I love Old School special effects. I hate the term, “We’ll fix it in post,” meaning that we didn’t get the shot we needed in the can, so we’ll have to fix it later in post-production.
A favorite Old School special effect of mine is the Hanging Miniature. That’s when you hang something in front of the camera so that it looks like it’s part of the scene.
We needed a shot of the City of Shadizar on top of a mountain ridge. We found the right-looking mountain –– but it was the wrong size. If we built the City of Shadizar on top of the mountain we had found, the towers of the city would have been several miles high….which would be impossibly ridiculous and a real budget buster.
So, I took a picture of the mountain and then drew and painted the city of Shadizar on top of the mountain, the way we wanted it to look:
Our great model maker, Emilio Ruiz del Río, took my drawing and used it to sculpt Shadizar. It was mounted on an extended arm so that the actors could cross under the arm and not break the illusion we were after.
Emilio did a fantastic job of blending his rocks with those of the real mountain.
Here is how it looked on screen, with the actors in place: