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While superhero movies have become commonplace through the myriad cinematic universes currently in theaters, there was a time when they were a relatively new concept. And as far as Marvel comics goes, the first live-action adaptation was not Iron Man, but 1998's Blade. Starring Wesley Snipes as the titular half-vampire and dark hero, Blade ended up growing into a bonafide trilogy before Marvel began really producing live-action adaptations. The first film set up the franchise's world with a rave scene, where blood sprayed from from the sprinklers, and the vampires revealed themselves to the audience. Now we know how they made the blood look so great, thanks to cinematographer Theo Van de Sande. As he tells it,
What we did in creating the Blood Club, it had a lot of technical elements to deliver a feel of something never seen. We wanted to give the blood a particulation, so I used a strobe light that was connected to the camera. Because of that, the blood becomes very stylistic due to the short exposure and gives a very harsh feel to it. Also, I created a [new] camera, one designed with an anamorphic lens equipped with a viewfinder, so we could do a lot of hand-held in the action scenes. The choice to do it anamorphic gives it more impact.
Well, this process certainly seems complicated. While Blade's thrilling opening sequence may come off polished and easy, it turns out that it was a technical nightmare on set. In order to properly light the scene and feature the blood, some creative solutions were needed. This includes the use of a strobe light on the camera, as well as oodles of fake blood.
Theo Van de Sande's comments to Syfy show just how much work goes into action sequences, especially when supernatural or superheroic elements are added. Comic book adaptations have to be larger than life, and that includes Blade's dark and bloody world. And ultimately it work that paid off, as Blade's opening sequence is creepy as hell, and also sets up the perfect entrance for the title character. As a reminder, check it out below.
Seriously, how cool is that? Theo Van de Sande did a great job filming the scene and making it as unnerving as possible. And just when the villainy and blood sucking was about to begin, the film's hero shows up, and promptly starts swinging his sword to take out the undead. This isn't the MCU you're used to.
It should be interesting to see if Blade ever makes it into the Marvel Cinematic Universe. There's definitely fan interest, but could they ever replace Wesley Snipes? Snipes certainly doesn't seem to think so. Be sure to check out our 2018 release list to plan your next trip to the movies.