Effects house Double Negative cooked up a desert storm for the special effects in blockbuster movie Sahara.

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Master explorer Dirk Pitt (Matthew McConaughey) takes on the adventure of his life when he embarks on a treasure hunt through some of the most dangerous regions of North Africa. Searching for what locals call The Ship of Death, a long lost Civil War battleship filled with gold, Pitt and his wisecracking sidekick (Steve Zahn) use their wits and heroics to help Doctor Eva Rojas (Penelope Cruz) who believes the ship may be linked to mysterious deaths in the very same area…” 
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That takes care of the plot – let’s get on with the effects. Double Negative (DNeg), a Soho effects house with more than 30 feature films to its credit, landed the job of bringing the sand-yachts, explosions, and duststorms to the big screen. 
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“We were initially approached by VFX supervisor Mara Bryan, who we’d worked with before on a number of James Bond projects,” says Frazer Churchill, VFX supervisor at DNeg. “Looking through the boards was exciting because it was obviously a high-octane action movie, and all the action sequences involved serious military hardware.”
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As the title suggests, most of the action takes place in the desert, which presents its own set of difficulties, says Churchill. “Sand, dust, smoke and bright desert daylight conspired to make production pretty tricky. This coupled with lots of moving camera shots in frantic battle situations created a lot of challenges for our effects team.”
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Because of the unpredictable nature of the desert conditions, the schedule had to stay flexible. That meant Churchill was in Morocco for the duration of the shoot – February to April 2004.
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In total, DNeg completed 185 effects across eight sequences including an explosion in a blast furnace, a land-yachting sequence, a cave full of toxic waste, a Tuareg village, helicopter chases, and the powerful opening sequence.
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<h2>Explosive</h2>
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Deserted

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