The Corridors of Lucasfilm #1 – Moviola.

There’s some beautiful old hardware hiding in the corners of the Lucasfilm Presido campus. It’s intriguing; although I learned to edit with film it wasn’t using gear anywhere nearly as incredible as this.  Infact, there’s a couple machines in the office I wasn’t entirely certain what they were for.  (But now I am – thanks Wikipedia).

This is the first in a short series of posts covering the gear I’ve discovered so far…

Moviola UD-20-S Moviola UD-20-S Moviola UD-20-S Moviola UD-20-S

The Moviola allowed editors to study individual shots in their cutting rooms, thus to determine more precisely where the best cut-point might be. The vertically-oriented Moviolas were the standard for film editing in the United States until the 1970s when horizontal flatbed editor systems became more common.

Iwan Serrurier’s original 1917 concept for the Moviola was as a home movie projector to be sold to the general public. The name was derived from the name “Victrola” since Serrurier thought his invention would do for home movie viewing what the Victrola did for home music listening (The Moviola even came in a beautiful wooden cabinet similar to the Victrolas). But since the machine cost $600 in 1920 (equivalent to $20,000 in the 2000s), very few sold. An editor at Douglas Fairbanks Studios suggested that Iwan should adapt the device for use by film editors. Serrurier did this and the Moviola as an editing device was born in 1924 with the first Moviola being sold to Douglas Fairbanks himself. Ninety four years later, a framed copy of the original receipt still resides at Moviola, the company, in Hollywood.

Many studios quickly adopted the Moviola including Universal StudiosWarner BrothersCharles Chaplin StudiosBuster Keaton ProductionsMary PickfordMack Sennett, and Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer. The advent of sound, 65mm and 70mm film, and the need for portable editing equipment during World War II greatly expanded the market for Moviola’s products.

Iwan Serrurier’s son, Mark Serrurier, took over his father’s company in 1946. In 1966, Mark sold Moviola Co. to Magnasync Corporation (a subsidiary of Craig Corporation) of North Hollywood for $3 million. Combining the names, the new name was Magnasync/Moviola Corp. President L. S. Wayman instantly ordered a tripling of production, and the new owners realized their investment in less than two years.

(Text from Wikipedia).

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One thought on “The Corridors of Lucasfilm #1 – Moviola.

  1. Is that the Moviola used by the editing team on the original Star Wars? Coincidentally I’ve just been reading about that yesterday.

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