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Shell Commercial 1997

In June, 1997, we were approached by an agent for Industrial Light and Magic (you know, Star Wars) about using the 5623 in an advertising campaign for Shell Gasoline. Sure, we thought. Make a few dollars, have an interesting day and get fed. Well, call this a learning experience. ILM hired the Oakland Terminal Railway crew for the day and wound up running the 5623 back and forth for the better part of 8 hours. Overall, we had a good experience with the ILM crew and they lived up to all agreements and promises. All photos by George D. Childs Jr.

The first couple of hours were spent loading 2 steam generators on the off side of the 5263. Steam, on a diesel? Well folks, this is the movies. Without going into glowing detail, the output of the generators was piped to a nozzle attached to the right side of the front truck. I believe it is refered to as "atmosphere".

Does it look a bit strange? It should. The "set decorators" put "easily removable" black masking material over the lettering on the engineer's side and over the orange stripes on the front. I could not figure that out as orange is Shell's color. But, it is best to just sit back and watch. The camera dolly in the front was attached to a cart which runs on rails and was pushed by a couple of fellows at the same speed as the locomotive. Again and again.

This is what is known as"green screen". The 5623 was photographed against the screen which was later computer manipulated so that the locomotive appeared to be in a downtown area. The ultimate effect in the final product is very convincing.

When the black tape was removed, the lettering was damaged in a few places. These 3 photos depict the process of repainting the damaged letters. Live and learn. Next time, No Set Decorators!! (thumbnails only)

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