Fragments of a hologram rose: Re-seeing Blade Runner

“The postcard is a white light reflection hologram of a rose […] Holding it carefully between thumb and forefinger, he lowers the hologram toward the hidden rotating jaws. The unit emits a thin scream as steel teeth slash laminated plastic and the rose is shredded into a thousand fragments […] Parker lies in darkness, recalling the thousand fragments of the hologram rose. A hologram has this quality: recovered and illuminated, each fragment will reveal the whole […] from a different angle”
    - Fragments of a Hologram Rose by William Gibson, first published 1977

BR - Burb 1 oblique
BR - Burb 3 pic
BR - Burb 4 pic

This sequence of images, taken from different sources but, fortuitously, showing exactly the same part of the New York street set on the Burbank backlot, demonstrates how it was transformed for Blade Runner. The oblique aerial view shows the very set used for Blade Runner, twenty five years on. The slightly kinked, left-hand façade of the triangular block in the centre can be clearly identified as the subject of the picture that follows. Retrofitting this facade can be seen in rare daylight photographs. Note the dancers’ clear tubes, the streetlights and the ducting.

BR - LA arch (Rizzoli)
BR - LA arch 3 (Rizzoli)

Art Deco and Moderne buildings in Los Angeles, of the type sampled by the production to glean visual references for the series of large-scale miniatures initially thought sufficient to create visual effects footage for the Spinner flight sequences (Rizzoli)

BR - min bldgs 2

The miniatures under fabrication. Note the architectural detail, the retrofitted pipes and the remarkably convincing overall appearance

BR - roof shot

Exceptionally rare on-set photograph of the absorbing rooftop shot, meant as a bridge between the miniatures and the smaller-scale Hades landscape. Two models and a painted backdrop made up the set piece, here being filmed. The footage has not surfaced in any form

BR - precinct model

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