Behind the scenes look at how the Barrel of Monkeys clip from Iron Man 3 was done.
It is amazing how video makes the fall from Air Force One at 30,000 feet look believable.
The audacious action sequence that occurs midway through director Shane Black's superhero sequel, known by those on the film crew as the "barrel of monkeys" scene, required a mix of real-world guts and digital ingenuity to pull off.
The guts were supplied by the Red Bull skydiving team, who stand in for the crew of the president's plane in the scene — the effects that placed them believably within the story came from Digital Domain, the VFX shop.
In order to capture the barrel of monkeys footage, Black and his VFX supervisor, Chris Townsend, decided to film the scene with live actors free-falling for maximum realism. Over six days of shooting in North Carolina, the sky divers jumped from a 20-seat turbo prop plane at 13,000 feet wearing parachutes under business clothes — or, in the case of the diver portraying Iron Man, a red and gold jumpsuit. A free fall cameraman with a helmet-mounted camera jumped alongside them. It was then up to Digital Domain artists to replace nearly everything in the shot except for the the actors with digital imagery.