Monday 30 April 2018

Even More Movie Miniatures...

As regular readers will know, I'm endlessly fascinated by the behind-the-scenes process on films, especially special effects work with miniatures and/or matte paintings.  I posted my first miniatures blog (which you can read here) back in October 2014 and have subsequently written ones about the James Bond series, Derek Meddings, The Indiana Jones original trilogy and ILM (which can all be found on this link).

Miniatures are scale models used to represent things that aren't there, are too expensive or difficult to film in reality, or which can't be damaged (by fire, flood or explosion) in real life.  They've now largely been replaced by (often terrible) CGI but the old ways, the practical art, does seem to be making something of a comeback.

I thought it was about time to post some more so here's another selection, hopefully highlighting occasions where it's not immediately obvious that you're looking at a miniature.

Close Encounters Of The Third Kind (1977, directed by Steven Spielberg)
visual effects supervised by Douglas Trumbull
Greg Jein works on the roadway for the scene where Richard Dreyfuss looks at his maps
Moonraker (1979, directed by Lewis Gilbert)
visual effects supervised by Derek Meddings
Filming Moonraker 5 coming in to dock at the space station
Escape From New York (1981, directed by John Carpenter)
visual effects supervised by Robert & Dennis Skotak
Building Manhattan island
The Terminator (1984, directed by James Cameron)
visual effects supervised by Gene Warren Jr
Setting up for the truck explosion
The Abyss (1989, directed by James Cameron)
visual effects supervised by John Bruno, Steve Johnson (aliens) and Dennis Muren (ILM cgi)
Building the Deepcore miniature
Backdraft (1991, directed by Ron Howard)
visual effects supervised by Scott Farrar
Building a factory to blow it up...
Independence Day (1996, directed by Roland Emmerich)
visual effects supervised by Volker Engel, Ray McIntyre Jr., Douglas Smith and Craig Barron
A perfect example of an invisible effect - model aeroplanes, painted backdrop and great lighting
Con Air (1997, directed by Simon West)
visual effects supervised by Mark Dornfeld, David Goldberg and John Matakovich
Setting up the shot where the plane hits the Hard Rock Cafe guitar
The Lost World: Jurassic Park (1997, directed by Steven Spielberg)
visual effects supervised by Dennis Muren (ILM)
The ILM model unit (supervised by Lorne Peterson) films the freighter crashing into the San Diego dock
Men In Black (1997, directed by Barry Sonnenfeld)
visual effects supervised by Rick Baker (creatures and make-up) and Eric Brevig (ILM)
Although the Arquillian and the jewellers head were created life-size by Rick Baker, the intricate puppeteering required a larger format creature be used for some shots.  ILM built the head casing, Baker the alien, a collaboration that works perfectly.
Armageddon (1998, directed by Michael Bay)
visual effects supervised by Craig Barron, Mark Dornfeld, Richard E. Hollander, Richard Hoover, Pat McClung, Erik Nash, Bruce Nicholson, Hoyt Yeatman and Ariel Velasco-Shaw
Lining up the shuttles
The X Files (1998, directed by Rob Bowman)
visual effects supervised by Mat Beck, Gray Marshall, Peter W. Moyer and John Wash
Blowing up the large scale miniature Dallas federal building
War Of The Worlds (2005, directed by Steven Spielberg)
visual effects supervised by Dennis Muren (ILM) and Ian Hunter (New Deal Studios, Inc)
Working on the church miniature for the first Tripod reveal
Skyfall (2012, directed by Sam Mendes)
visual miniature effects supervised by Steve Begg
Phew, it was a miniature...

There will be more miniatures posts...