Effects and Story-telling from the Sci-Fi Boys Additional Scenes
Dennis Muren: The Challenge of "The Empire Strikes Back" And the Revolution of Motion Control and CGI
...And we started to alot of moving camera stuff way back on the Star Wars film. That whole end battle is all moving aerial stuff. Which comes from George just wanting to tell a story, not being hampered by effects. Y'know we had to come up with effects that would tell his story, not the other way around. Not simple effects to tell the story, but just what he had in mind. So the history of that evolving at ILM is pretty rooted in the company; being able to follow a director's vision, and not have it being hampered by an effects limitation. So ... we very much have pursued moving camera shots from the beginning here, so it was not a big leap to say "Let's do it in computer graphics."
So we got into the ... T2 has got alot of hand-held stuff in it, um ... and, Jurassic certainly does. Just realizing: hey, we need to do it. Then we write the program to do it, we train the people to do it, and we can get the work in the shows.
And now see it everywhere. Y'know, now it has really freed the ... the director up, it's freed the camera-man up, it's freed the production team up. 'Cause they don't have to be as ...as careful when they shoot the work as they used to be. So it saves time, and the by-product of that is, if you do it right, it can be alot cheaper shooting it also, and look better on the screen. Because it has a rougher look to it, than the ... than the precious effects shots.
Dennis Muren: The Founding and Growth of Industrial Light & Magic and Pixar
Because there are really two sides to these shows, there's the technical side and how do you get the thing done and just organized to bring the director's vision to the screen.
What happens is usually a script will come in to ILM; and half the time it's already been decided to use computer graphics, 'cause they want, 'cause they just want to do it. They think... The Director's insisting on it, this is the way to go to do the show. Other times, they say "Well, well..." They have an idea that "we'll use computer graphics here, and we'll use robotics here, and we'll use make-up here" or whatever it is.
And then we read the script and sort-of see if we agree with all that. And .. and if it fits in ... fits into our schedule and all, and if the money's there for it, to be able to do it, and how much work it's going to be and ... and d'ya ... can we crew up to be able to get it done. Is it going to fit in all the show's that we're doing. We have ... we can have 1200 working here, working on ... Y'know... anywhere from six to twelve shows going on. So they have to kind of slot in when they can.
And uh ... It's ... the next step in is where we read the script or the budget on it and begin, if we get the job, do design work on it, or someone else will do design work on it. And we'll begin making the computer graphic model at the same time, probably, as someone else is making them a kit, or robotics are being made. Uh whatever ... and we all kind of begin the process of seeing the same thing.
Steve Johnson on Inspirations, techniques and Synchronisity
But I think at this point, audiences ... I think the ... the only blur they really had, in my experience, that they think everything is digital. As opposed to knowing when something is a blend between digital and ... and practical.
I created a film ... I just did a short film. um ... and ... I did it basically out of a vengeance. Just to see ... because, Y'know, as I was saying earlier, the whole creative process of creating something, has been kind of robbed by digital technology ... because now, people will typically call up and say, "Can you make an insert hand?" or "Can you make a scan model?", which is ... fine. But it's not what it used to be. So I decided to satisfy my creative muse, last summer, to make a short film. And it's pretty ... pretty amazing. I should actually let you use this so I can show it to you.
Um ... and I'll tell ya, alot of people wondered why it was not done digitally ... and it wasn't, at all. It's amazing. It was all old school techniques, small scale puppets, full scale puppets ... um ... uh ... Created all of the skies with cloud take effects, plastic is made of ... heat shrunk plastic. I'm sorry, the ground is made of heat shrunk plastic. And then we used digital technology to ... resize, to ... composite, to do alot of interesting things with color-timing and that kind of thing. Ummm ... but it was pretty interesting, actually, just getting down and dirty and making something ... and saying "We're not going to be doing it digitally" and I produced the whole thing myself. We're going to try until we can't get it any more, to do it practically. And... it was a pretty interesting process, but it also taught me why alot of times it is better. Like...like when the characters deteriorate at the end. We made deteriorating models of these puppets, and it just worked out to be a nightmare. And we ended up deteriorating them digitally.