Sunday, November 6, 2011

HBO's take on WWII

In 2001, Tom Hanks and Stephen Spielberg teamed up to created the 11 part mini series Band of Brothers on HBO. Hanks was the main producer, but was grateful to have Spielberg on board because his film Saving Private Ryan was made about a similar time period. After viewing the first 4 episodes, I can definitely see some similarities in the two works.

One effect that is especially effective in both is the camera wiggle that is applied to virtually every shot inside of the battle scenes. I have just finished the second disc of the collection and one specific scene especially sticks out for comparison. In the third episode there is a battle of Carentan. This was very similar to a town invasion scene in Saving Private Ryan. In this scene, Easy Company is working together with other battalions to attack the town of Carentan. This is due to the retreat of German forces to this town because of the American attack the day before. In this scene there are massive explosions, lots of gunfire, and many deaths. This is one of the most realistic battle scenes I have seen in a while. Maybe its because it was on Blu-Ray which, for everyone reading this, is an absolute must to get the 100% full effect of the series.

After reading about specific special effects they used, I found that most of the battle scenes where truly realistic and most of the actors actually did their own stunts. Most of the soldiers were rigged with vest that made tiny reactions to look like bullets hitting them. The stunt coordinators had to use manual triggers because the amount of gun shots in the scenes were too much.

See if you guys can pick out the shots that look to be modified in post production or with the use of some green screen. I definitely believe their are a bunch. All in all the amount that goes into a production like this is really unbelievable and both Saving Private Ryan and Band of Brothers seem to give an accurate representation of what these wars and battles were like.

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