Urban Model Reference

Well, maybe not a reference, but a good view of a 1:1 city from the perspective we often see our model towns.


http://vimeo.com/9679622
Many scenes in this short movie really look "model-like".
Val
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On Tue, 2 Mar 2010 00:27:53 -0700, vmanes wrote:

Part of the model appearance comes from the time lapse effect on water; it lends the sped-up look of small bodies of water (seen in older sea movie model shots - when they made Das Boot in '81 they shot the models at high speed and slowed the film down so that the water splashing over a 1/3 scale U-Boat seemed to move with the mass of the real thing).
Then the apparently artificially done sharp focus at center with softer focus all around gives the look of the lack of depth of field seen in poorly made model railroad shots. Almost doing it backwards - neat!
--
Steve

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FYI: the American Society of Cinematographers manual gives frame rates to use for different scales of model.
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Steve Caple wrote:

I watched a couple of old movies recently which had some nice model work in them. "The Greatest Show On Earth" has several shots of a circus train running through the countryside which appear to be models. I wonder about the scale that was used because the locomotive is belching out a goodly amount of smoke. Makes me wonder if they were using large live steam models. The collision, where the first section of the train is stopped and the second section plows into the rear, is also rather amazing with the shattered pieces of the caboose flying around and the cars ahead of that telescoping. Yet it does not appear to be full size equipment used in the shot, and this movie was made in the early 1950s. The other movie was "The Spanish Main" which has many shots of model sailing ships. The opening scene of a ship in a storm crashing onto some rocks was impressive. In another battle scene masts and rigging get blown away as pirates attack a galleon. And in another port scene you see the oars on a longboat row as it heads toward the ship. These all appear to be models, and again I wonder about the scale used to be able to implement the animations seen in these scenes. This movie was from the mid-1940s and shows great talent in the model builders. OTOH, there was "Bram Stoker's Dracula", starring Gary Oldman and Winona Ryder. There were a couple of shots of a model steam train going through the mountains of Transylvania which were very badly done. I had to wonder, considering when the movie was produced and the technology available, why they couldn't have come up with far more realistic shots.
--

Rick Jones
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On Wed, 03 Mar 2010 09:06:59 -0600, Rick Jones wrote:

I recall that one from when I saw it when it was first released - I was nine - and I too recall being impressed by the model shot. Compare that to the atrocious model shots in the John Wayne naval potboiler "In Harm's Way"and the afore-mentioned great work in "Das Boot".
I was especially interested in the train wreck because the year before I'd walked the seven or eight blocks up from my house to see them unload the circus train - parked on an Illinois Central spur, I believe - and saw the elephants pull wagons several blocks east to a field north of the old Decatur Connies stadium (a mini 'green monster'), and hte riggers and roustabouts erecting poles and pounding in stakes with multiple mallet crews. Not sure, but I think t was Ringling Bros.
--
Steve

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The train wreck scene from Harrison Ford's "The Fugitive" was pretty well done too, and was filmed right down the canyon from my home by a life-long special effects modeler named Jack Sessums. Walking through his barn -where he stored the models that were left-over from previous film shoots- was an amazing experience!
Imagine a batch of 6' long Sherman tanks that were completely fuctional and were each controlled by a driver who sat hunched inside beneath the turret, or a 25' Fletcher-Class destroyer that was piloted by a single guy who reclined beneath the superstructure in a hull that wasn't much wider than he was!
Jack's back yard also featured about a mile of 15" gauge track on which he ran his completely scratch-built live steam two-trucked shay. It stands about 3' high at the cab.
http://www.arizonaandpacificrr.com/spot/joshuatree/liveoak.jpg
For anyone interested in professional movie and TV special effects modelers, here's a short bio:
http://www.laux.org/airwolf/Jack.rtf
Jack was very *very* good, and I miss him a lot.
~Pete
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On Wed, 3 Mar 2010 11:28:36 -0800 (PST), Twibil wrote:

Do you know what movie[s] that was used in?
--
Steve

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I'm sorry, Steve. I'm certain that I must have asked him and he must have told me, but that was circa 10 years ago and I no longer remember.
Jack's "barn" was a paradise for large-scale modelers: there was all this incredible stuff packed together into one room, and every single item was a *working* model of one sort or another. It always put me in mind of Jack Nicholson's line as the Joker in the original "Batman" movie: "Where does he get those *wonderful* toys?"
Of course, the answer in Jack Sessums' case was that he'd built every one of them himself.
~Pete
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