Written by on Dec 10, 2010. Posted in Production News

Stars shoot up California desert for Call of Duty Black Ops

Ever wondered whether US talk show host Jimmy Kimmel could handle himself in a war zone with only a grenade launcher for company? No? Well, the makers of new video game Call of Duty Black Ops decided it would be fun to take him and a few others out to the desert in California to find out.

There’s a Soldier in All of Us shows a bunch of disparate individuals - including office workers, nurses, hotel employees and then Kimmel and basketball star Kobe Bryant - shooting up the California desert with a treasure trove of automatic weapons.

Stanton Hill, a Producer with TBWA/Chiat/Day said: “After considering a number of locations including some in downtown Los Angeles and Redondo Beach, we decided Eagle Mountain California would be the best fit for our needs.

Stanton Hill, a Producer with TBWA/Chiat/Day said: "Eagle Mountain is a remote, ghost-town area adjacent to Palm Springs. Although remote, it provided us a great canvas for our mini war.”

It was also handy that Eagle Mountain resembles some of the gaming maps seen in the Call of Duty game, which only added to the appeal. Crucially, Eagle Mountain allowed the production to play around with large-scale pyrotechnics and gunfire, while also landing helicopters.

Producer Laurie Boccaccio said: “Eagle Mountain gave us location options that felt most like a video game environment and also flexibility with pyrotechnics. Production Designer Dominic Watkins brought in Soviet set dressing and also did some scenic painting to give the location an international, yet surreal, atmosphere. Full Scale Effects supervised all of the pyrotechnics - the biggest challenge was keeping people from smoking near all of the gasoline!”

Frank Yoshikane, the Location Manager, said: “The other locations we scouted were much more restrictive [with pyrotechnics] and would only have allowed a few takes, which isn’t really practical when you’re dealing with these kinds of effects. For Eagle Mountain the Inland Empire Film Commission issues the relevant permits. You work with the fire department for the effects and the sheriff’s department for the use of firearms.”

As a final piece of advice for filmmakers thinking about shooting in the region, Hill added: “Make sure you have lots of water trucks to keep the dust down and keep everyone hydrated.”

Client: Call of Duty Black Ops
Agency: TBWA/Chiat/Day, Los Angeles
Creative Director: Olivier Rabenschlag
Production Company: MJZ
Producers: Laurie Boccaccio, Stanton Hill
Location Manager: Frank Yoshikane
Director of Photography: Greig Fraser
Director: Rupert Sanders


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