The Story of Godzilla’s Birth – Pt 41


The Story of Godzilla's Birth
「ゴジラ誕生語」The Story of Godzilla's Birth by Osamu Yamaguchi

P 91


Regarding himself, Arikawa later said, “Back then, I wasn’t a cameraman, I was in charge of the camera.”


Still number 2. After that, it was like being an amateur, and most of the people were acquaintances or related. With such emergency measures in place, the work was somehow progressing. In other words, the special effects staff was a “motley group of amateurs.” There were about 80 people, including several skilled and experienced craftsmen, their acquaintances and relatives. It was a makeshift group that even included part-time students and housewives.


There was simply no time to shoot “Godzilla.” Work progresses in parallel at various locations. The “pictorial sketches” introduced earlier (page 3) were also used for explanations and confirmation during the shooting process, and were extremely helpful. Through these sketches, the staff, including the main actors, visualize the scene, and they get a sense of movements of others. In “Godzilla,” the main feature and special effects were essential to unify the image.


Tsuburaya explains this to the staff while looking at the storyboard.


“Listen, this scene is lit diagonally from above. The art requires illumination. Please follow this closely with the camera.”


The staff members were given explanations one after another using storyboards, even though they had no idea what the scene would look like. Even if they think they understand something on the spot, when the actual event comes around, everyone falls apart. After all, he was trying to get a group of amateurs to work together to make a movie. Moreover, it was a special effects movie about a giant monster that no one had ever seen before.

P 92


“No, you’re wrong. Move as if Godzilla is over there. Oh, no, no. Then the camera and lighting would move in the opposite direction.”


On site, nothing progresses unless Tsuburaya gives instructions one by one. Many of the staff wondered, “Can we really make a movie with something like this?”


“Godzilla” was filmed in a small studio in the corner of the filming location. The small studio really was an annoyance to the cameraman.


“Director, no matter what you do, the ceiling will be in the picture.”


The background horizon is narrow and low. If he takes a low-angle shot of Godzilla from below, it will stick out from the horizon, and the ceiling of the studio will inevitably come into the camera.


“Why can’t you use a larger studio?”


An irritated staff member approaches Tsuburaya. Tsuburaya scratches his head as usual and says with a laugh.


“Well, it can’t be helped. Special effects are still rated at that level.”


Tsuburaya says it so easily that everyone is taken aback. Although he didn’t say it out loud, there must have been a mountain of grudges piled up in his heart. but,


“For the night scenes, let’s shoot outside at night. It’s an open set. Isn’t it the biggest horizon?”


When Tsuburaya said this, he felt strangely convinced, “That’s certainly true.”