Creating a CGI T-800 Schwarzenegger  ‘Terminator Salvation’ Behind The Scenes

Creating a CGI T-800 Schwarzenegger ‘Terminator Salvation’ Behind The Scenes


I don’t want it to feel like we got,
you know… …a contemporary-aged
Arnold Schwarzenegger. And we should also just take the pain
if that can’t be done. If it’s never gonna feel rea|istic–
I don’t wa– It can’t bump the movie. It can’t be like a giggle,
it’s gotta be like a great moment. In this film, we bring to life… …a digital version
of Arnold Schwarzenegger… …as he was in Terminator 1… …and have him fight Christian Bale. It was a great help to have a body
double in for our T-800. You know, that way
you have all of the eye lines… …and you have them really interacting
with something as they’re fighting. “Okay, a couple of shadowy shots. We wanna get the hint
that it’s Arnold Schwarzenegger.” Then we start filming it and McG’s like,
“Okay-II He starts going in for close-ups
on the guy… …that’s playing the body
of the T-800… …and says, “You know, Ben,
I really wanna challenge you with this. We’re gonna be right in the face. You’re gonna have to bring
your best game for this.” So I challenged ILM,
Ben Snow in particular: “What can you do to create
an early ’80s Arnold Schwarzenegger… …photo-realistically appearing
in our film in 2009?” We’re like, “Okay,
this isn’t what we signed on for… …but it’s fantastically exciting,
so,yeah,okayP Our bodybuilder acted the role… …and then we had to replace
various parts of him… …with Arnold Schwarzenegger. So for our digital Arnold,
we started with a life cast… …that Stan Winston and his group did
during Terminator 1. It was a really good foundation
to start off on… …because we didn’t have
anything physically… …that was useable to re-create Arnold
from that era. We had to use new skin technologies
to make his skin look real. We developed hair materials and
shaders to make his hair look real. You know,
lots and lots of hand tweaking. Every little angle
you notice something different. You know, his upper lip is too big,
it’s too small, his– Why is his eye so squinty? And it’s just hundreds of iterations… …of sort of noodling
to get the likeness from every angle. At one point we had a conference call
with Stan Winston Studios. One of the things they said was,
“With all the makeup… …they cover him in K-Y Jelly.
That’s why he looks so shiny.” Then the other thing they’d say was
one of the things missing… …was that as he went into character
he would: Clench his jaw,
which made him look very different. It was things like that
where it was just– lt was invaluable
to do the archaeology. It’s hard for me to tell
where they blended it. But they’re blending in our CG chest
with his upper torso. The team at ILM has really pulled
together to produce this digital Arnie. It wasn’t a clear-cut process. It’s one that has involved
all the different departments. And at the end of it,
we produced something amazing. We’re all here because of the great
thing Arnold Schwarzenegger… …and Jim Cameron put together
in those pictures. It felt like the proper thing to do.
To tip the cap, respect the fan base… And use those
to guide our performance. So creatively, we didn’t know
if we were going to use a CG Arnold… …orjust go an alternative route. So this is one of those other plans
that we had… …where we came up from
John Connor shooting his chest…

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