Mecha-snippet du jour

The people who made Hangar No. 5 have achieved an extraordinary feat. They successfully made a chunk of live-plus-CGI action cinema, on a shoestring budget. Their success continues even to the point of getting wrong the stuff that action movies so often get wrong - Gatling guns that go rat-a-tat-tat instead of BZZZZZ, and gold bars that appear to actually be made of cardboard. ("It's gold! It's gold!" "No it's not! It's obviously not!"*)

But I'm just carping. Sling 'em a couple of bucks if you like it. (You can download the HD version even if you don't donate.)

See also this, and this.

* The gold bars you usually seem to see in movies (in Kelly's Heroes, for instance, which is one of my favourites) seem to be roughly six inches by two inches by one inch in size. That's 12 cubic inches, which is about 197 cubic centimetres, and gold weighs 19.3 grams per cubic centimetre.

So a single bar that size would weigh 3.8 kilograms. People in a decent state of fitness who're very motivated by the desire to become wildly wealthy might be able to carry as many as eight of them at a time.

Given the spectacular piles of gold action movies like to present to the heroes, even the muscles of Clint Eastwood and the avarice of Don Rickles won't be sufficient to shift 'em all before the credits finish rolling.

(Donald Sutherland could probably scare up a trailer for his tank, though.)

I am not, of course, the only nitpicker to have noticed this. TV Tropes calls it "Hollywood Density".

5 Responses to “Mecha-snippet du jour”

  1. Daniel Rutter Says:

    I also think it would have been awesome if after the machine went down, a cobwebbed Tannoy said "Cat is down. Cat is down. Activate... dog."

  2. FuzzyPlushroom Says:

    On 30 Rock, Kenneth has an idea for a game show in which contestants guess which suitcase being carried by models is filled with gold. The show was discontinued for being too easy, as one had only to look for the model who had trouble holding up the suitcase.

    Well now, they could just put one standard Gold Bar in said suitcase and most models would be unable to lift it!

  3. corinoco Says:

    "Hang lads, I've got an idea..."

    The end of the film is a reasonably realistic depiction of the mass of gold, though I suspect a Mini Cooper would need some serious suspension mods to hold that much.

    As for the film, it was OK for a bit, then got silly. I didn't stick around for the 3 1/2 minutes of credits.

    More cliches - easy-to-use LAW (Light Anti-tank Weapon - America's answer to everybody else's favourite RP-7) actually have a very deadly (not to mention poisonous, and chocking) back-blast that goes back about 40m, and is lethal for 15m. The backblast wuld likely have blinded or seriously damaged the mech, and the rocket firing into the wall behind him would have maybe put a small hole in it, but likely would have gone 'thud'. For memory, LAWs need about 20m to arm, and you would want to be closer than that when they went off, either.

    Quite why I was taught how to use one of these things in year 11 high school is a bit beyond me, but I did LOVE cadets. Useful knowledge in today's complex world.

  4. corinoco Says:

    Hmm, typing while under influence of vodka martini not accurate. Sudden urge to play Fallout 3.

  5. Keris Says:

    Well, other than the already noted technical quibbles, I will add my own: One of my most hated things about amateur green screen work is that nobody seems to pay any bloody attention to depth of field. Take the shot near the end from the gold pile back on the two characters. Everything is too close to the same focus. Not to mention the lighting is very different. I think, for at least that shot, they could have at least gotten some shiny bar props.

    Also, the dolly in upon the gold pile? It's off as well. Should have used a stand-in pile and then junk matted it out to be replaced with a frame by frame timed zoom on the CG gold.

    Those CG barrels flying could have used more texturing too, as well as some motion blurring ...

    Good job, though! Cliched as hell, but for a student work, it's damn good. Just the devil is in the details.

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