Inflatable Movie Extras


Scene from Glory Road

via The Inflatable Crowd Company

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82 Responses to Inflatable Movie Extras

  1. bob says:

    wow that killed the illusion of thousands of extras…

    • pepe says:

      this wolrd is an illusion

    • Mark says:

      That also killed a thousand jobs for movie extras……I worked as an extra on the movie “Age of Innocence”. There’s an Opera scene at the beginning. They had real extras sitting amongst cardboard cutouts. It sucked. But at least there were more people than cutouts. Now…..ughhhh

  2. james says:

    Isnt it easier to give a thousand people 50 bucks to sit down for a few hours then blow up a 1000 balloons?

    • Tim says:

      that may end up being more expensive, and also coordinating 1000 people is NOT easy

      • James says:

        Where as coordinating 1000 balloons is :p

        • wuz says:

          Sure, as long as they’re not filled with a lighter than air gas…although that may be good for some movies, who knows?

          • Mike says:

            giving “a thousand people 50 bucks” is $50,000…there is no way it would cost $50 per balloon to blow up…so, to answer you question james, you are retarded

      • Zach says:

        There’s the matter to consider though that they have to buy all the clothes and hats. I’m guessing extras might just bring their own clothes for the most part, just being told to bring something appropriate for the venue. Not that the dolls still wouldn’t save money over the long term though.

    • Nick says:

      Extras get paid more like 200-500 bucks.

      • Che says:

        It actually depends on how many hours you’re there for and if you’re in a union or not… But generally it’s $10 an hour. And sometimes when it looks like 1000 people, it’s just a few hundred that they move around the bleachers and edit together. Speaking from personal experience.

      • Dave says:

        Wrong. They get paid minimum wage, and time x1.5 after 8 hours, meaning an extra can’t make more than 100 dollars for a 14 hour day.

        • mrsleep says:

          You also have to consider if you have all those people, thats extra insurance, possibility of having to pay to feed them, and you have to provide adequate restroom facilities for those people, as well you have to pay taxes on the wages you pay them.

        • Eamon says:

          Wrong. They get paid minimum wage ($8.00), time x1.5 after 8 hours, and 2x after 10. A 14 hour day would net $152. Way cheaper to blow up the balloon people. The dummies, wardrobe, and masks are all owned by the studio, so all they pay for is labor to blow them up, dress, and place them.

          • Sam says:

            Wrong. I was an extra in the crazies and I got 10 an hour flat. No overtime. 11 hours got me $110.

          • Fairportfan says:

            It may vary from state to state – i’d bet in California the extras get more than minimum wage and likely have to belong to SAG.

            From WIkipedia:

            SAG-signatory Producers are allowed to hire non-Union background actors after a certain number of SAG performers have been cast; non-union background actors are usually paid the minimum wage. On productions outside of union jurisdiction, payment for background actors is at the discretion of the producers, and ranges from union-scale rates to “copy and credit” (i.e., no pay). Those producers who do not pay their actors may be in violation of State and Federal laws about minimum wage for a job.

    • Chris says:


    • John says:

      It would take a production crew only a few hours to set up those balloons, with clothing and all, and they get paid jack shit.

    • Val says:

      No, you’re retarded Mike. He didn’t say less expensive, he said easier. Learn how to read.

    • jack says:

      You idiot that would cost $50,000 rather then a couple grand and a few hours

  3. brendan says:

    Why wouldn’t they just use massive?

    • Lexi says:

      Speaking as a visual effects artist, it isn’t just a matter of using massive. In order to use massiver you need modelers to build the people, animators and riggers to create the base animations, shading artists to paint the models, matchmovers to match the camera, Massive artists to place the crowds, then days upon days of render time, and then compositors to put everything together. I don’t know that it would cost $50k but it would cost more that balloons.

  4. susan says:

    I would guess that they use these dolls fairly often, and are therefore saving a ton of money in the long run.

  5. Beth Sowell says:

    I know they showed two guys blowing up the dummies, but guys really, they don’t need to physically blow them up. i have a little machine that does it. just like the machine that blows up basketballs and air mattresses. think about it.

    plus the previous post was right, it is incredibly hard to manage 1000 ppl AND to credit them all in the credits. not to mention it’s super expensive.

  6. Tasha says:

    O.O Oh.

  7. Julia says:

    movies=slightly ruined

  8. Soapdish says:


    you don’t credit extras in the credits. That’s why they’re called extras.

  9. dude says:

    instead of 1000 people…how about 500 fat people. easily cordinated with a buffet when all is done. lol

  10. Jules says:

    This isn’t always true. Sometimes they put ads in local newspapers where they are shooting and people can come in and be extras. I was an extra in the movie Cherry Crush during the football scene.

  11. Rebecca says:

    heh heh….I find this funnier than I should. I want to be an extra. A lot of times I watch extras in movies or shows I’ve seen before…funny stuff.

  12. TWX says:

    I wouldn’t be surprised if the inflatable dummies are tied together such that they can inflate a row at a time. I also wouldn’t be surprised if they still throw lots of extras in among the dummies so that they get crowd movement in the shot.

  13. Amanda says:

    How’d you manage to collect 1000 different shirts?

  14. Alyssa Hamilton says:

    They also sit random extras throughout the dolls to create the illusion of a living, moving crowd. Your eyes are automatically drawn to the people who are moving and away from the dolls as the camera pans by.

  15. josiah says:

    so this is how the WNBA and WNCAAB get there seats filled

  16. Will says:

    props to james for trolling all of u

  17. well, this would be easier than taming a crowd of 1000

  18. Hannah says:

    Also, these balloons are reusable. People expect more money.

  19. John says:

    I was a background extra for a rock concert scene at The LA Forum. The director wanted us to dance and flail our arms around to the music. We all had to be very animated so inflatable crowds weren’t used.

  20. wfwqfweqf says:

    Better than CGI. Nuff said.

  21. Meagan says:

    People from Stumbleupon, holla

  22. skye says:

    actually…u kno what els sucks more then blowing them up?? deflating them…its so much easier then the work u put into inflating them…which personally would make me sad…ruining my hard earnd work.. haha

  23. Jenna says:

    I just feel like it would be a lot less work to just hire people…lol!

  24. trapphouse420 says:

    i do extra work and its about $100 for non SAG and $160 for SAG so yes this is worth it to not pay extras

  25. RorySpaceman says:

    3rd picture > Simon Pegg

  26. Remy says:

    Or… Maybe it doesn’t actually matter if they use blow up dummies or if they use real people. I mean honestly. Does it really matter? Get off your high horse. I mean yeah, it would be cool to be a extra, and it is kinda upsetting knowing they use blow up dummies instead of real people but I don’t think it actually changes the quality of the movie.

  27. Steven says:

    I have to say that it must be easier just to phone the ‘extras’ on the list and have them turn up and do the filming, rather than spending all that time getting all those dummies set up and positioned and then packing them away again at the end of the take… must be a logical reason for the method somewhere?

  28. me says:

    I’ll never be able to watch a basketball-movie ever again, without thinking that over half of the audience is fake and actually are inflatable (upper-bodies) dolls. That sort of killed it, I could’ve continued my life without knowing this.

    • A movie fan says:

      Oooohhhhhh noooooo! Movies use effects! Everything you see on screen isn’t exactly as it appears! Movies AREN’T REAL!!

      Seriously? If THIS ruined movies for you or anyone, then never watch a documentary about filmaking.

      Did you know they also use COMPUTERS to make special effects???
      Also, Godzilla is a man in a rubber suit!!!

      Gosh, I am mean.

  29. Dennis says:

    For all you math wizards, consider that the production company has probably already done the math and weighed the pros and cons, as has the company that makes the dolls and outfits them and sells the service.

  30. Dennis says:

    I’ll never be able to watch a basketball-movie ever again, without thinking that over half of the audience is fake and actually are inflatable (upper-bodies) dolls. That sort of killed it, I could’ve continued my life without knowing this.

    I’ve seen maybe one good basketball movie in my life that the actual play and the crowds looked half-way realistic, and that was Hoosiers.

  31. Corinda says:

    .. Who cares! lol

  32. comicadze says:

    Now i know that all the movies just FAKE

  33. The Cinémasochist says:

    I’ve worked as an extra alongside these dolls.
    They are dressed in second hand clothing and can be left there for days, weeks months.
    They use these for the back rows of crowds and place “real” extras in front.
    It’s all part of making movies affordable.
    Dolls require no water, no bathroom facilities, no craft services (food on set).
    They do not charge overtime.
    Sports movies are not shot in a day. So if you do very simple math, you see why this will be the difference between your sport movie being mad for a decent budget or a massive money-pit that could not possibly be profitable.

    1000 x $100 x 20 days of shooting is TWO MILLION DOLLARS!

    It makes sense. The usually appear on screen so faraway or in shots where the camera is panning rapidly across them.
    The older method used to be cardboard cutouts. These work better as they work from all angles.

    And although extras can supply their own clothing, they rarely can show up for 4 weeks in a row with exactly the same clothes every day. Think of the smell!

    Also, a mention should have been made that they do not constitute the entire crowd but are used to “augment” it. Even if the production can afford 1000 extras, the will still use these to make it look like they have 3000 extras. Etc.

    Even Gone with the Wind padded its famous “Defeat of the South” crane shot with dummies.

  34. mark says:

    The inflatable balloons have more intelligence and smell nicer than extras

  35. Jeff says:

    I work in the movies as a technician and using balloon extras makes a lot of sense. For one extras talk while the crews are working, even though it is their job not to. Doesn’t sound like a big deal? Put a 1000 people in a room talking and it gets pretty loud, which makes doing your job as a technician harder because you can’t hear what your bosses are saying. That’s what radios are for? Still hard with that much chatter. So when there are lots of extras the room usually needs to be cleared to the technician can do their work. The time lost in trying to coordinate all those people in and out of set. Then once they are out they can’t help but walk around go places they are not suppose to go, eating off crew craft service and then the wranglers have to run around finding lost extras. This process causes a lot of lost time that can all be avoided.

    So to all the Extras or Back Ground performers, if you don’t want to see your jobs lost to balloons try these simple steps. When on set, keep your mouths shut and pay attention to your wranglers and the AD’s. There will be lots of time for chatting each other up while you are in holding.

    Thank you

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  40. Aidy says:

    I guess it’s another way studios save money. Kinda weird, but c’est la vie!

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