Falcon Frees Willy01/08/2012
|Helping Free Willy in the fourth remake of the film is a strong-swimming Falcon. With the world-famous Orca whale replica strapped to its back, the small Saab Seaeye Falcon ROV used its five thrusters and intelligent electronics to give Willy the wriggle he needs to swim free. Filmed in South Africa, the realistic swimming motion was recreated through the precise fingertip control of the Falcon by ROV pilots Nick Stroud and Josh Smit of Marine Solutions.|
The biggest challenge, according to Marine Solutions director, Kevin Bey-Leveld, was to make the Orca whale model, with its large body, look like it really was swimming along.
The success of the project, says Kevin Bey-Leveld, helped keep down the cost of filming. He explains that the way the Falcon flies, combined with trained ROV pilots, allowed the director to film the sequences in a relatively short space of time, in terms of normal filming.
Although small and compact, the Falcon was powerful enough to manoeuvre in both swimming pool and open ocean the trick being to balance the buoyancy to compensate between sea water and fresh water.
The Falcon also starred in other movies. In the Bollywood film, 'LUCK', also filmed in South Africa, it was strapped under a 4.2 metre long latex and polyurethane replica of a tiger shark and used to replicate the realistic swimming motion of the shark and its violent attacks on hapless swimmers.
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Supplier: Saab Seaeye Ltd
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