Daily archives: October 8, 2007

Blade Runner- The Final Cut

Twenty five years after its initial release Ridley Scott has returnd to Blade Runner. He’s tidied it up and re-edited scenes to bring it closer to his original vision, producing a 5 dvd “Final Cut”.

Wired has an interview with Ridley Scott about the new release and making the original movie.

Wired: Part of your work in making the new version was eliminating visible wires. Given your legendary attention to detail, how did flaws like that get into the original print?

Scott:Because you can’t make a spinner fly without a crank. That’s why it was raining in the shot, to hide the cables. Today we assume it’s all digital. It’s not — it’s a 2-ton spinner being hoisted around the corner by a large crank that literally brought it down, landed it, and took it off again. Bloody good crane driver, right? You have four points on the cable that keep it steady. When I watched the movie, I always used to sit there staring at the cables. Then eventually one or two of the geeks spotted them. So we took them out.

We lit up Niagara

Horseshoe Falls, originally uploaded by spinneyhead.

At night the two falls at Niagara are illuminated from the Canadian side by 21 xenon spotlights, each with an output in excess of 390 million candlepower. They’re World War Two spotlights retrofitted with German 4 kilowatt bulbs (the Canadians do do irony).

For a wonderful fifteen minutes last Monday night, we were in charge of them.

The lights are mounted on a building that used to be part of the hydroelectric power station. We elected to have dinner in the tap & grill under the tower. During the meal we got to see a press conference about lighting the falls purple for October to raise awareness of domestic abuse. Afterwards one of the photographers set up next to us to capture shots of the purple lights as they came on. He told us a secret. If we went round the back of the building and rang the doorbell, we might get to look around the control room.

So we paid for our meal and headed up the steep driveway that led round the back of the building. There was a car park and, almost hidden, a door. We had Manda ring the bell, because she’s the cute one who can get away with all sorts of things. For a while it seemed no-one was answering, but eventually and old guy opened the door. When we stammered through an explanation of why we were there he let us in.

He showed us through a workshop wallpapered with news items and letters out onto the balcony behind the first bank of lights then into the control room. Here he went over to a big panel and started flicking turn switches, showing us how to change the gels in front of the lights. With a suggestion that we left all changes for at least thirty seconds, so people could get pictures, he wandered off.

We tried to get red, white and blue on the American Falls, but just couldn’t seem to get the combination right. Otherwise, we had great fun, especially when thinking about all the lighting geeks we know who’d be so jealous. We may have broken the thirty second rule once or twice, but I swear it was accidental. When we were done the operator gave us certficates saying “I lit up Niagara Falls”, treasured possessions.

So, if you were in Niagara on the 1st of October and wondered what the hell was going on with the lights, it was probably us. Sorry.

For more pictures from Niagara, check out the Niagara set on Flickr.