Tricks of the train

Tricks of the train
Date:1 May 2011 Tags:

The bulk of the action in the movie Source Code takes place on a doomed commuter train. There, US Army pilot Colter Stevens (Jake Gyllenhaal) must repeatedly re-live, through a computer program called the Source Code, the last 8 minutes of a dead man’s life in order to discover who placed a bomb on the train – and prevent a second tragedy. Director Duncan Jones and his crew considered shooting on a moving train, but realised that this would limit the director’s ability to control the camera angles. So the Montreal-based crew built half of a double-decker carriage and mounted it on a pneumatic platform programmed to mimic the movement of the real thing.

“The downside was the noise of the compressor,” Jones says. “But we kept it outside the studio.” The set was designed for easy deconstruction and assembly. “When we wanted to shoot the other side of the train, we’d re-dress it,” he says. “That allowed us to move the cameras in ways that wouldn’t have been possible on a real train.” Beyond the set was green screen, which filmmakers later filled in with footage shot in Chicago, carefully matched to the camera angles shot on set. – Erin McCarthy

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