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Old August 8 2012, 04:27 PM   #867
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Re: "The Dark Knight Rises" Review and Discussion Thread (spoilers)

JarodRussell wrote: View Post
Locutus of Bored wrote: View Post
^ Nice job. That would definitely make it less bumpy when he does the little sidestep move.
Was the side step move done for real? Since Nolan prefers stuff to be done on set.
I think they might have. They definitely did a stunt involving the Bat-Pod shooting out of the alley, because it accidentally blew out a bunch of windows:

Taking over downtown Chicago for 12 weeks was made easier by cooperation from city agencies, but was a difficult proposition. "We were having to close down streets," points out producer Emma Thomas. "They let us take over their financial district at night as long as we were safe, and they made sure that we were," adds producer Charles Roven, though he reveals one mishap invol*ving the Bat-pod cycle.

"It came out of an alley onto the street and created a huge sonic boom that blew out a bunch of windows in a building. That was not planned. But we mobilized glaziers and within 24 hours we had fixed every window."
They had a full-scale working Bat-Pod that only one stuntman was able to ride because the handling was just too bizarre to figure out and it was dangerous to ride. It had a 360 degree rotating seat and could raise/contract and lower/extend its frame to glide under the Joker's truck, so it seems like they actually included working parts for all the tricks.

Enter the Bat-Pod, a motorcycle-ATV hybrid that lands eye-popping stunts sans CGI, a hand-built bike that fires grappling hooks--while shape-shifting.

After picking through junkyards, a local Home Depot and that surprisingly hands-on garage, Nolan and production designer Nathan Crowley took a month to assemble a foam-and-plastic model for Batman's new ride--enough like the Tumbler, but with a heavy-hauling look of its own. "But to actually have a look at what we were thinking, we went down to Warner [Brothers] and got the front wheels off the Batmobile," Crowley says.

When he first laid eyes on the Bat-Pod mockup, special effects supervisor Chris Corbould wasn't sure if his director actually knew anything about motorcycles. But that's what makes The Dark Knight at once a throwback superhero movie and a green-screen-light breakthrough in digital Hollywood: It turns fantasy into reality. And building a concept vehicle without a team of automotive engineers was one of its biggest challenges. "The gauntlet had been thrown down," Corbould says.

While the filmmakers and Warner Brothers have been tight-lipped about any vehicle specs in the movie, Corbould clearly had to reinvent how a motorcycle's systems make it run. Nolan and Crowley's original sketches had no tailpipe, but anything with a motor needs an outlet for exhaust. Weaving around the bike's carbon-fiber and Kevlar body and steel chassis, the design team built the exhaust system into the frame, ducting it through the hollow steel/aluminum/magnesium tubing. Two months later, the high-performance, water-cooled, single-cylinder engine--geared toward the lower end for faster acceleration--was ready to power the Pod. Only there was another headache: Who in the world could drive this thing?

Bruce Wayne's monster-truck tires worked just fine on the Tumbler, but integrating them with the Bat-Pod's steering system was "totally bizarre," Corbould says. At about 20 in. wide--enough to balance the bike without a kickstand--the wheels didn't look like they would go anywhere but straight ahead. "We skimmed layers of rubber off and then started changing the angles of the steering joints and things like that," says Corbould. But that didn't stop the rear tires from blowing in test after test.

At the suggestion of stunt driver Jean-Pierre Goy, the design team restored the rear tire to its original radius and modified only the front, allowing Goy to control the bike. Still the only one can actually drive the Bat-Pod, Goy refused to drive any regular motorcycles during filming--the Pod was just too one-of-a-kind, too confusing for other on-the-road styles.

In order to give Batman the ability to maneuver under low clearances, the Bat-Pod can physically lower and elongate itself. On set, the front forks extended and the chassis hugged the ground, positioning Goy parallel to the ground--and that's before pulling a 360. "The saddle is free to rotate," Crowley says. "It allows you to do all kinds of odd movement within the frame of the bike."
Here's a gif of the horizontal turn out of the alley for the people who wanted a closer look at how it worked:

Maybe it was mounted on some kind of crane rigging for that stunt, because I don't know how someone could make that turn without falling off or getting crushed.

Now I'm going to have to watch the extra features on TDK to see if they show any of the stunt riding on the Bat-Pod.
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