The Batman Director Matt Reeves Used VR to Visualize Batmobile Chase Sequence

Buckle up: director Matt Reeves explains how he utilized virtual reality technology to map out the Batmobile chase sequence in The Batman. The explosive action scene was filmed practically with few visual effects, putting Batman (Robert Pattinson) behind the wheel of the souped-up muscle car in pursuit of Penguin (Colin Farrell). In a new interview, Reeves reveals how a VR tool helped stunt coordinator Rob Alonzo and cinematographer Grieg Fraser realize the high-speed car chase inspired by gritty '70s cop movies

"I wanted it to be a practical thing that felt like a '70s chase, like The French Connection or Bullitt," Reeves said on CinemaBlend's ReelBlend podcast. "I wanted hard mounts because when the car shakes, I wanted the camera to shake, and I wanted it to feel solid and locked to it."

Reeves and Alonzo staged the sequence in VR, putting the virtual camera in and around the roaring and revving engine of the Batmobile.

"[Alonzo] took me through every single possible place. We had scanned in the route, and we could play on a kind of loop what the path of the Batmobile was, and I could look at the shots in VR before we ever shot them," Reeves explained. "I set all of these shots basically beforehand, and we made this crazy storyboard that was made of screengrabs from VR, from the lenses we had found. And so it was an incredibly involved process." 

The propulsive action scene ends with Batman jumping the Batmobile through flames like a bat out of hell, crashing into Penguin's vehicle and sending it veering off the road. The shot was crafted with VR but achieved practically, as Reeves told ComicBook in an exclusive interview:

"That whole thing, that's Colin actually in the actual car and we're on what's called a 50 50. We take the camera mounted on the side and those explosions are actually going off behind him and he's reacting to them. So much of what you're seeing in that thing is super, super grounded and real because we did it for real," Reeves said. "We actually did jump the Batmobile through the fire like that shot's real, that's not a CG shot. That's one of those things, I'm always assuming that people will see it and they're gonna go like, 'Oh, you know what? That's just a CG shot. Cool, whatever.' But that shot when you're looking his in the Maserati, in that sort side mirror and the Batmobile is coming through flames, we did that."

Starring Robert Pattinson, Zoe Kravitz, Paul Dano, Jeffrey Wright, John Turturro, Andy Serkis, and Colin Farrell, The Batman is now playing exclusively in theaters. 

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