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The secrets of 'Black Swan' visual effects -- How did they do it?

In Darren Aronofsky’s psychological thriller “Black Swan,” an increasingly imbalanced ballerina, Nina Sayers (Natalie Portman), struggles to break free of her inhibitions. Cast as the lead in a production of “Swan Lake,” Nina perfectly embodies the purity and reserve of the white swan but falls well short of finding the aggressive sexuality and passion of its counterpart, the black swan. She is pushed ever harder by the company director to let loose, to go beyond the technical aspects of the dance and find the emotional resonance of the darker character. Yet, through weeks of rehearsals, she never captures it. The night of the show, as Nina’s mental state grows ever shakier, she suddenly breaks free to transform, quite literally, into the stunning and seductive black swan as Tchaikovsky’s score thunders around her.

-- Elena Howe 

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WOW they got rid of all the head replacement shots...all of it! What a nasty trick just to win an wouldn't have hurt portman's chances anyway! Its very disrespectful and they actually want us to believe she did all of those dancing herself or something????
Plus the fact that they tried to make it the original duration to cover it's been edited??? It's been on the INTERNET - it's not going to go away!

Found a copy of the original:

THis looks very creepy, but the concept and story are hardly original. I'm reminded of an excellent short story by EM Forster in which a young woman turns into an element of nature (I want to say a tree, but I can't remember for sure) as an escape from societal expectations, and her inner yearning for a more passionate and 'elemental' way of life. I also think this concept has been done before in film.

It's bogus that Natalie Portman's ballerina double is not acknowledged.

I've uploaded the original featurette (with the head replacements and all) to my university's film club blog, just google "Black Swan" and "AUEB" [or click me :-D]. I loved the film and think Portman should win the Oscar [for her ACTING, not the dancing!], but I think Fox is disrespecting viewers, dancers and the filmmakers too, with these cheap tricks. Not only they pulled the original video from anywhere they could, but they put some extra stuff in the new one, so that it is exactly 4min19 as the original [like if people wouldn't notice!].

OMG the scene when she becomes the black's just amazing!!!! The effects, Natalie's performance, the is the best best scene I've seen in ages!!! And the perfect finale...the shadow of the black swan behind, priceless!!!

Natalie's ACTING is what was amazing, the dancing is icing on that cake, but it's great cake without the icing.

No one has ever won an Oscar because they were an awesome dancer, singer, musician, etc.... those are bonuses, but their acting performance is what is voted on.

Trust me, SAG ACTORS voted for Natalie for her ACTING, not her dancing, like when she takes that black blusher off, and walks from backstage to onstage during her Odile (Black Swan) moments. The dancing was a bonus, but not the OMG moment that precedes it when she feels herself turning into the swan and sprouting those feathers. She OWNED that, and I voted for her.

Creepy... with the feathers. Still haven't seen it, but I will.

This is really awful, they took out all the head replacement! This has been such a manipulative and ungracious oscar campaign by her and her team. The ballerina who actually did all that work is Sarah Lane and Natalie Portman and her pr team are doing their best to make sure you don't know she exists. The sad thing is that it has worked and the oscar is already hers. She's not even credited as dancing in the movie on imdb.

I thought it was cool that with all the sets containing so many mirrors, that no crew or equipment was ever visible.

I saw the original too with Natalie's head placed on the real dancers' bodies. I wonder what happened to that video? She is probably still in the lead, but it does cause you to wonder what voters may think if they see that original video.

The original video on the studio's website includes all the instances of head replacement, whereas this one just shows a few. I guess this cut is trying to sell us that Natalie was doing all the dancing, rather than pointing out that most of the wide shots were done with a double, with Natalie's head placed on.

WoW! Freakin' amazing....


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