Whiskey galore 1949

This  Alexander Mackendrick Ealing comedy has a few shots of a miniature ship and what looks to be a glass shot of the stranded ship stuck on the rocks. The first shot of the bow of the ship suffers greatly from too small a depth of field. Most of the shots do not show any interaction with water except the final sinking shot. Some of the shots combine the miniature with rear projected live action plates. Miniatures are likely the work of one of the two credited special effects personnel, Sydney (Syd) Pearson.

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The Abyss 1989 Part 5

This is Part 5. Part 1 is here, Part 2 is here,  Part 3 is here and Part 4 is here.

Looking back at the visual effects work on the Abyss I was struck by how the miniatures shot both in a real underwater environment and motion controlled in smoke filled studio  are still as effective and compelling today as they were back in 1989. At the time it was the computer generated Pseudopod which captured all the attention, which ironically, looking at it today , rather shows its age.

This film was at the very start of the digital revolution which has transformed the field of visual effects irrevocably. There are visual effects supervisors today who have never been on a miniatures shoot, they have no experience of it, the technique is slowly being lost. My aim with this website is try to keep the knowledge alive in any small way I can. There has never been a CGI film that has in any way been close to capturing the deep felt enthusiasm I have for miniatures. The tragedy is that in this day and age where the constraints of the photochemical film process and optical printing have been totally overcome by digital  compositing, where it is a relatively simple task to remove wires and control rods from a scene and where radio control is now reliable, flexible and interference free, miniatures could now more than ever be a practical and economical visual effects solution.  It’s not gonna happen but I can dream…

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