Los Angeles Times



“Top Gun: Maverick” flies so high in large part because of how seamlessly it creates the illusion it’s really the characters performing those insane feats in the sky.

“We came in where things were just too dangerous to accomplish practicall­y, because so much was practical, so much was real,” says Ryan Tudhope, visual effects supervisor.

Tudhope’s team would add or remove jets when necessary, change the skins on some planes to turn them into others and craft environmen­ts, such as expanding the enemy base.

Then there’s the climactic fight, with an F-14 jet from the era of the first movie against new “fifth-generation” fighters. Much has been said about the camera rigs the filmmakers developed with the Navy to fit inside the cockpit of today’s F/A-18, the plane most in the movie.

The F-14 cockpit is smaller. Those cameras wouldn’t fit.

“It didn’t make sense to do it any other way than have [the actors] be in an F/A-18 ... then digitally make it to look like [an F-14] Tomcat.”

“There’s moments when you look over the top of Maverick onto the cockpit. That was an F/A-18, but we completely replaced it so you have the Tomcat cockpit. Even the little tracking screen is running at eight frames per second or something.

“That puts visual effects in a supporting role, which is where we wanted them to be.”

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