Weta’s BLADE RUNNER 2049 Miniatures Are Mind-Bogglingly Detailed

As you watched K aerially coast across the bleak cityscape of Los Angeles in the year 2049 in Blade Runner 2049, you may have experienced a sense of awe at the immensity of the scene before you. What you may not have realized as you stared slack-jawed at the sprawling city is that much of what you were looking at was not CGI, but rather a series of incredibly intricate miniatures–just as it was with the original film. Miniatures that were as responsible as any other part of the film for bringing the new Blade Runner world to life.

The miniature buildings, which were built at the world-famous New Zealand-based special effects house, Weta Workshop, each took a team of designers and builders a week to make. In the clip, Alex Funke, a miniatures cinematographer who’s worked on a long list of blockbuster films, including The Lord of the Rings trilogy and The Chronicles of Narnia: Prince Caspian, says that using “miniatures in this modern context is very exciting.”

For Los Angeles alone, the team assembled 37 1/48 scale “mega-high detail” buildings that each really are their own work of art. Which makes sense, because as Weta says in the YouTube caption for the video: “This was a passion project for our crew, who are huge fans of Ridley Scott’s iconic 1982 original.”

“I always think of a miniature as a giant composition of tiny little vignettes,” says miniatures art director Steve Saunders in the video, “Tiny little stories, tiny little places that all need to work together…” It’s almost like they’re cells. Within cells interlinked. Within cells interlinked…

What do you think about these Blade Runner 2049 miniatures? Were you aware that Los Angeles in the film was made of miniatures, or did you think it was all visual effects? Let us know in the comments below!

Images: Weta Workshop

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