In the io9.com article “Interstellar Is the Best and Worst Space Opera You’ll Ever See“, author Annalee Newitz highlights the importance of the extensive use of miniatures in Interstellar. In it she writes, “Nolan shot the film using a lot of practical effects, and this really matters when it comes to the spaceship sequences. The pilot Cooper (a scenery-chewing Matthew McConaughey) and his crew are in a ring-shaped vessel called the Endurance, and every time the landing ships dock with it you can see the telltale wobbles that reveal this isn’t a perfect, clean CGI creation. I’m not saying the ships look like models — in fact, they look more realistic than anything digital. There’s a feeling of heft and fragility that you get with practical effects that CGI never achieves, and it’s perfect for this story”. While the author doesn’t love everything about the movie, she does point out an undeniable fact about the film. The spaceship scenes look beautifully realistic.
These models were built by New Deal Studios and were filmed with the Graphlite and other motion control equipment from Pacific Motion. Kuper operator, Joshua Cushner and techs, Craig Shumard, Adam Francis, and Garritt Hampton spent several weeks at new deal moving cameras and equipment. The end result is spectacular.