How Dune 2 created the sandworm riding scene

To bring the worm riding scene to life, a dedicated “Worm Unit” was created and they developed lingo to explain the movements the motion base would use for worm riding, such as “easy weaving” describing the smooth slalom from side to side. , or “school bus bump” to bounce Paul off the worm: cinematographer Greig Fraser set up a “ski lift” that would make the camera move upward at about 23 feet per second, which worked to simulate Paul’s descent once the worm starts going down a sand dune.

To capture the worm’s movements and the danger Paul finds himself in as the worm transitions from vertical to horizontal motion, there was a smaller worm platform, with the worm’s skin installed on a gimbal that rolled sideways as if shake off Paul, and tilt it to simulate the worm climbing a dune or picking up speed. To illustrate the worm’s movement from a vertical to a horizontal movement pattern, Villeneuve wanted Paul to slide and hang in mid-air on the side of the worm for a brief moment. Achieving this required the special effects team to build a hinge for the rig, which is normally positioned at a 45 degree angle, so it could go beyond 90 degrees to take Paul into the air, then back to 70 degrees and create the impression of the worm slamming down.

As impressive as the worm’s journey appears on screen, and as essential as it is to Fremen culture, it leaves some big questions unanswered, such as how exactly the Fremen manage to free themselves from the sandworms.

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