In this day and age, something like the thrilling Air Force One sequence in "Iron Man 3" is usually brushed off as another soulless sequence of computer-generated images, but as you'll see in an exclusive featurette from the upcoming Blu-ray release, it was anything but.
When considering the possible ways to bring such an over-the-top action scene to life, Marvel considered the more traditional route for modern-day blockbusters.
"With something as complicated as you can imagine, people falling out of Air Force One and Iron Man ultimately saving them, how do you achieve it?" Marvel Studio co-head Louis D'Esposito says. "The first approach is 'Let's do it on a green screen stage. We can hang the actors. We have a lot of control.' Our second unit director came on board and said, 'I know the Red Bull skydiving team. Let's do a test.' "
Those test jumps resulted in footage that was convincing enough to make Marvel choose the practical effects over CGI. From there, the team created costumes for the crew members of Air Force One that concealed their parachutes.
Once the details were worked out, all there was left to do was shoot. The stunt team got the shots they needed for the sequence after 62 airplane loads, over 600 parachute jumps, and about 480 jumps with the hidden parachute costumes.
"Iron Man 3" hits store shelves on Blu-ray and DVD on September 24.