Star Wars – An Iconic Introduction

I think this might be my favorite Star Wars photo ever.

Star Wars ILM Credits

To this point, movie text and credits had been shot similarly since film began, and yet a simple camera tilt and it becomes something else entirely.  Iconic.  Synonymous.

Photo’s like this just make me smile.

The Corridors of Lucasfilm #4 – Howard Anderson Optical Printer

Lucasfilm – Howard Anderson Optical Printer

Not much is known about he Anderson Printer before ILM purchased it from Paramount Pictures in 1975.  It had been used for compositing for Cecil B DeMilles The Ten Commandments in 1956, and shots for Alfred Hichcock’s North By Northwest in 1959.  The printer fell out of permanent use as the VistaVision format waned.

VistaVision is a method of shooting a a 35mm negative horizontally (8 perforations), double the size of typical upright negatives.  To project a VistaVision movie a special projector was necessary; one that lay on its side.  The cost of the new equipment and higher costs to process the film made VistaVision an impractical format for film.  Though the quality of an Continue reading

The Corridors of Lucasfilm #3 – The ILM Kodak Scanner.

In 1995 ILM was awarded a technical achievement award from the academy of motion pictures for the development of the Trilinear High Resolution CCD Digital Input Scanner, commonly known at ILM as the Kodak Scanner, and at Kodak as the ILM Scanner.  The evolution of the digital scanner was a joint effort, beginning with concept design and planning in 1998.  It was completed in 1989 with its first use in a feature motion picture in 1990 on Die Hard 2.

IMG_6073As the first input scanner with the capabilities and throughput to be an effective digitizing system for use in the production of feature movie pictures, the ILM Kodak Scanner dramatically changed the way movies are made.  The scanner digitized motion picture film, converting it to digital format for use by digital image compositing and effects systems.  The ILM Kodak Scanner employed a tri-linear CCD array instead of a serial array and mechanically moved each frame of film past this array to scan the entire area of the frame.  The tri-linear CCD integrated circuit is coated with specifically developed red, green and blue dyes that match the color response of the Eastman-Koadk film.  This provided both higher resolution and superior quality for its cost than serial arrays.  The last show that was scanned on the ILM Kodak Scanner was Mission Impossible in 1996.

IMG_6074IMG_6077IMG_6076

Full list of films scanned on the ILM Kodak Scanner.

1990 – Die Hard 2.
1991 – Mickeys Audition, Switch, Arachnophobia, The Doors, Hudson Hawk, Backdraft, The Rocketeer, Terminator 2 Judgement Day, Star Trek VI, Hook.
1992 – The Young Indiana Jones Chronicles, Memoirs of an Invisible Man, Alive, Death Becomes Her.
1993 – The Nutcracker, Manhattan Murder Mystery, Last Action Hero, Meteorman, Malice, Rising Sun, Fire in the Sky, Jurassic Park, Schindler’s List.
1994 – Hudsucker Proxy, The Flintstones, Maverick, Wolf, Babys Day Out, Forrest Gump, The Mask, Radioland Murders, Star Trek Generations, Disclosure.
1995 – In the Mouth of Madness, Village of the Damned, Casper, Congo, The Indian in the Cupboard, Sabrina, The American President, Jumanji.
1996 – Special Effects (an IMAX film), Mission Impossible.

The Empire Strikes Back – Unseen Vintage Documentary.

“Here’s an awesome vintage documentary short that lets us take a look back at the making of The Empire Strikes Back. While the film was shooting in the 80s, French journalist Michael Parbot was given unprecedented access to the production. Some of the footage has been seen in a couple of other documentaries over the years, but now there’s more unseen footage that’s been found! The doc includes fascinating conversations with Irvin Kershner, Mark Hamill, and Harrison Ford. Check it out.”

The Corridors of Lucasfilm #2 – Bell & Howell Splicer.

Bell & Howell SplicerBell & Howell SplicerBell & Howell Splicer

Bell & Howell is a U.S.-based former manufacturer of motion picture machinery, founded as Bell & Howell in 1907 by two projectionists, and headquartered in Wheeling, Illinois. According to its charter, Bell & Howell Company incorporated on February 17, 1907. It was duly recorded in the Cook County Record Book eight days later.

The splicer (above) was constructed to join together separate pieces of film, usually bonded by a specially formulated ‘film cement’.

Historically, Bell & Howell Co. was an important supplier of many different media technologies, starting with a rotary framer on 35mm film projectors in 1907.  This was quickly followed by a 35mm film perforator (1908), a professional 35mm motion-picture film camera (1909) and printing equipment used in motion-picture film laboratories introduced in 1911.  In 1934 Bell & Howell introduced the first light weight amateur 8-mm movie camera, in which the film was loaded in a cassette that allowed daylight loading and unloading.

For a brief period in the early eighties, Bell & Howell marketed a version of the Apple II in a black case to educational institutions.  The company merged with Böwe Systec Inc. in 2003; it was known as Böwe Bell & Howell until 2011, when Versa Capital Management bought the company and returned it to its original name.

(Text from Wikipedia).

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).

Star Wars Games Retrospective

Star Wars Games

From Flying to MMO, Action, Adventure and more, Star Wars Games have covered most genres. And now, for the first time they are all covered (from 1982-2008) in one video. Sit back and enjoy this epic collection of the Star Wars Retrospectives thanks to GameTrailers.com

 

Star Wars Posters: Propaganda

Click on an image to view in gallery format.

(Similar posts: Star Wars Posters: Movie RedesignsStar Wars Posters: Retro Travel)

Secrets from the Ranch

Yup, the latest super secret project from the ranch was announced today; StarWars Detours.

“Today at Star Wars Celebration VI, Robot Chicken creators Seth Green and Matt Senreich, along with their collaborator Todd Grimes, unveiled footage from their new animated series Star Wars: Detours. The series takes place between between Episode III and IV, and of course, Green, Senreich and Grimes have taken comedic liberty with the entire Star Wars universe, with George Lucas‘ blessing of course.”

This is my favorite clip, but check out the other three links below, including the trailer.

Clip1  |  Clip3  |  Trailer.

“Senreich told fans the story behind the series, saying they got a call from Lucas’ people and he immediately thought they were getting sued for developing Robot Chicken.”

“Lucas was sitting at a desk and said, ‘You guys think you’re pretty fucking funny, don’t you?'” Green remembers. “‘So, how about we do something funny together?'”

As of right now, there are no details on premiere dates or even a home network for the show. But have a first look at Star Wars: Detours below, and then head to the comments and hit us with your initial reactions.”

 

Star Wars Posters: Retro Travel

Five alternate takes on Travel Posters from the Outer Rim.

Steve Thomas

Star Destroyer Tatooine Alderaan By Moonlight Beggars Canyon Endor Rally Hoth Ski Patrol

These six are from a full set of fourteen images, but it’s an interesting range because it clearly breaks down into a few sub-groups springing from slightly different influences.  The posters were originally sold through Lucasfilms art partner, Acme Archives, although most are now sold out.  There were also a couple of nice, minimal ‘t-shirt logos’ which were – not surprisingly – available as t-shirts.

Steve’s portfolio Continue reading