Jason Eaton

Sometimes my arms bend back

Archive for January, 2012

Blade Runner Blimp Progress

Here’s a little post showing my progress so far on the Blade Runner Blimp, a 1/2 studio scale project I started three years ago. I have always loved the film, and the technology it presents. Naturally, the blimp was something I always gravitated towards – mysterious, full of lights, and organic in shape. Getting reference on the blimp was always tricky, and the project has been able to happen only because of the generosity of a few key individuals who provided me with the materials that I needed, to make the model as accurate as possible. It will have hundreds of lights, what seems like miles of fiber optics, and two LCD screens showing the original source footage from the film, including the Offworld ad and Geisha B-Roll. I have recreated the “sound” of the blimp, with engine rumble, fog horn, echo filters on the narration, and the vaguely creepy song as heard during the blimp sequence. I’ve also worked with a talented 3D artist, a stellar vac-former, and Dan from Lightbenders – the wizard responsible for the lights and motors in this model. Motors you say? Yes – each of the four spotlights on the bottom of this blimp will have two small servos responsible for moving the LEDs in random sweeping arcs, as seen in the film!!

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Los Angeles, I’m Yours (part III of III)

Our last day in LA was no less epic than the days before. We started off going to a great little diner called Dinah’s, where we all enjoyed a hearty breakfast. From there, we traveled to Van Nuys to Grant McCune’s shop and the former site of ILM! It was truly amazing to stand in the same parking lot that bore witness to the Death Star explosions, the water slide, and countless ILM photos over the years. Next stop? Vasquez Rocks! Kirk fought the Gorn there, among it’s many many appearances over the years. We had a lot of fun there.

We then returned to some Blade Runner filming locations, Doc Brown’s house from Back To The Future (gorgeous, even the garage was a beautiful gift shop), and we ended the night at Gene’s, who hosted many people for what he has called “Geek Night”. We whiled away our evening chatting with such friendly and amazingly talented and influential people. Ted Rae, Van Ling, Bill Creber, Pat McClung, Greg Jein, Nathan, Rob, Gene, Sean, Sean, Ryan… my mind is still reeling from all of the fun we had. Thank you all for making this trip one for the ages!

And yes, it took 22 hours to get back home, with a cancelled flight, a drop off at Dulles at midnight, a missing bag that took 48 hours to make it to my hands, and a $185 cab ride home. All totally worth it (even though I might not have agreed the following morning, at work). Modern day air travel is horrendous. I’d do it again in a heartbeat.

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Los Angeles, I’m Yours (part II of III)

The next day was a whirlwind of sightseeing at Warner Bros. Studios, Culver City, Hollywood, and Blade Runner Land (night time). We ate amazing food and saw amazing things, all of which you can experience below.

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Coloradooooh man, I have cotton mouth. Also, Los Angeles, I’m Yours (part I of III)

Last Wednesday, I traveled to Denver Colorado to meet up with Sean Sides, Sean Corsini, and Ryan Comer – three of the most talented and friendly model makers that I am honored to count among my friends.  Sean S and his kind and patient wife opened their home to us, and we hung out, caught up, ate some unique-to-me local fare, and got a little tipsy on Ryan’s home made Limoncello. That stuff is dangerous. That night, we got a hotel room by the airport, and in the morning flew to Los Angeles, where we met up with Gene Kozicki, Visual Effects Mover and Shaker™ and our GUIDE TO THE STARRRRS™! We of course made a beeline for IN-N-Out Burger, which by god, is amazing. Then a quick stop at Gene’s home (which is a shrine to refined geekiness), and then to the office of a certain Richard Edlund (!!!) who regaled us with tales of Leica before letting us gawk at his Oscars, Emmy, and filming artifacts! We were then whisked away to meet up with Rob McFarlane, as guests at the Visual Effects Society “Bake Off”, where the group gathers, screens 2 hours of the best visual effects from last year’s films, and then picks the five to be nominated for the Oscars. It was a who’s who if visual effects artists. John Dykstra, Lorne Peterson, John Knoll, Dennis Muren (!!), Greg Jein, and so many more ILMers from those Topps cards, books, and posters. Greg Jein told me that he had some spare McKinley Station parts I could have used in the restoration – can you imagine my surprise? Guess I should have asked, lol! It was a hell of a way to start the trip!

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