David F. Sandberg is different from most other Hollywood superhero directors in that he has a YouTube channel. In fact, the director of Shazam! Under the username ponysmasher, he began sharing videos on video-sharing websites. In fact, it was his second horror short film, Lights Out, that gained him a reputation and set him on the path to directing Shazam!
While Sandberg is not as active on the website as he used to be, that does not mean his channel is no longer active. Through his platform, he continues to provide insight into the filmmaking process that few others provide, such as advice, tutorials, and little tips and tricks. There is even some behind-the-scenes information about Shazam’s production. It is unlikely that many fans will notice this when watching the film casually.
Many films (even blockbusters) are ultimately made by people, despite the millions of dollars poured into their production. As shocking as it may sound, people can be imperfect. As opposed to concealing these imperfections, Sandberg chooses to highlight them. As a result, he uses them in an effort to provide a learning experience to his students.
The mall scene in the first Shazam film is one of the best examples. Shazam is chased through the mall by Dr. Thaddeus Sivana, and while he is doing so, he takes flight in the crowded mall. When Shazam first leaves the ground, there is a visual effects shot, as some wires are removed for the wires used to lift Zachary Levi. The majority of audiences will not be aware of another sneaky use of VFX in the film.
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The shot Sandberg wanted to use for the film had a problem. Crew members were visible in the frame. It is unfortunate, but mistakes do occur, and no one is to blame. However, nobody noticed until the editing process began. Instead of rotoscoping the crew members out of the shot, they added shopping bags and gifts to them. In the mall, they were now extras, people going about their Christmas shopping.
It is strange that these members of the public are not fleeing the danger like everyone else, as Sandberg points out. Due to a clever bit of trickery, no one noticed that crew members were present in the shot. That is the power of Shazam, Sandberg pointing out the imperfections of his own film serves to highlight the creative efforts of himself and his team.