Hutch's Gallery

Dante's Peak

The Final Shot

In the first week of January '97 we had completed what we thought was the last of our shots, the last shot of the show. We all drank some champagne and went home, expecting to have a long weekend off before returning to wrap (our first days off, other than holidays, in over three months). We were wrong. The whole crew got phone calls at home the next day. The editors needed one more shot to complete the sequence. The film was due to be released in a couple of weeks! Time was of the essence.

Director Roger Donaldson wanted another shot of trees being blown down, but for this one he wanted the camera at ground level, and he wanted the trees to kick out at the bottom instead of tipping over.

For this shot we used a level surface with the trees tilted back so that it would appear to be a slope (we had considered using this technique for the previous hillside shots, but it presented greater problems with the mechanical trees). Production assistants were sent out in trucks to pick up discarded Christmas trees from curbsides in the surrounding neighborhoods. We quickly built steel stands to hold mortars, which the trees could be leaned against, and did some testing to determine the size and distribution of the pyro loads.

We got the shot on time. It was exactly what Roger wanted.

>>  Click on any thumbnail image for a larger view  <<

Andrew Taylor, Charles Cooley, Hutch, and Jason Hanson prepare for the final shot of the show. Notice the mortar stands, covered with pieces of Christmas tree to help hide them.

Cloud 1

Cloud 2

Cloud 3

Cloud 4

Since no one could be on the stage when the cameras were rolling, I have very few stills of any of our shots in progress (only these and the ones on the Bank Street page). Denise Lennon was able to shoot these from a window in the side of the stage. You can't really see much in these photos, but they give the idea of the force and volume of the cloud.

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