Cinema before digital effects
Nowadays we are all very used to seeing how in all kinds of productions the use of visual effects generated by computer or VFX is used. A technique that, thanks to the power of current equipment, allows any type of element to be inserted into a scene. Moreover, during the last two years this entire industry has grown with new technologies such as that incorporated in the production of The Mandalorian series.
However, for many years, the cinema had to resort to other tricks with which it earned that qualification of the great factory of dreams. And it is that thanks to the use of models and different optical effects, really surprising things were done. You just have to look back and think of movies like Star Wars. From the spaceships to many other vehicles that appear in different scenes were nothing more than mockups that brilliantly played with our perception to look like the real thing.
Of course, they are not all science fiction productions, other films such as The Grand Budapest Hotel also make use of this type of element. Because even though it may seem the opposite, it is much more comfortable and sometimes even more realistic to use a mockup than 100% computer generated blueprints. And we say this because, logically nowadays when models are used, composition software is also used to generate other types of elements in the scene such as fog, chromatic aberrations, etc.
However, if all this catches your attention, do not miss this series of models used in different films throughout the history of cinema. Some are recent and you will surely remember them much more clearly, others will cost you more or you will not have seen them. But even now it is the ideal excuse to do it, to enjoy that work that managed to fool you and think that what you saw was true or, at least, life-size.
The most spectacular models of cinema
The work behind many of these models used in the cinema is so incredible in terms of size, detail, etc., that they are authentic works of art capable of making us enjoy even more the stories they tell in each of their films. Moreover, without them more than one would not have been possible or would not have been able to transmit the same sensations directly.
The Tim Burton-directed Batman movie used a giant scale model of Gothan. That allowed in 1989 to achieve a really attractive atmosphere as well as dark.
If you are a fan of Ghostbusters, surely you remember the 1984 movie with which many of us directly hallucinated and even … we had the odd nightmare with that giant doll at the end. Well, he was big, but not much more than a grown person.
It was really a suit worn by an actor who was walking around a model that recreated New York and part of Central Park. What’s more, the cars were remote-controlled and hence they moved while I was walking.
The endless story
The Silver City of Amarganth, belonging to the second installment of The Neverending Story, was also a model.
We don’t think there is anyone who does not know about the popular Harry Potter castle, Hogwarts. This iconic place where Harry and the rest of the wizards went to train had its own model and as you can see with practically all the details.
Again Ridley Scott, in 1979 it was with the Alien movie with which he also used models to shape the Nostromo ship among other elements and places.
Bladerunner, the first 1982 film directed by Ridley Scott, was arguably packed with scale models. From the city to the vehicles and many other elements were miniature recreations that served to shape a film that is in the memory of all those who are attracted to science fiction in a special way.
In the continuation of the story, Bladerunner 2049 mockups were reused. Here you can see one of them and also its imposing size. But maybe now you explain better why Bladerunner 2049 is also so special to many.
Grand Hotel Budapest
Wes Andersson’s 2014 film used a model to shape the Hotel Budapest. Then by using a green chroma they did the rest of the composition work for this particular tape.
The Lord of the rings
The Lord of the Rings, Peter Jackson’s trilogy, was also packed with models ranging from Rivendell to Helm’s Deep, Minas Tirith, etc.
What you see in the image above is the hospital that literally blows up when it explodes in the movie Origin. For this, models are also used, to be able to destroy them and make the feeling much more real than what could be done through full digital effects.
Another example of a model whose purpose is destruction, in this case from the movie Independence Day. Surely if you’ve seen the scene sounds familiar to you. Although it was not the only one, many more were blown up as well.
Back to the future III
The third installment of Back to the Future also has a scene much remembered by all in which you see how they take advantage of a train to push the Delorean and thus achieve the necessary speed to be able to jump in time. Well that, train and car, were models.
The original Star Wars trilogy also made use of numerous models. At that time it was the only way to achieve, through optical illusions, an environment as futuristic as the one they showed. Nowadays if you watch those episodes 4, 5 and 6 you will surely notice the models, but it doesn’t matter because at the time it was incredible.
The Titanic you saw sink in the James Cameron movie was a model. Or several rather, some larger than others, but all models.
How many times has New York been recreated in models? You assume that many more than most would imagine. Here the set served to later allow Godzilla to roam freely for him and everything that was seen in the 1998 film.
The hotel complex that is surprised by the immense wave of The Impossible was also a model. A scene that would later be completed with other sequences and the use of computer-generated visual effects, but simulating water is still very complex and that is why a model was used at that time.
Christopher Nolan’s Interstellar also had some elements, such as space vehicles and the occasional model ship. The rest if you have seen the movie, you already know it.
War of the Worlds
In 2005 Steven Spielberg resorted to the use of a detailed model to show the chaos in his film War of the Worlds. Just by seeing the care that they put into placing each element in the correct place, you will realize the work behind each production of this type.
An art that will not go out of style
These are some of the many examples that can be found in all this of the cinema and the use of models. Carolina JimenezA professional with years of experience who has participated in important film projects, he has published many more models used in films from different periods. So you realize that this is an art that will not go out of style.
It is true that the use of digital techniques help to achieve much more spectacular results and are sometimes the only way to make them come true, but there are also many occasions where these models and all the advantages it already offers in recording digital content allow another series of benefits. that for various reasons will always remain there. So, the best of all is to continue enjoying this very artisan work and play to see if you can guess in future films what a model might or might not be.
*The article has been translated based on the content of https://eloutput.com/cine-series/listas/maquetas-escenarios-cine/ by eloutput.com
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