Good Omens, the highly acclaimed BBC / Amazon Prime adaptation of Neil Gaiman and Terry Pratchett’s cult novel gets its DVD / BluRay release on 28th October. Miniature effects sequences featuring a Russian submarine and an American nuclear missile silo in the penultimate episode were provided by The Model Unit.
‘Director Douglas MacKinnon had come to us for the submarine sequences for the Doctor Who episode Cold War, and was keen to work with us again,’ explains FX supervisor Mike Tucker. ‘We were fortunate to be able to re-acquire the sub model that we had built for him back in 2011 and refurbish it for filming. The missile solo was built from scratch and stood about 12 feet tall.’
Also released on BluRay in October, Season 23 of the classic Doctor Who series gets additional effects for a special edition of Terror of the Vervoids, model unit supervisor Mike Tucker working alongside digital effects supervisor Rob Ritchie.
The Starbug miniature originally built over thirty years ago for series lll of Red Dwarf got another outing recently to help advertise a change of channel position for Dave. Despite having crashed more times than a ZX81, the model still looked as good as it did back in 1989.
Work by The Model Unit features in two of the big SF events on UK television this Autumn.
For Impossible Planet – the second episode of Chanel 4’s anthology series Phillip K Dick’s Electric Dreams – we were engaged by SFX supervisor Chris Reynolds and VFX Supervisor Tom Debenham to provide could tank imagery to represent the gas clouds and nebula.
These shots were then enhanced by Max Dennison and his team at DNegTV for use both as background plates for the spacecraft shots, and as projected images to be seen through the spacecraft window. These live action shots were achieved ‘in-camera’ by the production team via the use of high luminence projectors.
Meanwhile on Dave, Series Xll of Red Dwarf – which was shot back to back with last year’s episodes – showcases several shots featuring our Starbug landing pad miniature. Seen fleetingly in Series Xl, the pad makes its first major appearance in the series trailer.
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.
With warm wishes to everyone who has supported our work in 2014.