Back in 1988 I was hired by Dream Quest Images to supervise the model shop for Jim Cameron's The Abyss. Over the course of more than a year I oversaw the fabrication and filming of dozens of models. Among the most memorable of these were no doubt the 1/8 scale Cab and Flatbed submersibles. These highly detailed models were flown on wires dry-for-wet in heavy smoke to simulate the look of being underwater. They contained lights, batteries, motors and most notably, small computer controlled film projectors that could project images of the actors (shot previously in mockups of the sub's cockpits) on the inside of the model's domes so it looked like they were actually inside, controlling them.
It's 23 years later. The Abyss is regarded as a science fiction classic and the miniature effects (which contributed to the winning of an Academy Award for Visual Effects) are still among the best ever filmed. Some recent interest here at the RPF got me thinking about possibly creating some replicas of these great movie vehicles. So I did a little digging...
Jackpot! A couple of boxes were unearthed that contained;
Lots and lots and LOTS of photographs of the full scale, 1/8 scale and 1/4 scale submersibles, both under construction and being filmed.
A notebook containing all the visual effects shooting storyboards, miniature shot breakdowns, calendars and model lists.
Plans for Cab and Deepcore (no plans for Flatbed but we're still looking!)
... and ORIGINAL PARTS!!!
Stay tuned, this is gonna be fun!