Film FX History – Behind the Special Effects of Top Gun (1986)
31 years ago on May 16 1986, the Tony Scott directed film Top Gun was released in theaters. The aftermath included tons of young kids fantasizing about flying state of the art jets and shooting the “bad guys” out of the sky. You only wish you could be as cool as Tom Cruise. Although probably a bit taller too.
The film is iconic, grossed $356 million on it’s $15 million budget, and was added to the National Film Registry in 2015.
Before the era of CG, the model was king. Check out this behind the scenes feature about how they pulled off the special effects of Top Gun, mixing real aerial cinematography with models shot on the ground.
You’ll hear their strategies to create realistic footage including using documentary cinematographers, shooting high speed (using a power drill to vibrate the camera at high speeds so at normal playback the shake looks natural), and lots of breaking models apart with explosives.