May 24, 2012

Lights, Camera, Action: Recruiting Service brings Hollywood to Nellis

By Senior Airman Jack Sanders
99th Air Base Wing Public Affairs

Maj. Paul Jelinek, 57th Wing commander’s action group member, Maj. Shawna Kimbrell, 6th Combat Training Squadron assistant director of operations, Senior Airman Andrew Zehm, Raptor Aircraft Maintenance Unit F-22 dedicated crew chief, and Senior Airman Jody Aguilar, Raptor AMU F-22 avionics specialist, pose as a film crew shoots from a tracked camera dolly rig that enables smooth camera movement May 19, 2012, at Nellis Air Force Base, Nev. The filming took place in support of an Air Force Recruiting Service simulator ride project.

NELLIS AIR FORCE BASE, Nev. — Nellis Air Force Base, the Air Force Recruiting Service and Randolph Air Force Base, coordinated to help produce the newest Air Force recruiting tool —  “Rapid Strike”.

Air Force Special Operations Combat Control Team members ride desert dirt bikes alongside stunt performer Devin Blackwell during a film shoot May 17, 2012, at Nellis Air Force Base, Nev. The stunt performer helped the CCT members apply their versatile driving skills, which enable them to adapt on-the-fly to unknown situations during deployments to austere locations worldwide.

“Rapid Strike” will be a motion simulator ride experience offering people a first-person glimpse of Air Force missions.

Lee Pilz, Account Director for Gurasich Spence Darilek and McClure, the advertising agency primarily responsible for the production, said the truck-portable simulator is set to go on tour in September, visiting large public events.

The simulator will combine film footage, computer generated imagery, and engineering to create a four-dimensional experience designed to put the viewer into the action. A pod mounted on hydraulics allows up to 14 people to ride at once.

“Have you ever been to an amusement park and seen the 4D type rides?” asked Tom Gilmore, Creative Director, at GSD&M advertising agency. “It’s going to be exactly like that.”

The tour begins with a mission briefing, then quickly moves to the cockpit of an F-22 that takes off for a two-ship formation flight through a group of canyons. From there riders will transition into a C-17, where loadmasters are assisting three Combat Control Team members as they perform an airborne drop. Once on the ground, the viewer follows the perspective of the CCT as they move to their target on dirt bikes.

The tour was designed to have many different elements to not only show what it’s like to be on an Air Force mission, but to give an idea of the wide variety of jobs the Air Force does.

“The media for recruiting used to be just television – like commercials, which we still do — but now it’s shifted to different experiential pieces where people can actually feel and touch the Air Force,” Gilmore said.

GSD&M’s Nellis six-day-long shoot involved a 50-person production crew, including a visual effects team from Digital Domain, a top Hollywood company whose reel credits include Thor, Transformers, G.I. Joe, and many other major titles.

Devin Blackwell, stunt performer, hurtles down a hill on a desert dirt bike during filming for an Air Force Recruiting Service simulator project May 17, 2012, at Nellis Air Force Base, Nev. Blackwell wore a camera rig that recorded footage and motion information which will be turned into a first person view in the simulator.

Actual military personnel, units and equipment were featured to create the highest level of accuracy. Although the simulator must deliver an exciting and broadly-scoped experience during its four-minute run time, the crew made many adjustments based on feedback from the Airmen they worked with.

“It’s been great working with the CCTs because — they’re coming from McChord Air Force base — they’ve been able to be subject matter experts,” Pilz said. “It’s funny because we were doing the scripts that we had written and submitted to different people and changed along the way, but when they got a hold of it they really told us how to write it exactly right.”

The tour will be completed around September, and members of the team working on it say they can’t wait to see it running.

“There is a real mission going on here and we realize that, but cooperation has just been great,” Pilz said. “We hope to bring the truck tour back to Nellis once it’s operational, because the people here have been so helpful and we want them to see and experience it, to see what they can create.”

“Make sure you have time this year to come see the ‘Rapid Strike’ tour,” Gilmore said.

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