Movie Costumes — 28 December 2010

I saw the New Tron movie last night and concluded that the whole show (especially the costumes) were totally awesome! Josh and I went with some friends and of course the first thing they thought was that the costumes were digitally lit up, I would have thought the same thing had I not read about them first. They’re so totally cool that of course you’d think they were digitally done, but, ladies and gentlemen, they were not. Those are real lights in those computer-looking suits.

Michael Wilkinson, Tron costume designer and Christine Clark, co-costume designer, got a sample of a material called polymer-based elastomeric electro luminescent lamp, which had been used on Japanese security guards. They then found a small business in Huntsville, Alabama, called “Synapse Wireless”, that has a wireless technology (SNAP mesh network operating system) that would work with the suits and not only light up the costumes in the neat way they do but also allow them to wirelessly control the brightness and temperature of the lights so the actors didn’t get too hot. It also allowed them to turn on/off the suits from across the room and confirm the light’s status and battery charge. How great is that?!  The lights were battery powered. The battery pack was located on the back of the suits under the discs and the batteries only lasted about 12 minutes (depending on the suit).

The costumes in the computer world are made mostly from foam latex and a touch of spandex. Spandex is what most swimsuits are made of and foam latex is most often used to create weird makeup jobs like the odd protrusions from Klingon heads in Starwars or the gory blisters on TV burn victims. So basically, think of the costumes as Klingon swimsuits. They fit the body, literally like skin. You can imagine what a difficult and long process it was to get into the costumes. In one interview, Olivia Wilde (Quorra), said it took 3 costume experts to get her into and out of her costume. So how many ‘costume experts’ did they have? There were a lot of costumes and I imagine the same 3 couldn’t dress everyone! Several articles I read said it took several hours to get actors into their costumes! And there were over 300 costumes!

My favorite scene was with the white sirens dressing Sam Flynn (Garrett Headlund). It gave me a very short but detailed glimpse into the pieces and complexity that went into his computer suit.

My favorite costume was Kevin Flynn’s (Jeff Bridges) cloak! I loved the way it lit him up from the inside. He really did have a Zen-like feel.

If you’d like to read more about these amazing costumes checkout these links or just see the show!

Resources:

http://latimesblogs.latimes.com/alltherage/2010/12/tron-legacy-costume-designer-talks-light-up-suits-pixie-hairdos-and-spanx-.html

http://www.sys-con.com/node/1654797

http://www.metacafe.com/watch/5619697/tron_legacy_design_featurette/

http://movies.yahoo.com/movie/1810096458/video

http://blog.moviefone.com/2010/12/13/tron-legacy-unscripted-olivia-wilde-jeff-bridges/

http://www.whnt.com/news/whnt-tron-synapse-snap-technology,0,5029.story?track=rss

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