Canadian prop master on designing the Tron movie

Canadian prop master on designing the Tron movie

When Tron: Legacy hits theatres tonight at 12:01 a.m., you can bet there’ll be legions of super-fans in attendance, eager to carefully pick apart every tiny detail that deviates from the cult-classic original. Canadian prop master Jimmy Chow knows this better than anyone. Chow was born and lives in Vancouver where much of Tron: Legacy was filmed. He’s the man behind the sleekly designed discs, bikes and bodysuits that will hopefully impress both diehard fans and newbies alike. Chow spoke with the CBC about the making of the film and the numerous challenges he faced as a designer. Here are four creative snags Chow encountered and overcame:

The famous discs: These days, moviegoers likely assume that the coloured discs used to do battle in Tron are entirely CGIs, but the ones used in Tron: Legacy are real. Chow lit each one with 140 LED lights and joked that those on set occasionally had to duck.

Glowing libations: In one scene, revellers consume cocktails that glow in the dark. Chow initially used an undrinkable Cyalume solution, but it appeared muddy on camera, so he eventually lit all 140 drinks himself.

Exposed design: Tron’s minimal set dressing meant every detail had to be clean and linear. Working in an environment made up entirely of darkness punctuated by lines of light meant any mistakes would be obvious: everything had to be perfect.

Working in 3-D: Chow’s biggest 3-D challenge was making sure the details he created could actually be seen in the final product. It was his first time working in the new medium, a process he found painstaking and slow.

• Tron: Legacy a challenge for Canadian props man [CBC]