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Published on May 13th, 2014 | by Danny_Weasel

Creating Miniature Effects for The Day of the Doctor

For those of you who may not know it, the BBC has an Academy where they offer internships and courses aimed at creating the next generation of, well, everything needed to make television really. As part of this the website regularly posts interviews with various people talking about the work they do. At the moment one of those interviews is with Mike Tucker.

Mike is the man responsible for the effects work, specifically the miniatures, used on The Day of the Doctor. This entails being responsible for supervising the design and construction of the models and their associated rigs, booking the stage, the camera crew, the electricians and then act as miniature effects director on the actual shoot days. “Effectively it’s like being a second unit.” says Mike.

The main focus of Mike’s work on the special was the opening battle sequence on Gallifrey.

“An added complication to our work was that the show was going to be made in 3D. Up to that point no one had tried a high-speed miniature shoot in 3D for a British drama production before.”

Interestingly, because of the limited availability of the high-speed 3D camera rigs, the team ended up shooting out the model sequences in advance of the main unit shooting the full size battle scene, quite the opposite to the usual way these things are done.

The whole interview is filled with little interesting snippets and there are links to other related Day of the Doctor articles detailing the making of the episode and an in-depth study into the shows 3D elements.

What are your views on the use of miniatures on Doctor Who; are you old school and think there should be more, or are you more inclined to having more computer generated effects? Perhaps you are a miniatures maker yourself and would like to weigh in with your thoughts on the subject? Whatever your views let us know them in the usual way below.

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2 Responses to Creating Miniature Effects for The Day of the Doctor

  1. STLShawn says:

    I’m a real fan of real world effects. The episode i always point at is tooth and claw. The werewolf was an amazing feat of digital expertise,,,,,, but i just didn’t find it scared. It’s a simple case of we’ve had digital overload at this point.

    I hope model working is used more in DW in the future for more interesting landscapes.

    I also hope the digital monsters come to an end. I realize there are some that cannot exist any other way, and the digital team is great at this sort of thing. The snowmen were incredible, Prisoner zero was great, but there’s something that can be too “sparkly” about digital monsters. It’s sometimes this “not quite real” quality that really makes it hard to suspend disbelief.

    So rock on model builders!

  2. rickjlundeen says:

    Although I loved Tooth and claw, the Werewolf was a bot obvious CGI. A lot of the CGI monsters have been a bit obvious like the Slitheen CGI versions, the monster in the Lazarus Experiment, etc.

    Now, in Day of the Doctor, I had no idea they were using miniatures so that was excellent. Whenever you can’t quite tell how they’ve done something, all the better. And the actors in costume as the Zygons were also fantastic and they didn’t even have to mess with the original design much at all!

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