By Matt Winston
CLICK the player above to watch the "TERMINATOR SALVATION - T-600 Puppet Test" video.
KEEPING IT REAL
For TERMINATOR SALVATION, the fourth installment in the Terminator franchise, director McG was determined to strike the same balance between Practical FX and Visual Effects that had been so effective in bringing to life the pantheon of iconic cyborg assassins from the first three films.
ACTING IS REACTING
Whenever possible, McG insisted on having real robots on the set. "I don’t like actors emoting to tennis balls on C-stands," he said. "It's a lot better when they can respond to what's going on." This sentiment was echoed by the film's female lead, Moon Bloodgood, who plays resistance fighter Blair Williams. "It's a tremendous advantage for the performances and for the audience when something is real," she said.
Pictured above: John Connor (Christian Bale) sneaks up on a "real" T-600 sentry.
RETURNING TO THE ROBOT FACTORY
For the live-action Terminators, McG enlisted the artists and technical wizards at Stan Winston Studio, the same team who'd created the robotic killers in every Terminator film since the James Cameron original.
Pictured above: Stan Winston, Terminator Maker (1984-2008)
THE BIG, BAD T-600
John Rosengrant, 25-year SWS supervisor and co-founder of Legacy Effects, led the robot build, calling upon decades worth of Terminator know-how to execute McG's vision. Notably, the Stan Winston Studio team produced a full-size T-600, the hulking precursor to the iconic chrome T-800 model from the first three films. "He's bigger, more Neanderthal and bulky but still very lethal and menacing," said Rosengrant.
Pictured above: Brian Steele suited up to portray the hulking T-600 for certain shots.
7'4" KILLING MACHINE
Standing an imposing 7 feet, 4 inches tall, the T-600 was realized using both old school and cutting-edge techniques, including actor driven body suits, featuring Brian Steele (aka CreatureBoy), fully-articulated animatronic hero puppets, and a half-puppet for insert shots.
Pictured above: The T-600, partially skinned and skin-free.
For all the innovation and hard work the Stan Winston Studio team brought to TERMINATOR SALVATION, Stan never got to see the finished film. "He passed on during the making of our movie," said McG, "and [we've dedicated] this picture to the memory of Stan Winston who did such a great job honoring us all with his great creations."
To watch the Terminator Salvation Behind-the-Scenes T-600 video, simply CLICK the player at the top of the page.