Just watched a REAL cool making of TRON. amazing what they had to do to the film

Discussion in 'B&W: Film, Paper, Chemistry' started by destroya, Nov 11, 2012.

  1. destroya

    destroya Subscriber

    Jul 23, 2012
    Los Altos, California
    Multi Format
    Tron. wow. it was incredible what they had to do in order to get the look they were after with the live action scenes that were supposed to be taking place inside the computer. It was done with back light compositing which while I understood it on a very basic level, it really impressed me with what they did. every frame had to be treated the same, for the entire 75 minutes of film that needed to be worked on. 24 frames a second * anywhere from 7 to 30 layers per frame * 60 seconds per minute * 75 minutes. a ton of frames had to be worked on, almost making it like and old school animated disney movie. I'm sorry if this doesn't make sense. even watching the making of as I type now and still its so much to comprehend it's mind blowing.

    1) shoot the scenes on 70mm black and white film (hence the post in this forum).

    2) blow up every frame to a 12x20 inch neg using two photo-rotoscope machines.

    3) those frames are put through a processor to make hi-con positives and negatives. this was a special custom film made by kodak just for this movie and apparently was never made by kodak again.

    4) the number of hi-con positives and negs that where made depended on what was going on in the scene. at the most basic frame for example of a live action character, , a minimum of 5 negs and pos's had to be made. 1 for the main body of the character, 1 for the glowing circuits on their costume, 1 for the whites of their actors eyes and for their teeth, and 1 other for special contrast facial features. these where the masks that where made to use to get the desired effect

    5) then each one of the above mentioned frames, as above the 5 basic character frames had to be photographed individually. The director said the thinnest frame had 7 layers stacked for the most basic scene while the most complex scenes had 30 layers.

    6) every frames was then put into an animation camera to create cells of each layer

    7) every cell was then sent to taiwan to have them do inking and painting. remember each original frame had between 7 and 30 cells in it.

    8) the finished cells where then sent back to disney. they were put on light boxes so they could be finally stacked and photographed one frame at a time.

    at that point they then assembled the film and edited asyou would edit a normal film. It doesn't read great but watching them describe it and seeing some actual frames, layers and cells, it was the coolest thing. If you haven't seen it, go rent or get a copy of the new tron blu ray release and watch the extras on the making of tron. You will be amazed at what they did. I know when i watch the film again last night I watched in a totally different way.
  2. kevs

    kevs Member

    Aug 21, 2006
    Medium Format
    Thanks for posting; it's a fascinating read. I'll certainly think about that film differently, will have to dust off my old VHS copy one day... :-D

    "Those frames are put through a processor to make hi-con positives and negatives. this was a special custom film made by kodak just for this movie and apparently was never made by kodak again."

    Was that Tron-o-chrome? :-D

  3. dsmccrac

    dsmccrac Member

    Jul 20, 2012
    Multi Format
    Haha I love and can't stand that movie at the same time ;-)

    These feelings coexist for that movie for me and that is ok! I would not want to change any part of it but I need a few years between viewings. I was so let down on the sequel esp since it had Jeff Bridges in it and he is usually the man. The work they did for it was pretty crazy.