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Old 22-01-2008, 07:13 PM   #1
Tim Partridge
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Default Sky Bandits/Gunbus (1986)

Can anyone remember this rarity?:

http://ca.youtube.com/watch?v=GDnSRhNnKgw

Miniature supervised by Brian Smithies, photographed by Robin Browne. A mixture of motion control with zoptic plates and purely in camera miniatures. Zoran Perisic directed the main unit in addition to supervising the overall visual effects.

Any stories or info appreciated!
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Old 22-01-2008, 10:34 PM   #2
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Remember hearing about this film when it first came out, but never got to see it. Intriguing to see the youtube clip, but can't help thinking the model work doesn't stand up as well as similar kind of effects sequences that Derek Meddings did for Aces High a few years earlier - or even for Thunderbird Six. Pity he wasn't involved. Some of the mutant flying machine designs are great though !

Another film set in the same period with effects by an ex-Century 21'er is the recent Flyboys, with effects by Ian Wingrove. Missed it at the cinema, and haven't managed to get it on DVD yet, so can't say what it's like. Anyone else seen it ?
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Old 27-01-2008, 02:25 PM   #3
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New to Me. But a very enjoyable 9 minutes, 49 seconds.
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Old 28-01-2008, 09:36 AM   #4
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Caught this when it was shown on the UK ITV late night 6-7 years back under the Gunbus title and its a real curio. A cowboy/war movie/steampunk crossover. Not exactly great but at least the effects are inventive.
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Old 03-02-2008, 10:13 PM   #5
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I get the feeling we are not seeing it at its best.
It looks like the middle of a widescreen print to me. We are then seeing it from an old VHS that has been digitised, so the colur is very washed out.

It also points up the problem with sticking to one process for creating an effect. They should have mixed it up a bit more rather than doing it all 'zopticaly'.

The model work looks mostly OK, it's just not shot very well. (possibly to do with being panned and scanned)
The acting of the comandant doesn't help either...
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Old 08-02-2008, 05:34 PM   #6
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The youtube video was rather obviously filmed off a TV set using a low end consumer camcorder. GUNBUS was shot spherically (by David Watkin using Technovision).

As for the overuse of Zoptic: who directed the film and supervised the visual effects, again?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Air Terrainean View Post
Remember hearing about this film when it first came out, but never got to see it. Intriguing to see the youtube clip, but can't help thinking the model work doesn't stand up as well as similar kind of effects sequences that Derek Meddings did for Aces High a few years earlier - or even for Thunderbird Six. Pity he wasn't involved. Some of the mutant flying machine designs are great though !

Another film set in the same period with effects by an ex-Century 21'er is the recent Flyboys, with effects by Ian Wingrove. Missed it at the cinema, and haven't managed to get it on DVD yet, so can't say what it's like. Anyone else seen it ?
Didn't Ian Wingrove only handle the physical effects on FLYBOYS? Peter Chiang was the visual effects supervisor, and I thought New Deal Studios in the States did the models.

Ian Wingrove coincidentally also handled the physical effects on GUNBUS!

I've not seen ACES HIGH. Could you explain a bit about the models in that? I seem to recall that quite a bit of talent worked on that one.
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Old 09-02-2008, 12:25 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Tim Partridge View Post
Didn't Ian Wingrove only handle the physical effects on FLYBOYS? Peter Chiang was the visual effects supervisor, and I thought New Deal Studios in the States did the models.
Thanks for that - wasn't sure what Ian's involvement was, only heard that he'd worked on it.

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Ian Wingrove coincidentally also handled the physical effects on GUNBUS!
Cool !

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I've not seen ACES HIGH. Could you explain a bit about the models in that? I seem to recall that quite a bit of talent worked on that one.
As far as the model work goes this mostly involved shots of aircraft, including some crash-landings. Not sure if there was any radio control involved. There were also sequences of camouflaged anti-aircraft guns and overhead shots of battlefields, plus a sequence where a blimp/barrage balloon is attacked. Haven't seen it for a while though, and don't think I have a copy to check against. The film didn't have a huge budget, but it was quite well made.
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Old 12-02-2008, 11:29 PM   #8
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I saw one of the miniature sets for this movie at Pinewood studios in 1985.

I remember an enormous aircraft hanger with lots of Faller miniature vehicles and water towers. The whole set was on top of scaffolding so the horizon was free from buildings and the like.
They were making Aliens and The Little shop of horrors during this period too.

I looked out for the movie after but it never appeared...

I've just remembered seeing a building outside the Bond set which must have been Derek Meddings office or workshop - his name was plastered all over it!
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Old 12-02-2008, 11:54 PM   #9
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Quote:
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I've just remembered seeing a building outside the Bond set which must have been Derek Meddings office or workshop - his name was plastered all over it!
This would probably have been the wooden shed where Derek was based during the eighties before he moved to Shepperton. I believe Gerry took over occupancy of the building in the early nineties - I remember interviewing Bob Bell there around this time. I think Christine Glanville was also based in the same building. Not sure, but I don't think it's there any more.
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Old 13-02-2008, 01:06 AM   #10
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All the old wooden sheds have gone.
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Old 13-02-2008, 07:47 AM   #11
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All the old wooden sheds have gone.
Yep - it was like a big garden shed.
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Old 17-02-2008, 11:34 AM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dirk Bongo View Post
I saw one of the miniature sets for this movie at Pinewood studios in 1985.

I remember an enormous aircraft hanger with lots of Faller miniature vehicles and water towers. The whole set was on top of scaffolding so the horizon was free from buildings and the like.
They were making Aliens and The Little shop of horrors during this period too.

In the CINEFEX covering ALIENS they make a point about how model shop priority at Pinewood went to GUNBUS.

Interesting that there were three big shows on at Pinewood at that time, all of which had model work done in the UK by ex Anderson guys.
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Old 05-04-2010, 05:40 PM   #13
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Siskel and Ebert rip it apart, effects included:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=M7XLLISZvkA
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Old 08-04-2010, 06:57 PM   #14
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I've seen it a couple of time recently on cable channel movies24 or it may be the dodgier sounding moviesformen - looks like a live action "catch the pigeon"
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Old 08-04-2010, 08:53 PM   #15
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Interestingly, Ebert actually praises the effects in his written review. I guess Siskel was the one who knocked the effects and Ebert played along.

I still think some of the effects are really inspired, especially the combo shots that combine miniatures with Zoptic and motion control, such as the fly through the hanger. I also think process work (with decent plates) always looked better than grotty, mattelined and inconsistent optical blue screen work.

I like the miniatures for their stylized design too, which has got a really pure, period Melies feel to it. In many ways it kind of predates Jean Pierre Jeunet's style of nostalgiac, stylised Euro cinema, with it's eccentric designs and quirky characterisations (and much of it is even set in early C20th France).

The extensive use of Zoptic for compositing gives a very heightened look to the composites, often very two dimensional looking, only seen glued to one angle. I do think the effect becomes pretty tiresome, though, especially as mentioned above, it feels as though they over rely on Zoptic. There are numerous loop the loops, plane crashes and mid air stunts I think could have been pulled off more effectively with other (often simpler) effects techniques.

Has anyone seen Perisic's Pheonix and the Carpet? 1994 and it's a very Zoptic piece too.
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