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ride it first. "
I said "Trust me, you'll be safe. "
We were in Palenque.
Resources were virtually nonexistent.
To compound that,
Al did not make the second trip.
I had to improvise with local effects men.
Now for a counterweight...
How do you stop Arnold Schwarzenegger
coming down a hill? At 20 miles an hour?
We took ten men
and used them as a counterweight.
We calculated the weight with a double
so as he gets to the bottom,
they just slowly lift a foot or two
off the ground and gradually slow him.
Yes, primitive, but sometimes the simplest,
most basic way is the best. And the safest.
We had hands-on control similar
to the wirework being done today
on pictures like Crouching Tiger
and Iron Monkey.
So we rehearsed it several times.
Arnold watched and smiled.
The double said "Man, this is the e-ticket. "
Arnold said "This is fucking great!
OK, Bax, but if anything happens... "
Well, my fault: The double weighed
about 20 pounds less than Arnold.
So when Arnold went down that hill,
and got to the last 25%/ of the track,
I see the men going up, up, up,
and they're now, like,
six or seven feet off the ground.
I've got stunt guys grabbing them
and pulling them back down.
The cart, nearing the end,
was about to come up off the track.
As the stuntmen pulled, the cart
came back down. Arnold said "Craig... "
I said "There was never a question, Arnold. "
"We knew exactly what we were doing. "
Editor Mark Helfrich on cutting effects
sequences without finished opticals:
That's an internal-pacing issue.
I think editors have to go with their gut.
There are so many films nowadays
where you're cutting against nothing,
against a blue screen, against
a creature that will be added later.
You just have to imagine what's going to be.
When Poncho is shot in the head,
I just kept cutting to a tree branch,
but that pacing is the same
that's in the movie now.
Co-Supervising Sound Editor
Richard L Anderson:
The problem in all these sci-fi movies is
the opticals or special effects
always come in at the last minute.
Of course, a lot of times
we have to cut sound effects to them.
And we're really down to the last moment
because as late as they turn the optical over,
we have to be later to add sound effects.
Co-Supervising Sound Editor David Stone:
My favourite thing was the shoulder gun.
Remember how it moves independently
when it aims at something?
It reminded us of Peter Sellers
with a rubber parrot on his shoulder,
so we ended up calling it the "parrot gun".
It had the most wonderful angry,
science-fiction, sneering, spitting feel to it.
When we first started seeing those opticals,
McTiernan made a big point about
how it was both organic and technological.
(Anderson) When he has the helmet on,
there's a constant sound,
a kind of a whirring, buzzing sound,
which is the technology part.
The other part is his heartbeat.
(Stone) John P and I spent an afternoon
squashing sponges in glass jars
with our fists,
mushing 'em in different solutions,
trying to make what we imagined
this alien heart would be.
We were trying to come up with what
people would perceive as a heartbeat
but would be unfamiliar in some way,
whether it was rhythm or pitch or something.
(Anderson) I think it had real heartbeats
mixed in, broken into a weird rhythm.
(Stone) Then P did
some sweetening and altering
so it didn't sound like John and Dave's
hands in ajar squooshing sponges.
A sweetener is another
sound effect which you've crafted
to work along with the original
basic recording of an object
to make it have
the dramatic effect that you want.
(Anderson) The musical equivalent
would be if you were playing a piano
and then said "I'm looking for a bird
quality to go with it. Let's add a flute. "
If the piano was the main thing,
the flute would be a sweetener.
(Stone) John P is also a visual artist.


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