VFX artists from the popular YouTube channel Corridor Crew break down why the visual effects of the original Blade Runner were revolutionary. Directed by the legendary filmmaker Ridley Scott, Blade Runner is based on the 1968 sci-fi novel Do Androids Dream Of Electric Sheep? by Philip K. Dick. The story is set in the dystopian future of 2019 Los Angeles in a world where artificial beings known as replicants have been created by the Tyrell Corporation to work on space colonies. When a rogue group of advanced replicants led by the dangerous Roy Batty escapes back to Earth, former police officer Rick Deckard is assigned the task of hunting them down.
Harrison Ford starred as the protagonist, Deckard, and he was joined by a cast that included Edward James Olmos, Mary Sean Young, and the late Rutger Hauer, who played the antagonist, Batty. While Blade Runner performed poorly in the box office at the time of its release in 1982, it gathered a massive cult following over the years and is now considered one of the greatest sci-fi movies of all time. The film has also spawned a direct sequel in the form of 2017’s Blade Runner 2049, which was directed by Denis Villeneuve (Dune, Arrival) and starred Ryan Gosling.
Now, with the help of Special FX legend and Mythbusters alumni Adam Savage, VFX artists Wren and Sam from popular YouTube channel Corridor Crew, have released a new breakdown video where they give a deep dive into the making of some iconic shots from Blade Runner. Savage begins by explaining how the opening shot of the film with the “Hades set” design was crafted, stating that nearly the entire sequence was shot “in-camera” with the use of practical effects. Wren continued by bringing up how the first Star Wars film had employed similar “motion control” techniques to achieve their visual effects shots. Check out the video below from 5:27 for their full breakdown.
Click Here to Watch the Video on Youtube
Understandably, the main focal point for the artists in the above video are outdoor shots in the film, particularly the opening shot that shows how minor details like the lighting and the elaborate designs of the practical models can create the look for futuristic architecture. The darkly atmospheric opening shot of Blade Runner that features the blazing fires atop Los Angeles’ magnificent skyscrapers perfectly captures the tone of a futuristic world in the film and effectively foreshadows the events that transpire later on in the story.
The fact that VFX artists are still blown away by the realism of Blade Runner‘s visual effects nearly four decades after its release speaks volumes of the dedication and hard work of the original special effects engineers who contributed to the film’s final look. While iconic films like Stanley Kubrick’s 2001: A Space Odyssey and Star Wars may have pioneered practical effects and innovative camera techniques for the 60s and 70s, respectively, Blade Runner managed to go one step further, using the available technology to the fullest and create a distinct visual style that truly stands out.
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Source: Corridor Crew