Posts Tagged ‘ILM’

Industrial Light & Garage?

Bonnie Burton | January 2, 2008

Hardcore Star Wars fans and DIY filmmakers who founded Backyard Productions create their own versions of the saga with budgets that would send serious shivers down most directors’ backs. Using household objects, toys, a computer and a garage as the studio, the team remakes the films for under $6,000.

In an interview with BBC, Backyard Productions co-founder Darren Scales described what they had used to recreate the opening scene of Star Wars.

“We have got bubble wrap on the ceiling, we’ve got bottle tops and yogurt pots on the walls along with tubes from the center of rolls of carpets. The blasters are water pistols, we just stuck a few bits of lids on, add a bit of spray paint and then you have a blaster. You take a hard hat, put an Imperial sticker on it and suddenly its an Imperial work helmet for someone building the Death Star – it’s not rocket science. It’s the same with the lightsabers. Up close they look awful but you put a stick in it, you hold it and on screen you can’t tell the difference.”

Read more about their films here:
Star Wars remade in garage studio

ILM: A Third of Prelim List for Best VFX Oscar Team | December 17, 2007

In response to the late release of some films, the Academy’s Visual Effects Steering Committee has adopted a new procedure, selecting a semi-finalist long, long list of 15 films to be considered prior to determining the seven which make up the “Bakeoff” long list (and from there, the nominees are chosen… still following?)

The new policy allows members to see more of the year’s visual effects stand-outs before determining which films will ultimately be in contention for the Best Visual Effects Oscar.

With five films represented, ILM’s 2007 releases make up a full third of the long list:

VISUAL FX SEMI-FINALIST LIST (In alphabetical order; ILM productions in bold)


The Bourne Ultimatum

Evan Almighty (ILM)

The Golden Compass

Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix (ILM)

I Am Legend

Live Free or Die Hard

National Treasure: Book of Secrets (ILM)

Pirates of the Caribbean: At World’s End (ILM)


Spider-Man 3



Transformers (ILM)

The Water Horse

On January 3, the Steering Committee will meet again to make an informed decision determining the Bakeoff seven. After this, it is business as usual; On January 16, all members of the Visual Effects branch will meet at the Bakeoff screening in LA to vote on the final three nominees. From there it is off to the Oscars on February 24. Congratulations to all the tireless folks at ILM!

John Knoll on Smartest People List Team | November 30, 2007

(Actor Seth Green with ILM Visual Effects Supervisor John Knoll)

ILM Visual Effects Supervisor John Knoll has been named as one of Entertainment Weekly magazine’s “50 Smartest People in Hollywood,” coming in at No. 10 over conventional Hollywood moguls, power-players and luminaries such as J.J. Abrams, Jerry Bruckheimer, Peter Jackson, Tom Rothman, Jeffrey Katzenberg, Brad Bird, Zack Snyder and Kathleen Kennedy.

Fog City Mavericks Debuts on STARZ

Bonnie Burton | September 24, 2007

Directed by Gary Leva, Fog City Mavericks explores and celebrates filmmaking in the San Francisco Bay Area with features on the iconoclastic filmmakers George Lucas, Brad Bird, Bruce Conner, Carroll Ballard, Chris Columbus, Clint Eastwood, Francis Ford Coppola, John Korty, John Lasseter, Phil Kaufman, Walter Murch, Sofia Coppola and Saul Zaentz.

Read more about Fog City Mavericks airing Sept. 24 on STARZ here.

Also watch this short clip on of George Lucas, Saul Zaentz, Robin Williams and John Lasseter who joined other celebrated local moviemakers at the Castro Theater Sunday, April 29, 2007 for the world premiere of Fog City Mavericks:

VIDEO: Film Festival Tribute to Maverick S.F. Filmmakers
(reporting from

Bay Area TV Show Tours Lucasfilm at Presidio

Pete Vilmur | September 23, 2007


The local TV show “Bay Area Backroads” recently took a tour of the Lucasfilm digs at the Presidio, and even got a peek at our very own servers!

George Lucas on “Charlie Rose”

Bonnie Burton | September 5, 2007

In the fall of 2004, during the release of THX 1138 on DVD, TV journalist Charlie Rose interviewed filmmaker George Lucas about his films, his innovative work with Industrial Light & Magic and the future of movie making.

Click for the full hour-long interview here.


Star Wars: The Legacy Revealed Airs Again

Bonnie Burton | September 4, 2007

If you missed the Emmy-nominated documentary Star Wars: The Legacy Revealed, you can still catch it airing on The History Channel, Thurs., Sept. 6 at 10pm (check local listings).

The two-hour special explores why the emotional impact of the Star Wars saga remains as relevant as ever. The doc interviews celebs, filmmakers, politicians, academics, journalists and critics to get their take on the cultural impact of the films, as well as its influences — like the similarities between the tales of Luke Skywalker and King Arthur and Buddha and Yoda. See how the intensely compelling stories in Star Wars — borrowed from diverse traditions, from Greek mythology and American westerns to the Bible and even Vaudeville — force us to explore some of the biggest questions of our time.

Some of the personalities interviewed include director J.J. Abrams, director Peter Jackson, director Kevin Smith, director Joss Whedon, political satirist Stephen Colbert, journalists Dan Rather, Tom Brokaw and Linda Ellerbee, politicians Newt Gingrich and Nancy Pelosi, authors Mary Henderson and Steven Galipeau and many others.


“Heroes” Star Steals Lucas Pens?

Bonnie Burton | August 31, 2007

“Heroes” star and Industrial Light & Magic digital effects artist Masi Oka tells even though he’s acting full time on the hit show, he still works one or two days a week as a CGI artist at ILM.

He says, “I stole a lot of pens. But I’m still an employee. I can’t guarantee I’ll be around long enough to hit deadlines, but I am doing some consulting. I can’t steal anything, yet. Officially. But when I leave.”

Read the full story here.

Edlund Talks ILM’s Pre-digital Days

Pete Vilmur | August 31, 2007

stardestroyer recently posted an expansive article on the era of pre-digital special effects, featuring an interview with ex-ILMer Richard Edlund. The article spans the founding of Industrial Light & Magic two years before Star Wars’ release in 1977 through the end of the decade, when Star Trek – The Motion Picture defined how not to do a special effects movie. Here’s an excerpt:

The storyboards described the movie starting with an enormous “Imperial Star Destroyer” pursuing a much smaller spacecraft into the frame right over the audience’s head, hauling them into the adventure. “We knew how important this was,” Edlund explains. “If the audience didn’t buy that shot right away, they might not buy into what follows, but the only Star Destroyer we had was barely three feet long. We’d discussed plans to build a huge model that would stretch out along the side of the building, talking endlessly about how we’d light and shoot it while we kept banging away on the easier shots, always pushing that massive opening shot off, until eventually we started running out of stuff to shoot. By then the money was getting thin, and time was pretty much up.” And so, just as they’d always done, Edlund and John Dykstra, the movie’s visual-effects supervisor, and their crew at the fledgling visual-effects house Industrial Light & Magic, tackled this latest problem with sheer inventive pluck.

Before you head over, grab a snack and a beverage – it’s a long ride, but well worth the trip!

George Lucas Interview at D: All Things Digital Team | August 21, 2007

In May 2007, filmmaker George Lucas was interviewed on stage at the D: All Things Digital, the annual tech and media conference sponsored by The Wall Street Journal, where he chatted about digital visual effects, new gaming technology developed by LucasArts and ILM, the future of Web entertainment and filmmaking in general.

The site posted the entire (almost hour-long) interview for fans to check out, complete with ILM reels including a Pirates reel with Oscar-winning VFX Supervisor John Knoll explaining how the new software helps create realistic water effects. For you gamers, there’s also a live demo from LucasArts President Jim Ward about the upcoming LucasArts gaming technology (keep your eyes peeled for the Jar Jar in Carbonite, ice and Jell-O!)

The interview hosted by Walt Mossberg and Kara Swisher also veers into tangents about his Lucas’ thoughts on YouTube, hedge-fund investors trying to act as film producers and more.

Check out the video here:
George Lucas: The Entire D5 Interview