Martin Scorsese used iChat to direct “The Departed” - Macenstein

Martin Scorsese used iChat to direct “The Departed”

Posted by Dr. Macenstein

iChat’s video capabilities certainly are tops in their class, however who knew they’d be Hollywood quality?!

Faithful Macenstein reader Sean pointed us to a profile piece on Black Magic Design that we think both budding filmmakers and iChat users alike may find interesting.

According to the interview with visual effects supervisor Rob Legato, (Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone and The Aviator), Martin Scorsese actually used Apple’s iChat to direct the final “rat shot” from The Departed (which was shot in L.A.) from a Mac in New York.

“Scorsese requested a reshoot of the rat shot. By this time, the set had been struck and was not available, so Legato turned his basement into an insert stage. ‘We staged the scene in my basement and I had my daughter do a storyboard that we sent to Marty,’ Legato says. “He said, ‘Yes, that’s the shot.’ That was just previz, but now we had to shoot the real shot. It was easiest to shoot in L.A., but Marty wanted to direct the shot and he was in New York. So on the day of the shoot we aimed iChat at the video tap on the camera.” Across the country in New York City, Scorsese and director of photography Michael Ballhaus watched the action on a Mac. A speaker connected to the Mac was placed on the camera dolly, and iChat allowed… Scorsese to direct the scene with the crew listening to him in realtime.”

“We shot on a Monday or a Tuesday, but Marty needed to screen it in New York on that Friday,” Legato says. “We made that deadline and the shot stayed in the picture – this is one week before color correction. So we did it in a low-rent way, but it doesn’t look that way on the big screen and Martin Scorsese gets what he wants.”

Scorsese won the Oscar for Best Director for The Departed at the 2007 Academy Awards (although I don’t remember him thanking Apple).

With the recently announced features of Leopard’s iChat, who knows? Maybe next time Scorsese will direct an entire movie with a fake fishtank or roller-coaster behind him!

12 Responses to “Martin Scorsese used iChat to direct “The Departed””
  1. Delbert Chan says:

    That fishtank visual made milk come out of my nose. Thanks for the laugh!

  2. i'm the best says:

    how cool is that?!

  3. gric says:

    That’s very cool, but surprising. I thought Bruce Willis was the only one from Hollywood using iChat!

  4. Neon Noodle says:

    wow. Think he had FIOS?

  5. bob dobbs says:

    Ummmm….has anybody else noticed that this was the WORST thing about the whole movie? I thought it was great up until this shot and then I felt like I was being treated like a child.

  6. frank grimes says:

    lame last comment, “Maybe next time Scorsese will direct an entire movie with a fake fish tank or roller-coaster behind him!” that was the lamest of the features in the keynote. don’t promote lame noob come-ons, the idea that ichat can be used that way is cool but the new features are for queers

  7. Raul Santos says:

    That is so awesome! I knew Scorsese was my favorite director!!

  8. jwm says:

    [ichat window]

    Scorsese says,
    Ok boys. I just watched the movie we’ve based this one off of and boy it’s so much better than ours that we’re going to have to give this ending a real shine. Especially after I ruined the greatest scene in the movie.

    Scorsese says,
    … It’s a good thing most Americans wont watch subtitled movies…

    Scorsese says,
    Now, see the pinball machine over there is Leo… And this banana is my gun…

    Watch a real movie, the departed was bollocks.

  9. Matt says:

    THat’s amazing…maybe I can use to direct a movie

  10. Wesley says:

    Scorsese is awesome!

  11. That’s awesome, I loved the departed.

  12. Eric says:

    This is exactly what I expected to find out after reading the title Martin Scorsese used iChat to direct “The Departed”. Thanks for informative article

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