Archive for ‘Lucasfilm’

TEDxSoMa Talk: Interacting with Star Wars Team | February 3, 2010

Howard Roffman of Lucasfilm Licensing was recently a guest speaker for the TEDxSoMa program.

Roffman spoke about how licensing kept the sparks of Star Wars fandom before the prequels, and how comics, books, video games, toys, collectibles and other licensed products permeates pop culture.

WATCH VIDEO: TEDxSoMa: Howard Roffman:
“Interacting with Star Wars

ILM Helps Make Avatar Explode Team | December 21, 2009

With many movies that depend on CGI to be precise, entertaining and believable, more than one effects house will work on different scenes so a movie can be released on deadline. As with James Cameron’s CGI blockbuster Avatar, Industrial Light & Magic was asked to help with a number of scenes in the film.

Oscar-winning visual effects supervisor John Knoll chats with Cnet about the role ILM played in helping with the movie’s hefty to-do list, working with Weta, and how ILM developed a way to make CGI explosions even more believable and entertaining.

Until now, big fiery explosions in CGI-heavy films have been shot with live camera and then had visual effects added to them. But Knoll said that because of some of the limitation of matching Cameron’s templates for “Avatar,” there was no practical way to meet the movie’s explosive needs with live-action.

“We’ve done CG explosions in the past,” Knoll said, “but never with this level of realism, and never this close up.”

Fortunately, ILM had pioneered the rendering of the visual movement of fluids in films like “Poseidon” and “Pirates of the Caribbean,” and Knoll knew that the shape and movement dynamics of an explosion were similar to that of water.

“The same underlying engine is being used on this,” Knoll said. “The motion of the underlying gas is similar to the motion of fluids. The medium is relatively uncompressable. So when there’s movement of the medium, it can’t change volume real dramatically. So if you push on one side, something has to push on the other side.”

That meant that ILM could take the graphics engine it had created for fluid shots in the previous films and apply the same basic technology for the explosions in “Avatar.” Though there are clearly some major differences between fluid and big fire–notably that as fuel burns, fire expands, and then retracts when the fuel goes away, the technique was similar enough that the technology could be adapted to the needs of “Avatar.”

“I think this is going to be an important technique (for the industry) in the future,” Knoll said, “to tailor-make an explosion that looks good close up.”

Read the full article here:
ILM steps in to help finish Avatar visual effects
(via Cnet)

California Hall of Fame Inducts George Lucas Team | December 2, 2009

Filmmaker George Lucas, gay-rights advocate Harvey Milk, comedian Carol Burnett, football legend John Madden, best-selling romance author Danielle Steel and other icons were among 13 individuals inducted into the California Hall of Fame on Tuesday.

Tweeting live from the event, California governor Arnold Schwarzenegger snapped candid photos of the inductees — including the one above of him shaking hands with George Lucas.

All of the inductees were chosen for being “remarkable individuals who embody the innovative spirit of the Golden State and who have changed the world by pursuing their dreams.”

The California Museum, located in downtown Sacramento, will display 13 exhibits showcasing the accomplishments of the inductees through October. George Lucas’ exhibit includes models of R2-D2 and C-3PO, as well as Indiana Jones’ jacket, whip and hat from the 1989 film Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade.

Read the full article here:
Milk, Lucas among 13 inducted in Hall of Fame
(via San Francisco Chronicle)

Read more about the California Hall of Fame Exhibits here:
California Hall of Fame official site

Director Richard Kelly Visits Skywalker Team | October 29, 2009

The week director Richard Kelly visited Skywalker, as well as the Lucasfilm-ILM San Francisco campus, to screen his latest film The Box, as well as indulge staff as they asked uber-geeky questions about his new movie, his breakout hit Donnie Darko and about filmmaking in general.

Richard blogged about his visit on the MTV Movies Blog:

The good people of Skywalker Sound and Industrial Light & Magic hosted a screening of The Box an invited me to stay at the legendary Lucas ranch for the night and tour the facilities.

The property itself is everything a fanboy could dream and more – as an alumni of USC and an acolyte in the church of Lucas – I was speechless when I was granted access to the Sergei Eisenstein apartment, a spacious lodge with a vaulted ceiling and fireplace.

It was then on to visit the wonderful folks at ILM in San Francisco. We did a post-screening discussion on The Box (opening November 6th!) which was moderated by Kate Shaw – Director of Training and Education – who asked a series of insightful and thoughtful questions about the film.

It was an honor to be among fellow artists and technicians who appreciate the art of science-fiction and open to exploring the themes of the film. I have to say it was probably my favorite Q+A that I have ever done.

Read the full blog entry here:
Richard Kelly’s Latest Guest Blog Takes Us To Skywalker Ranch! (via MTV Movie Blog)

Be sure to follow Richard Kelly on Twitter.

Star Wars to Harry Potter: Secrets of ILM F/X Team | July 16, 2009

Dumbledore (Michael Gambon) and Co. may have audiences under their spell in Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince, but the real wizards are the ones who created the movie’s special effects. Industrial Light & Magic, the biggest F/X studio in the business, gave the News a sneak peek behind the wizards’ curtain to see how they made some of the greatest magic in film history.

Read the full article here:
Star Wars to Harry Potter: Secrets of movie special effects

ILM: The Early Years on Super 8 Video Team | July 9, 2009

A long time ago (’70s), in a galaxy far, far away (San Fernando actually) there existed a ragtag group of individuals (ILMers) who would go on to transform movie making and ignite imaginations in fans for decades to come.

Lucky for us, one of those old timers — David Berry — posted this behind-the-scenes video he made back in the day of his fellow ILMers in action — working hard and having fun.

Berry describes it as:

“Crude home movies from the 1970s depicting activities at a certain location in the San Fernando Valley.”

WATCH VIDEO: 5757 (via Vimeo)


ILM Puts Optimus Prime in Tonight’s “Late Show” Team | July 6, 2009

Tune in to The Late Show with David Letterman tonight, July 6 (CBS, 11:30PM) to see a different side of Optimus Prime, as the heroic Autobot reads the infamous Top Ten list.  ILM turned around roughly 3,000 frames of animation composited onto the Letterman stage in record time. Congratulations to all of those at ILM who went above and beyond to make this happen! See it now at


George Lucas Honored at Siskel Center Team | June 17, 2009

(Jon Favreau, George Lucas and Mellody Hobson — Photo courtesy Jimmy Mac.)

This weekend filmmaker George Lucas was honored in Chicago by The Gene Siskel Film Center with a gala event which included an interview by Iron Man director Jon Favreau.

Media were also in attendance including our friends at Force-Cast who covered the event and snagged an interview with The Maker himself.

Jon Favreau conducted an hour-long discussion with George that mostly focused on his technological and artistic contributions to cinema, including his advancements in digital film making, creation of his company, and his hobby of architecture. During the interview, Lucas claimed rules do not work and he stressed the need to think outside the box. George said he developed new film making technologies was because he was lazy and wanted the easiest way to concentrate his attention on the fun aspects of movie making. Lucas also informed attendees that he is working on literally 40 screenplays for television including the development of a second Star Wars animated series. The captive audience hung on every word and the evening ended with a standing ovation for the revolutionary director.

Check out their coverage here:

Happy Birthday, George Lucas! Team | May 14, 2009

Today, marks the birth of our boss, George Lucas.

Now is the day to reflect on all the good stuff we’ve gotten thanks to the Maker.

Without George Lucas we would never appreciate cruising in classic cars and eating at Mel’s Diner. Without Lucas we would never have imagined a galaxy full of Jedi, Sith, stormtroopers, droids, Wookiees, Ewoks and AT-ATs. Without Lucas we would never have re-enacted outrunning a big boulder while trying to swipe a Golden Fertility Idol. Heck, without Lucas we’d never have known the power of the Force!

So take a moment today to play with your Star Wars action figures, wear your Indy fedora with pride, and try a Jedi Mind Trick on someone you love.

Happy Birthday, Boss!

SW Auction to Aid Aussie Bush Fire Victims

Pete Vilmur | April 14, 2009


Star Wars fans in Australia have banded together to help victims of recent bush fires that ravaged the state of Victoria, posting several eBay auctions of items donated by actors from the saga, Lucasfilm, and others.

From the Victorian Bushfire Appeal 2009 website:

On February 7th 2009, the state of Victoria in Australia was ravaged by Bushfires.

These wildfires destroyed thousands upon thousands of hectares of native forests and laid waste to many townships.

Over 2000 homes were destroyed and over 7000 people were left homeless by these fires which burned out of control for many weeks. Over 200 people were reported to have lost their lives in what was to become known as Australia’s worst natural disaster.

The people of Australia however were not beaten by these events and they rallied together as one to help those in need. Countless donations of clothes and food flooded into relief centers and thousands of volunteers lined up to help. People donated their time, their homes and opened their hearts to help those effected by the fires.

Head over to the charity’s official website for more details, and also don’t miss the over two-dozen signed items currently up for bids from Dave Prowse, Kenny Baker, Jeremy Bulloch, Bonnie Piesse, and others!