007 and the CAT 320D L put new twist on catching a train
CAT® 320D L featured in "SKYFALL"
Cat brands have been featured in more than 20 movies dating as far back as 1927, and we worked with the Bond films previously in THE WORLD IS NOT ENOUGH, 1999. Caterpillar is proud to continue the association with such a respected and globally known brand.
The Making of the Train ScenePlanning for the excavator's participation began in July 2011. Art director, James Foster, who collaborated on the early plans for the scene, said "We originally had three ideas for this stunt during the opening scene, including using the 320D L somehow on a flatbed train carriage. It was the idea that leapt out at us as a cool thing to do and we liked the idea that the excavator's boom is Bond's arm reaching out to grab the train."
In the opening sequence, Bond is engaged in a chase, part of which takes place on and around the 320D L. Speeding down the tracks at 70kph, the flatbed carriage carrying the excavator is uncoupled from the rest of the train. To continue the chase, Bond uses the excavator's arm and bucket to grab the separated train. Bond then uses the arm as a bridge over which he crosses to continue the chase.
The stunt took extensive coordinating and planning. "We had a rehearsal period of about four months and then another two months shooting the scene," says Martin Joy, the location manager in Turkey.
Adding to the challenge was the fact that this kind of stunt had never been attempted before. Gary Powell, the stunt coordinator, said, "There were a lot of unknowns so we started with simple studio testing. When we eventually arrived in Turkey, we made test runs of the train's entire route to check for hazards such as low cables." When filming did begin, it took a crew of about 300 people to complete the shoot.
The crew chose Adana because railways there went through the right kind of landscape. Plus, one of the five tracks had the kind of bridge needed for the end of the scene. Not all filming was done in the countryside, however. "At times, the set was two kilometers long and went right through town," Martin Joy added.
The ExcavatorCaterpillar prides itself on designing and building equipment to meet customers' needs. In this case, the customization involved something unique - putting the cab on the opposite side of the 320D L as requested by EON Productions, the James Bond production company.
Darren Litten, action vehicles coordinator, explains, "Because of pre-visualizations, the location and interaction between Bond and Eve, it only worked if the cab was on the other side."
Changing all the electronics and hydraulics was a huge task for the special effects department. "Probably 50 percent of the work done to that machine was changing the cab around," said Litten.
Shooting a safe, high-speed chaseA lot of time and effort also went into making sure actors, stunt people, crew and bystanders were safe. For example, the excavator was held to the train using a metal track so the 26-ton machine could travel along the length of the rail car and not fall off. "Safety was critical," says Chris Corbould, special effects supervisor. "We were basically shooting through the middle of Adana, Turkey and had the added danger of a high-speed car chase that takes place next to the train."
For the 320D L, some creative "set dressing" was used to make the stunts as safe as possible. James Foster said, "We discretely added hand holds and used grills to cover some of the hydraulics. We also used a grippy paint finish on certain areas of the 320D L so there was extra traction."
Dealer SupportCat® dealers Finning UK and Borusan Makina were integral in making the filming a success. Finning UK assisted special effects (SFX) in technical support and supply of parts for the excavators. At the site, Borusan Makina provided on-site expertise and services as well as equipment, such as gensets, a skid steer loader and mini hydraulic excavator, for the shoot.
To catch a glimpse of 007 and the 320D L in action, watch the movie trailer at http://youtu.be/vgr2syY_OU4.
About the Author
Sharon Holling is the Marketing Administrator for Caterpillar, Inc.