Saturday, 31 October 2015

A sense of Scale - a DVD documentary review

Berton Pierce has made a movie miniature fan's dream documentary. It is full of the legendary modelmakers of the 70's, 80's and 90's talking about their work on the blockbuster movies of the period. You get from watching the DVD a deep sense of the hand crafted nature of visual effects in those days and it is a joy to watch.  Thoroughly recommended.




Below is the trailer for the film.





The DVD can be purchased via this link

amazon.com Sense of Scale Documentary

There is also a Facebook page

https://www.facebook.com/SenseOfScaleDocumentary/

and a Youtube channel that has a bunch of great clips that didn't make it into the Documentary

piercefilm

Tuesday, 27 October 2015

The Sino Japanese War At Sea 1894 - 2012




aka - Jia Wu Da Hai Zhan

This Chinese film holds the distinction of being the most recent example of model ships in the cinema, being made in 2011 and screened in 2012.

According to Wikipedia the naval battle scenes were filmed on a fresh water lake in Inner Mongolia. It must be large enough that you can't see the land on other side as the horizon in the shots look convincingly at sea. The special effects are credited to the director's, (Feng Xiaoning) own special effects studio.

There is a massive amount of miniature work on show here and it is very effectively staged and photographed. The pyrotechnics are also very well done. In execution and indeed the time period represented, it is similar to the work supervised by Derek Meddings for the movie Shout at the Devil. The black smoke from the funnels is extremely convincing and some of the decks are populated with miniature figures. In many shots live actors are composited onto the miniature decks which brings the models to life. There is a man running carrying a shell which appears quite a few times. Occasionally the digital compositing work is a little obvious but the miniature work is uniformly excellent.

I would very much like to find out more about the shooting of the miniatures and particularly to see some behind the scenes photos of the shooting. I suspect the models are quite large. Special features are unlikely to surface as unfortunately Chinese film producers rarely if ever release DVDs as they simply cannot compete with the pirates.

The whole movie can be found In HD on YouTube, of course it is all in Chinese except for some British naval characters who speak English.






















































































































































































































































































































Thanks due to readers Andy Hall, Joe Rosendo and also Roger Todd for flagging this title.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                       

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