When it comes to contemporary Hollywood films, there’s often more than meets the eye. We’re not just talking about an elaborate use of special effects and CGI, its those smaller more finite details that are so often easy to ignore.
On the set of any movie, along with the crew, actors and stunt doubles you’ll also have ‘extra’s’ – people like you and I paid to simply be a warm prop, background fodder if you will. A crowd milling about in a scene or a customer in a shop. Extra’s can get paid quite handsomely for just a few days work depending on the film. But when it comes to scenes involving giant crowds, how do the movie studios afford to pay all those individuals and how can you possibly direct 20,000 people?
The truth is, they don’t.
Thanks to the ingenious work of the Inflatable Crowd Company (talking about finding a niche in the industry) the majority of the ‘crowds’ you see in films are actually just inflatable or latex dolls. Filmed at a distance, add in a few noticeable facial features, wigs, props and some everyday clothes and you’ll find during the heat of the moment you won’t even notice the difference between ‘extras’ and their inanimate counterparts.
They are so believable in fact, that they’ve already been used in Iron Man 2, American Gangster, Seabiscuit, Blades of Glory, Ocean’s 13, The Prestige, Million Dollar Baby, Friday Night Lights, We Are Marshall, Contagion, The Fighter, The King’s Speech and Spiderman 3 – all without you even noticing.
Find out more about the illusionary work of The Inflatable Crowd Company and see lots more images from various film sets via their official site. Next time you’re watching a blockbuster, keep an eye out, you might just see their handywork.