'Top Gun: Maverick' Director Joseph Kosinski Shows Off New Cameras Built Specifically to Fit in a Cockpit

Tom Cruise has been known to hang off the side of planes and even HALO-jump out of them on occasion. In Top Gun: Maverick, he’s moved from the side of the plane to the cockpit — and the camera has gone with him.

A new video sheds some light on the Rialto, a camera extension system developed specifically for this movie, which enabled the filmmakers to put not one but six cameras in a fighter jet with Cruise.

If you’ve seen the trailer for Top Gun: Maverick and were wondering how they pulled off those bone-rattling shots from inside a moving jet, the video below gives an interesting behind-the-scenes glimpse of the process. Director Joseph Kosinski, who previously worked with Cruise on Oblivion, sat down for an interview in an aircraft hangar with YouTuber Vsauce3. When asked about the importance of technology to him, Kosinski explained:

“I went to school for engineering. I thought I was going to be an aerospace engineer. Technology was something I always had a handle on but for me, it starts with the story, and then it’s figuring out what tools are out there or what tools do we have to invent to tell this story the right way. On Top Gun: Maverick, it was all about, how do we get movie cameras inside an F-18 Super Hornet with Tom Cruise?”

The Sony VENICE Rialto Camera Extension System

In Mission: Impossible – Fallout, we saw Cruise conduct high-altitude military parachuting out the back of a plane. The dude likes to perform his own stunts and he isn’t just content to run with determination across the ground (though he’s famous for his movie sprints, too). It’s risky business, but then again, that’s how he made his name: by, uh, starring in a film called Risky Business. More and more, these days, it seems like Cruise is being drawn to the air, where he can soar over our heads as he stages the death-defying action for his next blockbuster.

For Top Gun: Maverick, Kosinski and cinematographer Claudio Miranda worked with Sony to develop the Rialto, which he describes as “a very small version of the VENICE” camera that can fit in the cockpit with an actor. The Rialto is named for a bridge over the Grand Canal in Venice, Italy. Moviegoers saw Hydro-Man breaching the canal near this bridge in Spider-Man: Far from Home.

Kosinski and his crew built a replica of the cockpit on the ground and used it for rehearsals. In the air, they actually managed to have six of these cameras running in the cockpit: two of them facing forward, and four of them trained on the actor, as you can see in the image at the top of this article.

With any luck, we’ll see a new addition to the pantheon of single-location movies someday where the whole plot revolves around a pilot just flying — or, you might say, cruising — around in his jet like Tom Cruise. How about a Dunkirk spin-off where Tom Hardy does the Locke thing again, with a mask over his face, muffling his voice, as always?

Top Gun: Maverick is scheduled for theatrical release on November 19, 2021.

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