervisor Steve Gawley holds a real treasure in his hand, a Jaguar E-Type.
What a car!
A tow truck made of epoxy resin. Dop Pat Sweeney.
Model shop supervisor Steve Gawley - The 'MIB' 1:8 scale tunnel miniature.
Agent K singing the Elvis hit 'Promised Land' during the ride under the tunnel ceiling.
This is so great...!
"You're much too tense. You are a young man, you need to relax.
Learn to take some joy in your work .... do you like music?"
Brilliant!
'Supercar' view into the tunnel. The models have working headlights, tail lights and other gimmicks (shining Taxi sign,..).
... a tire has a puncture!?
The whole minature tunnel sequence boasts a first-class job. 
A fantastic work of the 'ILM' model shop crew!
Dop Pat Sweeney with final preparations.

Many other 'MIB' stories are already scheduled - Hundreds of great photos!
You get what you expect ... and some nice extras!
For example a great story about the 'MIB' production design and its clear reference to the
world famous Finnish architect and designer Eero Saarinen.
This photo shows the 'MIB' headquarter - pure Eero Saarinen!

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