Exterior shots were filmed on Island of Martha’s Vineyard Massachusetts on 2 May of 1972. There were thoughts about eastern Long island but Martha’s Vineyard offers two advantages for the producers of Jaws.
1. According to David Brown they wanted a vacation area that was a tourist destination of the lower middle class - so that it can be believable to audience that the appearance of the shark will destroy the local tourist industry.
2. The coast line of Martha’s Vineyard had a sandy bottom that is not deeper than 35 feet (11m) from the shore - so mechanical shark model were able to operate.
The underwater shot were filmed at Metro - Goldwyn - Mayer water tank in Culer City California and in Santa Catalina Island (California).
The Ben Garden’s body scene is an underwater scene, where the marine biologist Hooper finds the head of local fisherman Ben Gardner in a swimming pool in Enchino California - using a fake body placed at a boat hull.
Real Shark attack footage from Australia
Real Shark attack footage from Australia, Ron and Valery Taylor shot real shark attack footage from Australia. Especially they used a miniature scuba cage to create the illusion that the real shark was huge. This real footage was incorporated in film.
Joe Alves designed three full size shark models, they were fabricated at Rolly Harper’s Motion Picture and Equipment Rental in Sun Valley. The contruction process of the three models was supervised by mechanical efects supervisor Bob Mattey known in cinema industry for his work in film 2000 lEagues under the sea (she had created a giant squid). The models were giant and there was a need for extra divers to locate sharks at the ocean bottom and other 14 men to operate the models.
The film director of Jaws, Steven Spielberg wanted the camera to resemble what swimmers and shark attack victims see, as a result a cinematographer Bill Bulter innovated and he created a rig to keep the camera stable and a sealed submarine camera box to film the underwater action. All innovations created in an effort to facilitate the marine and underwater shooting of Jaws.
The final film
The production of the film went over budget and had a vary troubled shooting. The real location shooting approach and the use of full sized sharks and the realistic performance of the shark caused not only delays but also changes at the shooting script.
Actually there was a unrealistic performance of shark models. The director of Jaws - Steven Spielberg decide to hint the unrealistic shark models and to show only the affects of shark presence rather than the shark itself. Examples of this technique are:
(1). During the scene of shark hunt, the location of the shark is showen by yellow barrels and not by showing the shark itself.
(2). The opening scene, where the giant shark is not showen to the audience, but the a young woman is being devoured by shark. Steven Spielberg used soft cables to drank and yank the young actress in an effort to simulate the shark attack.
Actually, mulfuctions and unrealistic performance of shark models and the desicion to hit shark models from the audience have added suspense to Jaws film and as it was announced by Steven Spielberg “The film went from a Japanese Saturday marine horror flick to a more a Hitchcock film - the less you see the more you get thrilled” - “The shark not working was a godsent. It made me became more Alfred Hitchcock than the Ray Harryhausen” as a result the acting became more critical fpr making the audience believe in the giant shark. “The more fake the shark looked in the water, there was more need for actors realistic performance”.
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