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.
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.
The shows of Gerry Anderson – including Thunderbirds, Captain Scarlet, UFO and Space: 1999 – have been benchmarks in the creation of stunning models and miniature effects, and the Model Unit is very proud to announce its involvement with Firestorm, a brand new science fiction series from Anderson Entertainment.
Following in the grand tradition of those well-loved series created by his father, producer Jamie Anderson has assembled a team of practical effects designers and technicians, with the goal of recreating the texture and feel of those ground-breaking shows, but using the very latest materials and cameras to bring those effects bang up to date.
Model Unit Supervisor Mike Tucker explains the appeal of the project:
“There are a huge number of people now in the visual effects industry – myself included – who are only here because of the influence that those Gerry Anderson series had on us. A large number of my regular crew are huge fans of those shows, and in particular of the work of effects designer Derek Meddings, so to get the opportunity to work on a project that puts models and practical effects at the heart of the production is incredibly exciting. I’m extremely grateful to Jamie, and to VFX Supervisor Steve Begg, for inviting us on board.”
The initial plan for Firestorm is to fund a pilot via the crowdfunding website Kickstarter, with the hope of then going forward into production of a full series.
More information can be found on the project here: Gerry Anderson’s Firestorm – Filmed in Ultramarionation by Jamie Anderson