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Dante's Peak

From August '96 to January '97 I was on Digital Domain's visual effects team, working at Van Nuys Airport, on the feature film Dante's Peak . I was in charge of the pyro/mechanical effects for the 1/7 scale miniature "pyroclastic cloud" shots.

A pyroclastic cloud is a mass of super heated gasses and ash which is expelled from an erupting volcano. It travels at several hundred miles per hour, pushing a shock wave ahead of it that destroys everything in it's path. In our case, the path included a mountainside of trees and an entire town.

Reproducing this in miniature was a huge undertaking. It was A LOT of hard work (we had a stretch of seventy-one days with only three days off, working a minimum of twelve hours per day), but there was a healthy camaraderie among the crew, and we were doing some really cool stuff, which made it easy to stay interested. The resulting shots were very satisfying, and the opportunity to work with such an amazingly talented group of people was invaluable!

Click below for lots of behind the scenes photos and information.


Preparation / Testing

Cluster's Motel

Bank Street

Hillside Trees

Donaldson's Garden Center

The Final Shot

That's a Wrap!

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© Copyright 1997 R. Hutchins
Unless otherwise noted, all photos are © Copyright 1997 R. Hutchins. All rights reserved. - Revised December 1997