I’ve seen Blade Runner miniatures you people wouldn’t believe… but now you can study these physical film effects yourself.
Why do so many filmmakers prefer physical effects over computer graphics, even if they’re just combining the two? Well, just look at Blade Runner. The film presented a fully realized world complete with a decaying city and flying cars – all with physical effects that the crew had to build. It’s hard to imagine how challenging the task was, but newly released behind-the-scenes photos give us an idea of the lengths designers took bringing every detail to life.
Blade Runner was set in the far-flung future of 2019, where LA is a dystopian slum and escaped androids roam the streets. Now go watch its opening sequence and consider that the crew literally built all of that by hand. Flying cars, towering skyscrapers, the panoramic view of the city lights, all were constructed as precise miniatures that cameras could zoom in on. For context, Blade Runner‘s aerial shots were taken on a 12 foot wide set while the fire bursts are only 12 inches tall.
You can tell within just a few seconds why model design is an art form in itself – these impressive miniatures has a hugely significant impact on Blade Runner‘s visual style. While I certainly don’t mind computer effects, images like this that remind us why practical effects are embraced by fans and directors alike – and gets us all excited that it’s making a comeback.