Posted on Wednesday, May 30th, 2012 by Angie Han
Martin Scorsese‘s beautifully crafted Hugo whisked viewers to 1930s Paris with seeming effortlessness, but of course the truth is that behind the scenes a ton of hard work went into making the end product look seamless. A new video today takes us past the curtain to show off some of the strenuous labor that went into transporting us into that charming universe — specifically, into the masterful 2-minute tracking shot that closes the film. Take a peek after the jump.
Reddit (via The Playlist) picked up this video, which apparently comes from a GoPro camera that Steadicam operator Larry McConkey mounted on top of his actual camera. The last scene of Hugo checks in with many of the characters we previously met throughout the story, including those played by Asa Butterfield, Chloë Grace Moretz, Sacha Baron Cohen, and Emily Mortimer, as it weaves through a celebratory party in the home of Georges Méliès (Ben Kingsley).
You might think that seeing the inner workings of this shot would take away from its movie magic, but I actually found the opposite to be true. It drives home just how impressive this sequence really is, requiring as it does flawless timing on the part of everyone in the cast and crew. Actors have to hit their marks exactly on cue, sets have to fall away right on time and not a moment sooner, and of course, the Steadicam and mic operators have to guide their equipment with utmost care and a steady hand throughout.
And that’s not even getting into the set-up work that preceded this shot, like the costume and set design, and the post-production work that’ll follow it, such as the sound mixing and visual effects. Whew. You can actually hear McConkey let out a sigh of relief once it’s all over, and having (sort of) experienced the shooting with him, you can understand exactly where he’s coming from.