The Insightful Troll

Rants and ruminations.

Using Miniatures to Create Distinctive Worlds

Prop & model maker Simon Weisse talks about the perhaps surprising popularity of miniatures in contemporary filmmaking, when the technique works and when it doesn’t (e.g. when unscalable elements like rain or fire/explosions are involved), and why certain directors use it instead of CGI.

Older movies, like 1977’s Star Wars: Episode IV — A New Hope, had no choice but to use miniatures to make their worlds feel real. But even in the modern day of CGI, filmmakers are still using minis — just look at projects like The Mandalorian, Blade Runner 2049, Harry Potter, and The Dark Knight series. In those movies, miniatures are used for expansive sets that establish the world of a film, otherworldly vehicles like spaceships, and more.

Its amazing how Star Wars: Episode IV - A New Hope still looks good - the original version, not the bastardized version LucasFilm created with digital special effects. The locations, objects and creatures appear to have a soul. Not some afterthought that looks silly or painted on.