Blade Runner Magazine Production, 1982 Style

MAGAZINE PRODUCTION TROVE

A variety of materials used in the production of the official Blade Runner Magazine. The publication started development almost a year before the release of the film. At the time Altemus kept these materials as class aids for teaching and lecturing.



FIRST THUMBNAILS FOR THE LAYOUT

After reviewing the shooting script, availabe images, editorial plans for additional interviews and behind-the-scenes info, a rough layout is proposed.



FINAL MECHANICAL THUMBNAILS

Once the magazine’s flow and layout is set, a more mechanical layout is created to yield precise placement and the sizes of the images. All color images were then sent out for random color separation before being incorporated into the final page layouts and mechanicals.



COLOR IMAGE INVENTORY

This is 1982, way before computers got into the process, a myriad of details had to be addressed and tracked to sucessfully produce the magazine on schedule and on budget, and for release within a week of the film’s premiere. This is a hand-drawn production grid, detailing each image to be color separated, its content, size, page and status.



TYPICAL FX SHOT CHROME

The envelope and final FX shot of the Tyrell building. This shot was contact printed directly from a 70mm frame clipped from a late-stage work print of the film. The magazine was produced while the film was still in production, and shots like this came through very late in the process since they depended on post-production and CGI compositing.



HAND LETTERED FONT

In addition to designing the magazine and illustrating its center spread poster, Altemus also hand-drew an entire “Blade Runner” font based on only the existing logo for the film. Today you can easily find this font, but in 1982, prior to the film’s release, it did not exist. Altemus wanted to use the distinctive font for the large display type used in major headlines,  on the cover and for the “sector” openers. 1.] The actual film logo is used on the cover and is what inspired Altemus’ 2.] version which was used throughout the magazine’s interior, such as this example on the contents page. 3.] A sample sheet of some of the other hand lettering Altemus did back in 1980s.



TYRELL SPREAD MECHANICAL

The marked-up mechanical board, with cut and positioned repro type for the color spread of the Tyrell building, the first big color image in the magazine. All text type setting for the magazine was done using an outside typesetter. Typically a manuscript would be marked-up and sent out via messenger, then three days later a proof would arrive. This process would continue for every change and correction.



REJECTED COLOR PROOF

The challenge of these movie magazines was that you had to try to predict the final mood of the film, working from dailies, stills, script revisions and production props, while it was still being shot and edited. This was a very important image in the film and the magazine. But this first proof was rejected, the whole image had become muddy, and if we went with this separation, by the time it would be printed the pages would be a dark blobby mass with little detail.



CONTENTS SPREAD PROOF

This is the top sheet from a progressive color proof, before black text is composited. The final page start info and wording were still being fine-tuned by the Editor. Altemus was so taken with the look of Deckard that in the year leading up to the film’s release he adapted his personal style to emulate the Blade Runner’s look, complete with small checked shirts and skinny ties.



CONTENTS PAGE MECHANICAL

Typical “mechanical” or past-up, this one for the contents page. Color proofs are pasted down and marked as being “for position only.” Repro stats of set type are cut apart and hand positioned. The whole page is then extensively “marked up” with specific instructions for the printer.



CHROMLYN COLOR PROOF

These laminated plastic proofs were made from contacting and exposing sheets of plastic carying color dyes to repro film stock. These color proofs were usually used for a second pass, after the progressive proofs had been marked-up and corrected.