Friday, October 5, 2007

Constructing the Scene: The Transformation Scene



The scene that continues to fascinate audiences the most to this day, however, is that of the transformation of Maria’s likeness onto the robot’s in Rotwang’s lab, and it has become the one of the most imitated scenes in cinema. It was achieved through a combination of all three major techniques, but particularly that of multiple exposures. The same piece of negative was exposed up to thirty times for every single component of the shot. First, there was the shot of Brigette Helms in the robot costume on the pedestal. The figure was then replaced by a black silhouette. Around this figure, two circular neon lights in tubes made from sandwich paper were repeatedly moved up and down by a type of elevator. This was filmed through a glass plate which was smeared with a thin layer of grease. Finally, the electrical discharges were filmed without this glass plate.

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