Spoiler alert: that horrific tiger attack on The Walking Dead season 7 finale was actually a guy jumping around in a blue unitard. It sounds like a joke, but it’s actually an industry technique that brought another famous tiger to life, and how they did it might surprise you.
The fearsome feline that tore onto the screen (and into several characters) may have looked shockingly realistic, but it was actually a digital image applied to stuntman Scott Hunter. Clad from head to toe in bright blue spandex, Hunter’s figure would later easily become Shiva the tiger thanks to chroma keying – or as you probably know it, “green screen.” Digital video cameras are highly sensitive to green and blue, making them the easiest colours to edit out and replace with a new image.
The studio behind it all is Rhythm & Hues, a Hollywood SFX powerhouse known for planting a similar tiger in Ang Lee’s Life of Pi in 2012. Though R&H fell into financial troubles that same year, they’ve since recovered amazingly, and have also done work for Game of Thrones and the X-Men movie series.
Rawr! Shiva the tiger took the season 7 finale of The Walking Dead by storm…
But what if we told you that Shiva was actually this guy in a blue unitard?
Stuntman Scott Hunter may not look like much of a tiger, but he became one thanks to chroma keying
Since digital film cameras are highly sensitive to blue and green, those colours can easily be edited out
In this case, Hunter’s blue figure was replaced by a frighteningly realistic feline that copied his movements
BUT JUST LOOK AT HER, SHE’S GOING TO BITE MY FACE OFF
To recreate the speed and force of a pouncing tiger, Hunter had to leap from a mini trampoline off-camera
Yeah, we realise this looks kind of hilarious, but it’s actually one cinema’s oldest tricks in book
Chroma keying, also known as “green screen,” has been used in various ways since 1898
The Walking Dead also uses computer generated imagery to produce zombies in some episodes
In a behind-the-scenes teaser video, they’ve also shown plans to use an animatronic tiger head in the future
Rhythm & Hues, the famous studio behind Shiva, produced a similar tiger for Ang Lee’s Life of Pi in 2012
Watch the fascinating filming process below:
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