News.bytes News.bytes Extra, issue 218

Superbowl commercial filmed on public lands in Owens Valley

The use of BLM public lands for shooting commercials, films and TV shows got a big national boost last week, with one of the Super Bowl's advertising highlights, the so-called "Caveman" commercial for Federal Express. The commercial was filmed on two sites within lands managed by the BLM' Bishop Field Office: the Alabama Hills and the Goodale Creek Campground west of Lone Pine in Inyo County.

Below: the "cave" was actually styrofoam constructed in Santa Monica:
The "cave" was actually styrofoam constructed in Santa Monica

BLM' Donna McMullen served as compliance officer and reports 70 people from Traktor Films, the permittee, endured howling winds and temperatures down to eight degrees Fahrenheit. With the scenic Alabama Hills and the majestic Sierra Nevada Range in the background, the "cavemen"; who spent five hours in make-up, and the cave, which was actually styrofoam constructed in Santa Monica, were all that were filmed onsite -- the dinosaurs were digitally added in the studio.

BLM carefully plans for such shoots, balancing the industry' needs with protection of the public lands. Filming companies pay fair market value for use of the public lands and small communities in the Owens Valley also financially benefit from the crew' presence.

A large fog machine was used to create the "primordial fog."; Area firefighting and law enforcement agencies
were notified in advance -- as it looked like a fire and was visible for miles.
A large fog machine was used to create the "primordial fog"

On-site production involved 70 people, and about 25 support vehicles:
Tents, film crew and a large piece of equipment await their tasks

If you missed the commercial, you can view it online at the FedEx website. To view the commercial, follow this link and click on "Stick" for PC or for Mac:
The link to this advertisement is for informational purposes only and does not represent an endorsement of any commercial product, service or enterprise by the Bureau of Land Management or the government of the United States.

Alternate link, via Google video:

For more information on these public lands or filming requirements, check out these websites:

"What does it take to get a film permit?" (BLM California, Bishop Field Office website)
The long history of movie making in the Alabama Hills, since the early 1920's, continues today on public lands administered by the Bureau of Land Management.  Major movies filmed in the last ten years include: Stallions, The Searcher, Danger Zone III, Tremors, An Army of One, Maverick, The Shadow, Digital Man, Shadowlands, Star Trek series, Star Trek "Generations", New Age, and G.I. Jane.
What does it take to get a film permit?

"Goodale Creek Campground" (BLM California, Bishop Field Office website)
Information and photo.

"The Alabama Hills dedication" (BLM California, Bishop Field Office website)
On May 24, 1969, the BLM dedicated nearly 30,000 acres of public land west of Lone Pine, CA, as the Alabama Hills Recreation Area. Management plans are being considered that will eventually include a scenic trail system that people may walk and enjoy this geologic phenomena at a leisurely pace. The full intent of the BLM management plan is to preserve the hills in as close to a natural state as possible, for the enjoyment of future generations of Americans.
Alabama Hills

News.bytes, issue 218