Tokusatsu is rare in the Godzilla series these days. While the Ultraman franchise and Super Sentai continue to successfully scratch the itch for more tokusatsu, the franchise that popularized it has been stuck with CG and animation for the last several years.
Director Kazuhiro Nakagawa is no stranger to the art form. After being an assistant director for the Attack on Titan live action movies and Shin Godzilla, he's well aware of how to manipulate miniatures and lighting. Nakagawa honed his skills with two episodes of Ultraman Z and spent three days on the Toho lot managing and shooting the highly praised Godzilla vs. Hedorah short.
Below are images illustrating the hard work, craftsmanship, blocking and teamwork needed to pull off the project. Nakagawa's budget didn't allow for any buildings to be destroyed or new suits, but the camera work and explosions of collateral debris gives the illusion more damage is happening under the feet massive beasts.
Low angles help capture the size and depth of field of the action--Though Nakagawa had little choice given he was shooting on a back lot and not a studio stage.
The longest shot of the short gets planned and marked behind the long set of miniatures. Cannons are ready to fire smoke and debris at the right moment. A track is set up in front of miniatures for the director of photography.
Suit actor Naoya Matsumoto is helped into the seventeen year old Godzilla suit from Godzilla: Final Wars.
Hikaru Yoshida plays Hedorah, also using the suit seen in Godzilla: Final Wars. Ironically, Hedorah has more screen time in this short than he does in the 2004 film it was built for. A stagehand readies a prop Godzilla tail to be flailed at the right moment.
A debris cannon is ready to the right of the image...
...it goes off to simulate buildings being crushed under Godzilla when he falls.
Low angles are necessary to not only give the monsters a sense of size and weight, but to create depth of field between the camera's position and the subjects' fighting. It's also important to frame out the real buildings and trees on Toho's lot.
The stage hand swings a prop tail for a portion of the shot needed to emulate a more kinetic move from Godzilla.
Much of the behind the scenes photos only follow the long shot seen in the short. Miniature pieces and cameras are consistently moved and re-positioned to create new shots necessary to tell the story. This is only a small taste of the incredible work that goes into the wonderful world of tokusatsu.
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This article was written By G. H. (Gman) and published on 2021-11-03 20:29:37
More about upcoming Godzilla & Monsterverse projects
Godzilla vs. Kong was the sequel to Michael Dougherty's Godzilla 2: King of the Monsters and was the fourth and final installment in the Monsterverse movie quadrilogy. Now, the Monsterverse takes a new direction - into TV! On January 20th, 2022 Legendary announced a new live-action Godzilla Monsterverse TV Series which will stream on Apple TV Plus network! Be sure to check Godzilla-Movies often for the latest news and info on the Monsterverse TV Series and all things Toho Godzilla as well!
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