Mythbusters is a Discovery Channel television show, in which experts in entertainment special effects try to determine if "urban legends" — their "myths" actually can happen, or are "busted" as impossible. Occasionally, the answer is "perhaps".
Some of their tests are potentially quite dangerous, and a careful observer will note extensive professional safety precautions. Even with their expertise, the team will bring in, for example, certified explosives experts.
Jamie Hyneman and Adam Savage are the co-hosts, who actively work on testing the myths along with their team.
Jamie Hyneman, whose formal education was in Russian, has worked as a wilderness survival expert, boat captain, diver, linguist, animal wrangler, machinist and cook, before moving to visual-effects industry. He managed the model shop for Colossal Pictures, then formed his own firm, M5 Industries. A Screen Actors Guild member, he also holds several patents, and has diversified business into technologies for a variety of industries.
A sculptor and model maker, the son of a filmmaker/painter and psychotherapist, "Adam has been making his own toys since he was allowed to hold scissors. Having held positions as a projectionist, animator, graphic designer, carpenter, interior and stage designer, toy designer, welder, and scenic painter, he's worked with every material and process he could get his hands on — metal, paper, glass, plastic, rubber, foam, plaster, pneumatics, hydraulics, animatronics, neon, glassblowing, mold making and injection molding." In addition to working on over 100 commercials since 1993, his movie credits include "Star Wars: Episode I - The Phantom Menace" and "Episode II: Attack of the Clones", "Galaxy Quest", "Terminator 3", "A.I." and the "Matrix" sequels.He teaches model making in the industrial design department of the San Francisco Academy of Art, and still shows his original sculptures.
A graduate San Francisco State University's film school, he worked Jamie Hyneman at a small production company, later moving to Industrial Light and Magic,as a model bulder, sculptor and painter on films including Star Wars: Episode 1 - The Phantom Menace, Star Wars: Episode 2 - Attack of the Clones, Starship Troopers, Galaxy Quest, T3, The Matrix, The Matrix Reloaded and Van Helsing.
Another San Francisco State alumna, she began as a sculptor and painter, but moved into model-making and toy-prototyping, which led to a job with Jamie Hyneman at M5 Industries, and into Mythbusters.
The electronics engineer of the team, he is a former animatronics engineer and model maker for Industrial Light & Magic, where he worked on The Lost World: Jurassic Park, Star Wars: Episode I - The Phantom Menace, Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines, A.I.: Artificial Intelligence and Van Helsing, The Matrix Reloaded and Revolutions. For the Star Wars series, he is a robot operator for R2D2. He kept the Energizer Bunny going and going and going as an electronic circuit designer and operator.
Automotive and metalworking expertise come from this daughter of a mechanical engineer, "It was while sitting by her father's side, watching and learning and eventually doing, that "daddy's little girl" developed her passion for building and racing cars." She is a graduate of WyoTech in Laramie, Wyo., having studied and excelled in the areas of collision/refinishing, street-rod fabrication, chassis fab and high-performance engines. Moving to television, she has been a a guest fabricator in the "SpeedAir" and "Cherry Nova" episodes of the The Learing Channel (TLC) series Overhaulin', and co-hosted more than 80 episodes of Xtreme 4x4 on the Spike Network.
A staple in many movies is that a pistol bullet can cause sufficient explosive decompression to suck a villain through a window. Mythbusters obtained a full-sized retired airliner, and pressurized it such that the differential pressure between the interior, and the regular atmosphere, was equivalent to that of an aircraft at cruising altitude. A remote-controlled gun then fired a pistol bullet into the window. Damage was minimal; the myth was busted. Using an explosive charge, however, there was significant destruction.
Not all myths are busted. They were able to hide from a security motion detector by having Kari hold a sheet loosely overhead, and move slowly through its field; the sheet apparently hid her heat signature from infrared detectors and damped the Doppler effect for ultrasonic detection.