Home Forums Ganymede & Titan Forum Series XI's model shots

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    It might just be me, but I can’t help but feel something is off about the model sequences in Series XI.

    I watched all of the episodes on UKTV Play, and assumed what I was seeing was down to the fact it was compressed / streamed, but having now downloaded it in 1080p HD off iTunes, which normally gives a fairly respectable image quality, it looks no different to me.

    I’ll have to wait to see it on Blu-ray to be sure, but it just seems like the model sequences are dropping frames or something. I can’t put my finger on it, but it feels similar to me to the feeling you get when you have a sudden dip in FPS playing a game, those parts just seem to stutter somehow.

    The shots mostly look very nice, the models themselves and so-forth I can’t fault, but it’s just something about the motion that feels really odd to me. The compositing seems a little questionable at times too, though.

    Has anyone else noticed this, or have any ideas what it is that causes it?


    They definitely are dropping frames, I’ve noticed it every time. There’s some interpolation artefacts as well like they’ve been speed-altered artificially.

    The documentary very briefly shows Richard Naylor with a drone-mounted camera, so drone footage + deshaker processing + artificial motion slowdown = shit temporal resolution.

    I said it in another thread, but if the model shots are going to look like this I’d rather they use CG. They just don’t look professional.


    The model shots often suffered some from the same problems they did in series X, there were some real highlights here….but some looked pretty ropey


    Once again the bizarre situation that in 2016 they can’t do something as good as 1989. They haven’t bothered me massively, but I’ve definitely noticed at times they pull me out of the action a little, feeling a bit false.


    It’s only because models are a rare thing in the business these days pushing the cost up dramatically. Its a shame this isn’t on BBC2 because then I’m sure we’d have the budget to use much better and more realistic CGI than back in the day. As much as a adore the models today’s CGI is good enough now but at a price sadly. Perhaps Doug will go for broke and op for CGI for a series XIII when hopefully the cost has come down further for the quality the show needs.

    Was really looking forward to all new shots of Starbug taking off and leaving Red Dwarf like the old days and of course the Flyby sequence for the end credits. Shame really.

    Paul Muller

    Yeah I did wonder about that, especially as the Model Unit built a landing pad for Starbug, which looks like it was shot against blue screen. Maybe it will crop up in XII, or perhaps they struggled to comp in a convincing CG background.


    ^ can’t get the link to work, though it’s digital spy so its bound to be shite.


    Very weird seeing the VFX alternate between ropey and fucking fantastic. Overall I think they average out to quite good even if some shots are pretty iffy like the underwater stuff in Samsara which looks so much like a little tiny model.


    I think the worst ones are the very static looking side on shots of Red Dwarf floating, or in some cases not moving at all….it makes them look like a paper cut out, if it weren’t for those shots the model effects would mostly be fine!


    The fact we now watch in HD and probably on big massive screens compared to back in the day doesn’t help. CGI is so good now they probably could even make the CGI look more like models. Just a shame it isn’t raining money for Doug.

    I think you could get away with a CGI flyby now even on the cheap what with the credits over it – probably look ok?!


    The model shots are a mess. The perspective and focal length for each model seems to be out of kilter with each other and when you composite it all together, you end up with a strangely disconnected scene that screams of individual elements and not what should be presented which is a uniform shot. There’s jarring slow-down in the frame-rate with some elements, grading inconsistencies, lighting coming from different angles, perspective irregularities that has ships flying above or below other ships, certainly not towards them as intended and you’d think they’d have learnt some pretty big lessons from Series X but something very wrong has occurred down the line.

    Look at Series VI. You set up your scene, you set up your lighting, you set up your camera and any movement and panning and you film. You end up with a very respectable shot with consistency across every single element and for the length of the shot.

    Series XI model shots feel as if each element is individually shot with zero regard for consistency and they’ve thought ah it’ll be fine, we’ll just composite it all together in the computer, grade and bingo, no need to shoot together or even to the same specification so that there’s uniformity and a feeling that everything should be in the scene, not just elements bundled together.


    I think the problem stems from Doug literally still running around like a headless chicken doing/supervising mostly everything. I know Dave has been good to the show but I wish the BBC took the new run. Fucking twats.

    Niki Hutchinson

    For me some of the shots look like model remakes of some of the remastered/series VII in parts. Anybody agree ?


    I’ve been complaining about the models almost all along, I got my hopes up when I saw that BTS motion control camera picture but that doesn’t seem to have been utilised much.

    Firstly, the Starbugs aren’t as detailed as they used to be, the paint job is worse, the design is worse and the legs are ridiculous, so anything with Starbug in is tainted for me (except that shot of it flying down the side of Red Dwarf in Give & Take, which looked pretty cool, though there were other issues with that shot).

    I have to echo what others have said, I love the models of old, but if they’re going to half arse it, I’d rather they not bother and go CGI, which has to be the cheaper option at this point.

    I’m sure everyone worked hard and did the best time and money allowed but it just seems semi-pro. For example, the bigature doesn’t have the engines, so in the aforementioned shot of Starbug flying alongside, where you would see the engines you see space. Surely they should have released that they weren’t filming at an acute enough angle for it to work.

    And again, as others have said, the cameras aren’t right, the focal length is just wrong on the majority of shots and the frame rate isn’t high enough so they don’t have the weight. I think they’re probably filmed on the same cameras as the live action, though I’ve not seen the behind the scenes stuff yet so correct me if I’m wrong, Arri Alexas? Or RED cameras, I’m pretty sure they would only do 60fps if they’re filming at 2K ish, maybe 120fps at a push, maybe at lower res. That’s not high enough.

    I also think the lighting is maybe too focused, which makes it look like it’s being lit from a lighting panel in a studio, whereas older model shots had a more even light source that was less artificial.

    There’s also an element of not picking the best angles for the models. The current Red Dwarf is front heavy, the ram scoop is to scale with the pencil, but not the new stubby version, so filming it from a perspective that elongates the ram scoop and foreshortens the ship itself is not great, unfortunately, that’s almost every shot of Red Dwarf that’s appeared in X and XI.

    It really bothers me that there’s nothing that can be done for XII outside of replacing it all with CG or going back in and recording more, which they won’t do.

    I’ll just have to hope they stick some new musical cues over the top of them.


    I must say I really enjoyed the shots overall, which I didn’t with Series X. With Series X, some of the shots were very nice and simple, but some were actually really bad. The side wide shot of Red Dwarf they used a couple of times in Series X and even once in Series XI actually looked out of focus!

    Series XI, the quality was so much better. They were ambitious, and while i don’t think they pulled off the overall quality of say Series VI, the shots were more consistent and they actually tried to make them visually sumptuous rather than just treat them as a necessary evil, which is the impression I got with Series X and BTE. The only thing I didn’t like were most of the shots of Starbug. Starbug flying was a very bad attempt at making a static non moving model look like it was flying using camerawork rather than actually moving the model itself. Unless i’m much mistaken. Especially the shots when it was supposedly pass camera and change direction. Very artificial looking sadly. I also got a bit fed up of seeing the one flyby of Red Dwarf they used in pretty much every episode (and the same music cue too!). It would have been nice to get some different shots.

    I know some people would prefer CGI, but I really like that they chose models as it does make the shots more interesting. I find CGI so lifeless when it comes to space and ship shots. While the model work needs improvement, i’d rather they stuck with it.


    >There’s also an element of not picking the best angles for the models. The current Red Dwarf is front heavy, the ram scoop is to scale with the pencil, but not the new stubby version, so filming it from a perspective that elongates the ram scoop and foreshortens the ship itself is not great, unfortunately, that’s almost every shot of Red Dwarf that’s appeared in X and XI.

    Odd as the new Starbug looks, I definitely prefer it to the current Dwarf model. It’s obvious why they did it that way – it was SO much cheaper than making a new one – but I honestly like the current version less than the pencil. The front cone and ram scoop look so out of scale with the rest of it that it just looks daft. I also don’t like the really small name at the front at all. I know this is something that’s not going to be changed so it’s just moaning for the sake of it, but yeah, I really felt the need to moan for the sake of it.


    What amuses me is that Doug calls it ‘the pencil’ now hence the shortening for X… but that is 100% a G&T reference. There’s a theoretical argument that the fact it looks completely ridiculous now is entirely John Hoare’s fault, and the bemused shitstirrer in me would like to point out that this is DEFINITELY the case.

    Ian Symes

    We definitely originated the pencil reference – Peter Tyler used it on stage at Dimension Jump not long after I’d interviewed him, which was well over a decade ago, terrifyingly. It caught on from there, so while I’m not sure if Doug would know the provenance, but it definitely stemmed from here.


    Strictly speaking the correct provenance is “FUCKING PENCIL”. Anything else an unacceptable corruption.


    It’s more of an unruly, rusty old alan key.

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