All posts by toomanysusans

Doctor Who Series 10

We are delighted to reveal that we have been involved in an episode of the new series of Doctor Who, allowing us to continue our run of having worked with each of the four actors playing the Doctor since the show returned to our screens in 2005.

We’re not at liberty to discuss the details of our sequence just yet, but there is a glimpse in the series 10 teaser trailer:

Doctor Who Experience Update Spring 2017

The Doctor Who Experience’s ongoing programme of restoration saw us returning two classic Tom Baker era monsters to their former glory.

The Doctor Who Fan Show spoke to Mike Tucker about his time working on Doctor Who and some of his personal highlights:

Doctor Who Experience Unveils Classic Fan-Favourite Monsters | Articles | DoctorWho.tv.

The next batch of monsters to be restored will be unveiled this month.

Principal Photography Commences on Origin Unknown

Principal photography has now commenced on Origin Unknown, with Katee Sackhoff in the lead role.

After the first manned mission to Mars ends in a deadly crash, mission controller Mackenzie ‘Mack’ Wilson (Sackhoff) assists an artificial intelligence system, ARTI. Their investigation uncovers a mysterious object under the surface of Mars, that could change the future of our planet as we know it.

The film is directed by Hasraf ‘HaZ’ Dullul, an award-nominated visual effects artist who recently signed on to direct the much-anticipated Robin Hood reboot, Robin Hood 2058. While simultaneously directing music videos and commercials, HaZ transitioned into scripted fare with his sci-fi short film Project Kronos, which became an internet hit on YouTube and Vimeo.

The screenplay for Origin Unknown is written by Gary Hall, based on a story by Dulull. The Director of Photography is Adam Sculthorp (aerial unit on Prometheus and Spectre). The VFX will be handled by Territory Studio, Paddy Eason is the VFX Supervisor and The Model Unit is providing miniature effects.

Visit the movie website here:  originunknownthemovie.com

Choose the next monsters to appear at the Doctor Who Experience! 

The Model Unit continues the programme of restoration of iconic Doctor Who monsters from the vaults for BBC Worldwide.

The next phase of classic monster refurbishment at the Doctor Who Experience is interactive. Follow the link to vote for the costumes that you want to see refurbished next.

Voting closes on Friday 23rd July, with the winning monsters announced w/c 25th July.

To vote, click through to the DoctorWho.tv website: Choose the next monsters to appear at the Doctor Who Experience!

The Model Unit Summer 2016 Update

The eleventh series of cult SF series Red Dwarf arrives on Dave in September, and the Model Unit have been involved with both props and miniature effects sequences for the new series.

Written and directed by Doug Naylor, and produced by Baby Cow Productions, two series have been shot back-to-back, with audience recordings taking place at Pinewood Studios.

Whereas previous series have allocated the effects work to one overseeing company, Series Xl and Xll have split the work across a number of vendors, and The Model Unit has been working alongside model crew from the Magic Camera Company, as well as the digital effects team.

Model Unit regulars Nick Kool and Alan ‘Rocky’ Marshall – both veterans of the first 8 series of Red Dwarf from the BBC VFX Department days – joined Effects Supervisor Mike Tucker for the recent model shoot, continuing a relationship with the show that stretches back 28 years.

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The Model Unit at the Doctor Who Experience

The Model Unit is currently engaged in programme of refurbishment of props from the classic era of Doctor Who for the Doctor Who Experience in Cardiff.

Working with Brad Kelly of BBC Worldwide, several vintage props and costumes from the 1970s and 80s have been earmarked for restoration, as part of an on-going programme intended to bring items that have not been exhibited for decades to a new audience.

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That programme had been launched with the restoration of the original Davros costume and chair, last seen in 1985 in the Colin Baker story Revelation of the Daleks.

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Using the original moulds, and by tracking down contemporary dressing elements, the prop has been returned to its last screen-used appearance, and presented to a new audience of ‘Doctor Who’ fans for the first time in a over a decade.

Further refurbishments are planned over the coming months.

Origin Unknown

Working alongside director and VFX supervisor Hasraf ‘Haz’ Dulull, the Model Unit has provided models and miniature effects effort for the forthcoming British SF feature Origin Unknown.

Miniature Effects Supervisor Mike Tucker explains how the Model Unit became involved:

“I was contacted by DoP Adam Sculthorp, who had acted as our 3D Supervisor on the 50th anniversary Doctor Who story, The Day of the Doctor. Adam explained that Haz was looking to achieve the bulk of his effects through practical means, and we were more than happy to get involved.

The challenge has been to try and bring Haz’s high-end, cinematic vision to life within the confines of an extremely tight budget, but the shoot that we have just competed has resulted in some truly epic looking shots.”

Live action photography for Origin Unknown is currently scheduled to take place early next year.

BAFTA Guru | In Focus – Visual Effects Vol 2

The second BAFTA Guru interview on VFX, with contributions from Model Unit Supervisor Mike Tucker, is now live on the BAFTA Guru website, and on YouTube.

Hear from the visual effects experts behind AvatarThe Hobbit: Desolation of SmaugIron Man, Doctor Who and Sherlock on how they bring the impossible to life on screen, how technology has changed the visual effects process and how beginners can get their start in the industry.

Celebrating 10 Years of The Model Unit

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August 1st  marks exactly ten years since The Model Unit was registered at Companies House. Twenty years of working in-house at the BBC had finished, ending one chapter of my life, and starting a totally new one.

It would be easy to fall victim to the reality television cliché of saying that ‘it has been the most extraordinary journey’, but the truth is that the last ten years really have been extraordinary.

From the point that we arrived at Ealing Studios and set up shop, my crew and I have had the pleasure of working on some of the most exciting effects projects that anyone in my profession could hope for. We’ve built spacecraft and dinosaurs, we’ve destroyed buildings and crashed aircraft, we’ve recreated volcanoes, hurricanes, tornados and tidal waves, we’ve provided effects for shows that had inspired us when we were children, we’ve been involved one of the most successful British films for decades, and we’ve worked alongside some incredibly talented companies and individuals.

That work has taken us to the USA, Canada, and Norway, it has garnered us a Primetime Emmy nomination, multiple RTS and BAFTA nominations, and two BAFTA Craft Award wins, and I am incredibly proud of every single shot that we have been involved with.

Nothing that The Model Unit has created would have been possible without the hard work, skill, dedication and good humour of the amazing group of people that have worked with me over the last ten years – either in the workshop, in the studio, or supporting me behind the scenes – and so to all of you I say simply this:  Thank you.

Everything that we have achieved since 2005 is down to you, and I hope that the next ten years will offer us as much fun, excitement, satisfaction and laughter as the last ten have.

Mike Tucker
Director and Effects Supervisor, The Model Unit
August 2015