How 'Invisible Man' Filmmakers Made a Terrifying, Unseen Villain on a Budget

Anyone else worried there's an invisible person trapped at home with them? No? Just me? 

The last movie I saw in theaters was The Invisible Man. Thank god it was good. This exciting and trippy film felt Hitchockian and really packed in the excitement and scares. It felt like everyone involved was at the top of their game. 

The story had lots of twists and turns. 

[SPOILERS AHEAD!] 

In addition to shifting the main character, the filmmakers used a number of innovative techniques, clever cinematography, and visual effects to make us get to know and fear the man who was never there. 

So how did they really do it? 

Check out this video from The Insider and let's talk after the jump. 

How Do You Create an Invisible Man? 

There are many things that go into perfecting the visuals for a movie. But on a budget of only $7 million, director Leigh Whannel had to get creative. So, what led him to shoot with someone who was invisible? 

The first lesson was the framing. 

Whannel used a ton of negative space to imply the man was in many shots. 

This creative framing kept the budget down because no effect was needed. 

He played off audience anticipation and the history of cinema. Every pan to nothing or no one implicitly planted in our mind that there was someone else in the room. 

But if you've seen the movie you know there's way more than just framing. 

There was also a man in a green screen outfit who had to be in lots of scenes. 

They used this person to toss characters around, create impressions in carpets and legitimately haunt scenes. Aside from just editing him out, they actually spent a ton of time stitching shots together.

So, you'd shoot one take with the guy, the next without him, and then cut them together in the edit.  

The other hidden star of the film is the robotic arm on which the camera was placed. 

This arm had movements programmed into it to offer a unique perspective that mimicked the POV of an invisible person. 

Because of this advancing tech, the actors had to learn quickly, too. See, a ton of pressure was now on Moss and company to hit their marks, because the camera was programmed to hit its marks. 

This involved a lot of trial and error but led to some of the most fun scenes in the film, like the escape from the mental ward and attack on the policeman's home. 

All in all, it's fun to see how these options all were able to come together on a tight budget and deliver an excellent movie. 

What were your favorite parts of the Invisible Man

Let us know in the comments. 

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Your Comment

2 Comments

The house scene where the attacker shows up 1st, creeps the heck out of me when I saw it. The mental ward scenes we're epic. It was really amazing technological feat to be honest with you.

April 28, 2020 at 11:20AM

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Crosby T Tatum
Executive Producer/Director/Writer/Editor
82

The camera work and vfx in this movie were super well done. They did an amazing job building tension.

April 29, 2020 at 8:58AM

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Alex Everingham
Video Editor
782

oops you did a great work here. this will change the way vfx film industrious think :)

April 29, 2020 at 10:05AM

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Sumit
81