Build logs of creating a sci-fi city for film production, start to finish

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kaidennett

New Member
Hi all,
I have decided to start my first large-scale model building project, a miniature city. There isn't a specific scale for the city set rather I am just trying to have it feel real because it will mainly be shot in dark scenarios. The concept is that it is a floating city because of global warming and sea level rise. The whole Earth is now all water and one big floating city. The government is a "democracy" that is run by major corporations. Everything is heavily advertised and there aren't many individual rights. Later on, the protagonist descends into the water to find a city completely underwater in Mariners Trench. The whole film is supposed to talk about the dangers of extreme capitalism leads to destruction and suppression. Any tips on building any parts of it would be amazing!
 

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division 6

Master Member
I would start off by looking at films that used miniatures for cities, there are many making of videos and featurettes out there.
Blade Runner, 5th Element pretty much any TOHO Kaiju film, Metropolis, etc

Scale and style will come into factor with building materials.
Many architectural models are made of foam core sheets.

If you're going for the Blade Runner look make sure you check out LukaFilm's Slice of Life thread.

If you are looking for city / building references I would definitely check out ARTSTATION
There is tonnes of artwork from film and game designers as well as lot's for other personal type works.
Some of the work is of actual floating city designs that companies have been considering building for real.
 

Jedi Dade

Sr Member
When Filming use a fog/smoke machine to muddy up the air a bit... it has an amazing effect of tricking you into thinking its real. Avoid lingering on the "set" and/or props in general - we care about those things - but nobody else does and lingering breaks the flow. Don't just throw something in a shot because it looks cool - in your mind give it a purpose/function. If it has none then you're either not imaginative enough - or it doesn't belong... sounds like you have the imagination covered. Throw washes on EVERYTHING - even if its "supposed" to be clean. In the real world Nothing is perfectly uniform. Good washes break up the color in subtle ways that make them look more real. Light the miniatures as if it were real lighting... creating shadows. Lights... good scaled lighting can make a huge difference. This will usually involve adding resistors and or rheostats to dim bulbs/LEDs to get a good scaled effect. if any light stands out - take it out. Lights should be not really be "noticed"... just part of the scenery. for buildings there are some good textured paint - BUT be careful that the texture created is to scale for what you're filming.

Good Luck,
Jedi Dade
 

LukaFilm

Sr Member
Hey thanks for the mention guys! :love:
To save you the search through my thread here's a couple of videos of ours you could watch first:


I remember reading about Abyss, they filmed dry for wet and basically fogged up the whole room to simulate underwater look. Waterworld as well.. You can just add the floating particles digitally later.
 

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SofaKing01

Master Member
I posted it a while back... If you have no intention of keeping or dont know what to do with all those models, PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE Auction or Raffle off those amazing pieces of artwork after you guys are finished! :)

Great update!
 

kaidennett

New Member
Thank you guys so much for all of your responses! Especially the links to Lukafilm's thread as well as Lukafilm's comment to his videos. The Artstation site was also really helpful. I think I might turn this thread into more of an update thread on the process of the city build. Like I have said I have never really built anything like this before so it should be interesting. Thank you all for your comments and hopefully, I will have a lot more updates soon!
 

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