Sharlto Co­p­ley’s lat­est project is in the­atres now and breaks new ground as a first-per­son-per­spec­tive ac­tion film. He gives Lindsey Schut­ters in­sight into the be­hind-the scenes chaos that made this land­mark film pos­si­ble.

Popular Mechanics (South Africa) - - How Your World Works - Hard­core Henry

On the risk of shoot­ing on Gopro: “I saw the mu­sic video Ilya (Naishuller) did for a band and I thought the ac­tion was def­i­nitely go­ing to work, but I was wor­ried about how much nar­ra­tive you could do and will a nar­ra­tive story work.”

On the dura­bil­ity of Go­pros: “In the end there were about 14 used. They would get dam­aged – in­ter­est­ingly, not be­cause the lenses would break, just the con­nec­tor port where you plug the Gopro in to a mon­i­tor got dam­aged. That’s sort of the weak point be­cause no one was think­ing that you’d plug it in while it’s on your mo­tor­bike. The Go­pros them­selves were fine.”

On talk­ing straight to cam­era: “It was a very chal­leng­ing film, the hard­est I’ve made by a long way for many rea­sons. From an act­ing point of view: nor­mally you act with an­other ac­tor or have an eye­line to fol­low like a ten­nis ball or a mark on a wall. There were 12 dif­fer­ent peo­ple play­ing Henry. Mostly stunt­men, but also the DOP (di­rec­tor of pho­tog­ra­phy) and the di­rec­tor in scenes that didn’t re­quire any stunts. What hap­pened is we had two Go­pros mounted on a rig that would sit just un­der the hu­man eye. The most chal­leng­ing thing was not look­ing into the ac­tor’s eyes that were sit­ting di­rectly above the cam­era be­cause the hu­man eye nat­u­rally draws you to it. Some­times I was act­ing with a stunt­man who I had to help out and some­times the di­rec­tor would be act­ing with me. That was dif­fi­cult be­cause the di­rec­tor would be there with me and sud­denly gone, still phys­i­cally there, but fo­cused on just fram­ing.” On coach­ing stunt­men: “Shoot­ing from just the one an­gle put enor­mous pres­sure on the stunt co-or­di­na­tor, and by ex­ten­sion on the stunt­man who would nor­mally be com­pletely fo­cused on the stunt and go into a zen­type place where he’s very calm and very fo­cused. Now you have to say to him ‘Lis­ten, while you’re in your zen space and you’re set on fire, look up and film the ac­tor who will also be set on fire, frame him prop­erly, then look down and see your arms burn­ing, and look up to see him burn­ing. Hold it for as long as you can be­fore you dive out the bus, don’t break the Gopro when you dive out. We want to see some ac­tion, so you can’t tuck your head in. And on cue look back and film the other guy when he comes fly­ing out of the bus win­dow.’ When you have a se­quence like that that you’re try­ing to do in one shot and you’re ask­ing the stunt guy to be a cam­era­man as well, it’s a real tall or­der. I just take my hat off to them.”


Like other dive coast­ers, Val­ravn uses a short, wide train with three rows of eight peo­ple across. This al­lows ev­ery rider to be closer to the front so they can all bet­ter ex­pe­ri­ence the free fall. The shorter train also al­lows Val­ravn to have tighter twists – kind of like mak­ing a right turn in a car in­stead of a bus.

Above: Rus­sian di­rec­tor Ilya Nais­chuller’s de­but film sees him em­ploy the Gopro ad­ven­ture mount in a Hol­ly­wood film. His pre­vi­ous film out­ing with it was for the rock band Bit­ing El­bows.

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