Movie News

Here's a trailer for SENSE OF SCALE, a documentary about Hollywood Model Making!!! So Cool!

Published at: March 24, 2012, 8:33 p.m. CST

Hey folks, Harry here...  Just  came from the set of my YouTube Show whick went swimmingly today.   Getting some of the opening credit plates shot, Father Geek's contribution to the show - which exhibited his myriad of mad skills.  And while that was going on, the production designer and I spoke quite a bit about some of the model work that'll be needed and discussing how we add a sense of scale to the shots. Well...   No sooner do I get home, than I'm reading an email introducing me to the geek documentary about one of the coolest aspects of filmmaking...  the great Model Departments and the great model makers and shooters talking about well, the state of things.   Here, check it out...



The director is a fella by the name of Berton Pierce, who interviewed folks like Lorne Peterson, Mark Stetson, Gene Rizzardi, Patrick McClung, Greg Jein, Gene Warre and a ton more.   

The doc is getting its premiere at the SCI FI LONDON FILM FEST on June 6th of this year!   Personally, I can't wait to check it out!!!

Readers Talkback

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  • March 24, 2012, 8:44 p.m. CST

    Attention Mr. Anderson:

    by Horace Cox

    I got an email from Estonia saying the 32 pound steel dildo is too small.

  • March 24, 2012, 8:44 p.m. CST

    I'd like to see this in a double-bill with Side By Side.

    by Royston Lodge

  • March 24, 2012, 8:44 p.m. CST

    ETA on the YouTube Vids?

    by puto tenax

    Just curious, sir. Have a great weekend. Sorry I missed you at the Slaughter Alamo. One of these days...

  • March 24, 2012, 8:54 p.m. CST

    puto tenax

    by HEADGEEK

    I'm told April 1st, God willing

  • March 24, 2012, 8:58 p.m. CST

    LOOKS COOL.

    by KilliK

  • March 24, 2012, 9 p.m. CST

    What is the official link for those YT videos?

    by KilliK

    i want to see them when they get uploaded.

  • March 24, 2012, 9:11 p.m. CST

    IN B 4 TEH LUCAS BASHING

    by Robots In Das Guys

  • March 24, 2012, 9:22 p.m. CST

    headgeek

    by puto tenax

    I thank you sir. Will be an April Fools to remember.

  • March 24, 2012, 9:31 p.m. CST

    puto

    by HEADGEEK

    I really can't tell you just how absurd it is that I have a show debuting on April Fool's Day... the set is still just a skeleton. So much painting, sculpting and prepping to be done. Just enough pieces for the first one to be shot. Still have other set pieces in design stages for the 2nd or 3rd episodes. Just not enough time. Really is going to be something different, I feel.

  • March 24, 2012, 9:47 p.m. CST

    Greg Jein

    by beamish13

    His work on 1941 and BUCKAROO BANZAI is mind-blowing. If you get the chance to see those films in 35mm, I STRONGLY implore you to do so!

  • March 24, 2012, 9:53 p.m. CST

    Very cool!

    by Rebel Scumb

    I`m glad they bring up the fun factor of models. There`s just something so neat about them.

  • March 24, 2012, 9:58 p.m. CST

    keep the mini-models alive!!

    by wattos new hat

  • March 24, 2012, 10:04 p.m. CST

    The ILM model shop is alive and well

    by shane peterson

    it's just renamed 32Ten studios(named after the address on Kerner Blvd. where they're located. Then you have WhiteRoom artifacts with a smaller group of ILM modelmakers doing exhibition work. They're still doing their thing.

  • March 24, 2012, 10:15 p.m. CST

    This looks so awesome!

    by adeceasedfan

  • March 24, 2012, 10:16 p.m. CST

    I met Lorne Peterson some years back...

    by Logan_1973

    Shaking his hand was like grasping a brick. That alone taught me a lot about the hands-on craft these guys lived for. Thanks for posting this, Harry.

  • March 24, 2012, 11:25 p.m. CST

    do want

    by Raptor Jesus

    Hell yes, where and when can I see this?

  • March 24, 2012, 11:50 p.m. CST

    I love this! And I gotta say...

    by Eric Hayden

    I have worked with many of these people. Worked for Mike Joyce (the guy at the end) for many years, ZATHURA, FLYBOYS, some beautiful miniatures. I miss model building. I have to say that my movie is making its UK premiere at Sci-Fi London alongside SENSE OF SCALE. Our film is THE LAST PUSH, we just killed at Sci-Fi Boston and IFS Film Festival in LA. Please check out our website as well: www.thelastpushmovie.com There you can find a link to our new trailer. The trailer that they have posted at Sci-Fi London is out of date. The SENSE OF SCALE has given me a deep sense of nostalgia, and I miss my friends. When we created the CGI spaceship for my film, the directive was to do everything possible to make it feel like a miniature. I am proud of what we accomplished, but I do miss miniatures... God knows I wish I had a model of the spaceship from my film to display! Cheers to SENSE OF SCALE!!!!

  • March 24, 2012, 11:55 p.m. CST

    This is the kind of stuff...

    by Joe Damiani

    I loved to watch and still love to watch. When I was a kid I wanted to do this for a living, I even got into building those monogram models, I figured it was good practice

  • March 25, 2012, 12:57 a.m. CST

    Cool

    by Jeff

    I'd love to see this! Because man, do I love good practical effects. I dig quality CG effects too, don't get me wrong, but a documentary about the lovable crazies who make practical effects? Count me in. And a huge tip of my cap to all of them.

  • March 25, 2012, 1:03 a.m. CST

    Very cool

    by CAPTAIN RIGHTWING

    I look forward to seeing this when available. Always loved models, both building them and seeing them on screen. Thanks for posting.

  • March 25, 2012, 2:38 a.m. CST

    SENSE OF SCALE at SCI-FI-LONDON

    by Louis Savy

    Hi. Thanks for the plug Harry. The movie is awesome and we are really proud to be hosting the World Premiere. Just wanted to correct the date, we screen it on MAY 6 at the British Film Institute in London. And for those who asked, here is a link to the trailers for a few other confirmed movies http://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PL894C496DBA059BAC You can see full details next week at www.sci-fi-london.com Follow us on Twitter @scifilondon #sfl11 Like us on Facebook facebook.com/scifilondon Thanks Louis Festival Director.

  • March 25, 2012, 2:39 a.m. CST

    more trailers here...

    by Louis Savy

    Hi Find more here http://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PL894C496DBA059BAC Louis Festival Director SCI-FI-LONDON

  • March 25, 2012, 3:31 a.m. CST

    Perhaps 3D printing will bring some of this back?

    by Bedknobs and Boomsticks

  • as audiences tire of over the top CGI and digital effects. Of course, with today's much better compositing tools and digital fixes (wire removal, color grading, After Effects touch ups), practical effects could be done even better and more efficiently now than they ever could be before. Not to say DIE CGI! Just that it would be interesting to see more practical stuff again mixed in, and less reliance on CGI so much of the time. The two techniques can really complement each other IMO.

  • March 25, 2012, 7:16 a.m. CST

    I can't wait till we are past practical and cgi...

    by some dude

    And just genetically engineer our movie monsters, blow up actual full size buildings and alter reality.to make gandalf tower over the hobbits

  • March 25, 2012, 7:56 a.m. CST

    lv_426

    by AsimovLives

    if you want to see a perfect marriage of practical and CGI watch Duncan Jones' movie MOON. Very often you will not know where the model work ends and the CGI begins and vice versa. And all done on a tiny budget.

  • March 25, 2012, 7:58 a.m. CST

    lv_426

    by Rebel Scumb

    Yeah in terms of compositing, and as you said removing wires and getting the model shots into the existing footage or integrating it with other elements I agree there is no question that the digital age has greatly improved on the old optical composites. I to would like to see a better marriage of the two techniques. CGI definitely has it's place, but there's something magical about minatures. The best example being how i think a lot of people would enjoy seeing an exhibit of minatures from movies, where as no one would ever go to a museum to walk around a bunch of monitors to see their favorite CGI characters in their original computer screens. CGI is an artform, no question, and when done really well can be a masterful tool, but models are almost like a magician's trick, there's something more primordial and ethereal about illusion of something small being made to look very large.

  • March 25, 2012, 8:24 a.m. CST

    Hell yeah

    by UltraTron

    Mike Joyce blew up the white house. He's one of the ray harryhausens of miniatures.

  • March 25, 2012, 8:39 a.m. CST

    This is a must-see for me. Bravo!

    by justmyluck

  • Just give Honda or Toyota the contract to build the new Johnny Five and feed its lines and movements into it from an iPad. The technology exists.

  • March 25, 2012, 9:44 a.m. CST

    Here we go again… obiwanmartinez

    by white_vader

    More miniatures in Episode 1 ALONE that all of the previous 3 films combined. Jeez man. Do some homework.The "365 days of Star Wars" book is a good place to start.

  • March 25, 2012, 9:47 a.m. CST

    How many people can tell whether those shots of the Prometheus

    by white_vader

    in the trailer are miniatures or cg? THAT'S the point. How you get to the shot isn't as important as the shot itself. And the exhibition afterwards is less important again. And I'm an oldschool guy who eats that stuff up. My friend has the razorback from Razorback mounted like a trophy on his wall!

  • March 25, 2012, 9:54 a.m. CST

    It's only a model- shhh!

    by UltraTron

  • March 25, 2012, 9:59 a.m. CST

    Royston lodge

    by KevinMuller

    That is wishful thinking, but you know it is going to be completely CGI

  • March 25, 2012, 9:59 a.m. CST

    And yeah Asi Moon was fantastic,

    by white_vader

    But some of the model shots were indeed obvious. Have a look again and you'll see things like the little bucket thing (or was it a hook - can't remember now) on the back of the truck/rover/whatever bouncing around and giving the no-moon-gravity game away. But all the cg particle effects they laid over the models was a great merging. I'm not tearing it down at all. I love it. Maybe they just didn't have the money for that other stuff - wasn't it like 5 mil or something silly? Also how many people could tell when the robot was cg and when it was practical? Not many. That's the point. I completely understand the nostalgia, but a lot of it comes from people who don't understand the realities of either approach. I hope this doco is fair and addresses that side of things too. Not just a puffpiece/lovefest. I think that makes it honest and doesn't diminish the craft at all. And yeah, 3d printing is used more and more often now.

  • March 25, 2012, 10 a.m. CST

    And after the premiere of the doco,

    by white_vader

    get it onto home video - stat!

  • March 25, 2012, 10:02 a.m. CST

    Not if it's cheaper kevinmuller

    by white_vader

    it depends on what they need it to do. It could well be radio-controlled just like the first one. I wanna see a sequel where Johnny 5 and big-dog have a baby!

  • March 25, 2012, 11:02 a.m. CST

    erm, you got chopped

    by white_vader

    You were talking about miniatures - if you meant wooden acting, say so. And please don't tell me you're going for the inane greenscreen argument. Greenscreen is no different to bluescreen and what they did on the originals. Man up and admit you were unclear, so if I don't catch your point it's through no fault of my own! Maybe I just didn't see the whole post because you're trying to cram it all in the subject heading?

  • March 25, 2012, 11:21 a.m. CST

    Modelling does not exist in this dojo

    by Cobra--Kai

    This docu looks great will certainly try and see it. My fave stuff on DVD extras is always when they show a few glimpses of macquettes or miniatures (or *bigatures* in the case of LOTR). And CG works at its best when its treated like a model. When film makers get the urge, as they too often seem to do, of making their CG monsters or spacecraft do things that defy physics and friction that's when it fails to fool the eye. white_vader mentioned PROMETHEUS and I think Ridley Scott is one of the few who *gets it*. He uses CGI in a grounded way, but others would rather have creatures bounding off walls and fighting in mid air and all of that nonsense. Just because the technology allows them to do that, doesn't mean it is a good idea to!

  • March 25, 2012, 2:38 p.m. CST

    white_vader ...

    by ZodNotGod

    Don't bother dude. WHat some of those bitter geeks fail to do is research anything before they spout off. They know nothing about Star Wars yet they think they do.... Some if they don't make it up themselves, will believe, and ObiWan does, whatever else some bitter geek has dumped.

  • March 25, 2012, 3:15 p.m. CST

    Would LOVE to know if CE3K's mothership exists anywhere.

    by openthepodbaydoorshal

    I think Greg Jein worked on a lot of it. Was any work on Inception (the crumbling buildings, landscape, etc.) done in miniature, or all CGI?

  • March 25, 2012, 3:43 p.m. CST

    Martin can you go to the end of the pulpit please?

    by Mugato5150

    What for? I need something in the foreground to give it some scale. Scale my ass! Martin, Goddammit! Come here darlin'!

  • March 25, 2012, 3:59 p.m. CST

    Inception models

    by SK229

    Hey open the pod bay doors, the mountain fortress in the final scenes was a HUGE model. Interesting bit of trivia is that it was built in a parking lot in Marina del Rey, a mere block or so from where the ce3k mothership was built at Trumbull's Future General shop... a lot of the stuff for Blade Runner was done there too. And Spielberg edited the film in MDR, I believe. And so many movies have been filmed at the Playa stages as well. Lot of movie history below venice blvd for those who live in L.A.!

  • March 25, 2012, 4:06 p.m. CST

    Sweet.

    by SS

    That's why this sites worth it's salt. For all its bullshit, every once in a while, it can still spread the word about things for people who love their flicks. This looks really good.

  • March 25, 2012, 8:48 p.m. CST

    Love the Super Sculpey title

    by ObiBen

  • March 25, 2012, 8:59 p.m. CST

    More models in Episode 1 than in blah,blah,blah

    by ObiBen

    What a desingenuous argument to make. There where 365 fx shots in Star Wars, the vast majority of them made with models. How many fx shots in any of the prequels? Thousands. How many using models? That's like saying that a morbidly obese person going from 500lbs to 410lbs is actually fitter than a slightly overweight person loosing 15 lbs because, you know, 90 is much more than 15...

  • March 25, 2012, 9:01 p.m. CST

    CE3K mothership is at the Smithsonian

    by ObiBen

  • March 25, 2012, 10:18 p.m. CST

    Obiben

    by white_vader

    It's not disingenuous at all, considering the argument was basically that the prequels were cg fests and they abandoned models. There are tons of model shots, and many like the podrace where they used photogrammetry of miniature rock formations so even though those shots may have taken place inside the computer they still used shitloads of practical miniatures. Even for the ships, although that changed by ep 3. Environments like Theed and even Mustafar were models. Underwater stuff shot dry-for-wet, and waterfalls made of slo-mo salt, lava made of methocel, the ep 2 arena and so on. Done by some of the guys in the doco I'll bet. So yeah, a shit ton. I get what you're saying, but that's a bit different to the argument we were having (and then it turned out martinez was actually talking about wooden acting and not miniatures at all. Shrug). So I could level the same accusation at you if I wanted to. A lot of what people think is crap cg in the prequels is lolly-like colour grading and constant establishing shots that glorify the setting rather than help the story along. I understand the weight loss analogy, but it's just as valid to say in an age when more and more is done with cg than miniatures, the SW prequels actually went AGAINST the trend because they used so many miniatures. Percentage of the whole wasn't quite the point - but there was a shit-ton. I don't know the number, but hey, you made a sweeping statement with 'vast majority' too. And don't forget it's not even a completely clean argument on SW because of computer-controlled cameras and multiple-pass compositing for different exposures. That's analogous to the photogrammetry thing too. But like I say, it doesn't matter how you get the shot, its the final shot that counts. I love miniatures to bits and prosthetics and animatronics too and grew up with them and got into the industry because of them. But story comes first and when something like Rise of the Apes is possible because of new tools, no matter what they are, that's a good thing. So is mixing techniques because it helps hide the seams.

  • March 25, 2012, 10:22 p.m. CST

    Oops sorry Obiben meant to say

    by white_vader

    Thanks for the CE3K info! Cool. I'd love to go. I've been to the ranch and seen all the SW (and Indy) miniatures and props. Nerd nirvana.

  • March 25, 2012, 10:30 p.m. CST

    That was hellacool SK

    by white_vader

    Although reading the Cinefex it seemed like being practical they didn't capture quite the progression they were after with the pyro? Maybe I was misreading. It still looked fantastic. The palace one at the start was groovy too.

  • March 25, 2012, 10:52 p.m. CST

    Jeez martinez,

    by white_vader

    Try to get it right if you're going to get so uptight and throw the accusations around. Special effects generally means onset physical effects like flipping cars and bullet hits and so on. Miniature and visual effects are post effects and different again. If you're gonna get your nose out of joint about technical stuff I think that's fair. And big deal man - I was 'alive' for SW too. But that doesn't mean I know diddly squat about how it was done and neither do you. And same for everyone who goes on about how shit all this greenscreen stuff is and proves they understand nothing (exactly the same as bluescreen in the old days when actors had to use their imagination exactly the same way as they do now). But for me my love of all that stuff did make me put my money where my mouth is. And if you were "alive" back then (I can't work out if you're being sneaky about whether you were old enough to remember it as a kid or not), you'd know something most commenters on this site don't. That there was a LOT of crappy stuff, just as there is now. It's just that most of that has fallen away and we don't get those ones repeated on TV or coming out on video. People around or under 30 don't understand this and have a warped view of the balance because they compare the very best of the past of an artform that had the best part of a century to mature, with a very young artform today. CG is in about the thirties as far as development. So they're not doing too bad I'd say. And while we only see the best of that old stuff, we see the worst of the new all the time. And you shouldn't have shot yourself in the foot dude - "Anyone can be a cg whiz" shows exactly how much you know. NO. If anyone could be a cg wiz there'd be a shitload more quality out there. You obviously haven't got a clue and don't know how it's actually done or how much of the traditional skills it requires. Because the second part of that statement about Baker (my hero - who is actually a great cg artist) and all is ridiculous and unfortunate. Because even back THEN, the same was true - NOT everyone was Rick or Phil (whose shop went straight to the forefront of cg when he went digital) etc. Jeez man! Just because you sat in the audience means you know diddly squat.

  • March 25, 2012, 11 p.m. CST

    I know Zod

    by white_vader

    usually I avoid it, but sometimes the offensive (in both senses of the word) ignorance gets my goat and I can't help it. I keep saying Trumbull did stuff in The Tree of Life that used cg and digital comping that was gorgeous but funny how it falls on deaf ears because it's not the simplistic stuff they wanna hear, same with Baker's amazing Zbrush sculpts or that he was one of the first to do digital makeup & prosthetics in The Frighteners and Henson and Tippet doing early mocap and on and on... And I love that a lot of the BR "Hades" sequence is essentially cutouts (etched brass from B&W artwork). But great backlighting and a shit-ton of smoke and a completely controlled environment made us 'see' so much more… Can we start a petition or something to get Trumbull to finish his 2001 doco? I wanna see that one too!

  • March 25, 2012, 11:01 p.m. CST

    And RIP Grant McCune.

    by white_vader

  • March 26, 2012, 12:42 a.m. CST

    I recently watched Rebecca and The Lady Vanishes

    by white_vader

    And was amazed that the openings are all miniatures (never seen either before)! Very cool. As I recall only some wobbling from cars and depth cue stuff gave things away, but still pretty awesome. At first I thought the Lady Vanishes opening behind the title card was a matte painting but then when things started moving it was revealed to be scenic art and the whole scene a miniature. Rebecca didn't require it quite so much but I guess it was control and maybe caricature for the dramatic tone. And his use of matte paintings later on was super ballsy too.

  • March 26, 2012, 9:30 a.m. CST

    RE: obijuanmartinez

    by ZodNotGod

    I was there in the summer of '77 so I know...SW is in my DNA so don't act holier-than-thou. I do suggest you get a new mantra- PREQUELS SUCK is falling on deaf ears and is pathetic (and not entirely true) at this point in time. I wonder if geeks bitched about the new tech ushered by Star Wars, Star Trek: TMP, Alien and compared and contrasted it against Harryhausen's stop-motion say the old school is the only way and Ray's way is far better? Practical effects looked just as fake back in the day. Krull, Battle Beyond the Stars; tons of others.... Its not the tool, but the one who uses it.

  • March 26, 2012, 9:33 a.m. CST

    white_vader

    by ZodNotGod

    I like your style. You know your shit, keep it coming.

  • March 26, 2012, noon CST

    Yeah bay-bay!!

    by Blue_Demon

    Did you fuckers see the Draconian Hatchet Fighter behind David M. Jones?! I love that ship! Fuck it, I'm going to buy the Buck Rogers DVD set tonight!

  • March 26, 2012, 2 p.m. CST

    The Earth fighter was much better...

    by ZodNotGod

  • March 26, 2012, 3:51 p.m. CST

    Use of shit-tons of models in the prequels

    by ObiBen

    didn't prevent the star destroyers from looking like a pixellated mess at the end of the third movie. Maybe they used all their server processing time on that closeup of the iris of general whatsisface's eye... :P

  • March 26, 2012, 3:57 p.m. CST

    Cinefex

    by ObiBen

    My subscription began with The Abyss. I pulled the plug after one of the nth Harry Potter numbers. At that point the amount of "supervisor points at intern animator's desktop monitor over his shoulder" kinda pics largely surpassed the "holy crap, they made this with colored Q-Tips, this is so cool!" kinda pics.

  • or a bitter indignant ass.

  • March 26, 2012, 10:31 p.m. CST

    One final note...(Dedicated to Messrs. Vader & Zod)

    by obijuanmartinez

    ZOD: I was there in the summer of '77 so I know...SW is in my DNA so don't act holier-than-thou. I do suggest you get a new mantra- PREQUELS SUCK is falling on deaf ears and is pathetic (and not entirely true) at this point in time. REBUTTAL: ‘Prequels Suck’ will be a valid mantra – forevermore, I’m afraid, so you’re free to spout the virtues of Jar Jar, poo-doo jokes, fart gags, Mannequin Skywalker, an infantile grasp of politics, wooden dialogue, asinine quasi-biology (Midichlorians), and pretty much everything else to your heart’s content; people like me will always be around to disagree – it’s called HAVING AN OPINION, which (last I checked) is somewhat encouraged within a public forum such as this. The Star Wars prequels are stinky cinematic suppositories* that prove an epileptic seizure-inspiring number of effects shots coupled with a sheltered billionaire director (with a tenuous grasp on how to realistically convey human interaction via compelling, natural dialogue) are no substitute for a good script, and solid acting performances. Simply stated = These films have no soul. *Thank you, Mike Nelson Thing about the prequels is, we waited 16 years for them. The Neckless One wailed on about how he was waiting for the technology to be ‘just right’, and then he’d pounce. Well, he did just that, and look what he delivered: Not only that, but we still had to wait the same three years in between films that we did for the original trilogy, and for what? Meesa tinka da process of selling one’s soul was a process that began for George Lucas around the time he decided to field an army of midget teddy bears against the Emperor’s elite mechanized legions, and ended the day the Practical Effects shop at ILM (AKA Kerner Optical) closed in 2006, and ILM set up its new, digital-only VFX branch up at the Presidio. And before you fling your next flight of tedious ‘Star Wars Nerd Derangement’ accusations, you should know this: I do not line up with those who accuse Lucas of ‘raping their childhood’. Quite the contrary – If I met the fellow, I’d (before unloading on him what a HUGE disappointment the prequels were) shake his hand. Heck, I’d probably even have a hug for the guy. He enriched my childhood immeasurably. I got to see Star Wars five times in the theater during the summer of 1977, and over the summers following, I felt the euphoria of wearing bad iron-on T-shirts that disintegrated from constant wear, cutting out blue & white Kenner proof of purchase labels & sending away for such premium swag as Bossk & Boba Fett first editions, and wearing those delightfully odorous vinyl Halloween costumes. Star Wars was one of the gateway drugs that led me to voraciously consume such media as Starlog, Heavy Metal & Omni magazines, as well as myriad sci-fi A/V media. Later in life, I even lauded Lucas for his role in helping construct Joseph Campbell’s excellent miniseries ‘The Power of Myth’, which was filmed in Lucas’ library at Skywalker Ranch, and had a lovely segment called ‘The Hero’s Journey’, which illustrated the appeal of Star Wars as a ‘very old tale in very new clothes’. ZOD: I wonder if geeks bitched about the new tech ushered by Star Wars, Star Trek: TMP, Alien and compared and contrasted it against Harryhausen's stop-motion say the old school is the only way and Ray's way is far better? Practical effects looked just as fake back in the day. Krull, Battle Beyond the Stars; tons of others.... REBUTTAL: It’s not a question of ‘better’ or ‘more realistic’ – I think you’re missing the point: As I mentioned, low-rung educational institutions such as ITT Tech, DeVry, and even your local community college now have Computer Animation curricula. That said, I will gladly double down on, and repeat my earlier postulate that a CG wiz is a dime a dozen, while pioneers like Tippett, Baker, Harryhausen, Rambaldi, Henson, and Winston are rare visionaries who used & advanced practical effects to make movie magic. I don’t feel folks in the 70s railed against that ‘new-fangled’ mo-cap photography, or any of the other innovations offered by these artists, because it was still very much a humanistic (not mechanistic) paradigm. Not only that, but the characters felt more realistic & accessible, and their performances didn’t suffer due to overwhelming technological saturation: There isn’t a single character in the prequel trilogy who possesses the dynamic range of Harrison Ford’s Han Solo; in fact, otherwise great actors like Liam Neeson and legends like Christopher Lee are largely wasted: I think you can actually see Liam Neeson (during the Midichlorians pep-talk w/ Ani) pause, and nearly break down with a soul-weary, drained look that radiates ‘WHAT THE F___ IS THIS OFFAL I’M EXCRETING FROM MY MOUTH?’ Similarly, in ‘Attack of the Clones’, we get to take Kenobi’s vantage-point as he eavesdrops on Count Dooku’s outline for galactic conquest; initially, we don’t see who the Sith Lord is addressing, but with Lee’s trademark ominous baritone rumble, we are roped in, waiting for the payoff, BUT – we slowly pan around the room to reveal…THE ENTIRE F&%$#@ TEX AVERY GANG, once again chopping whatever gravitas / forward momentum this scene might have had at the knees, favoring an extended shot of the Techno Union guy fiddling with his knob (pun intended). Practical effects may look fake, and if that’s your net takeaway at the end of the day, I pity you your cynicism, and your inability to suspend disbelief, because you probably can’t appreciate something like the brilliance of the Tom Baker era of ‘Doctor Who’ – great scripts / stories, acting / characters, all on a shoe-string effects budget that put the modern reboot of the series to shame. And if you can’t have fun watching a film like ‘Krull’, again, I offer my condolences. Might I suggest removing the giant plank of wood from your nether region? Parallel to this topic, you may also want to Google the term ‘Harlan Ellison on Doctor Who’ – it’s just a bit of side fun some may find an interesting read… White_Vader: And big deal man - I was 'alive' for SW too. But that doesn't mean I know diddly squat about how it was done and neither do you. And same for everyone who goes on about how shit all this greenscreen stuff is and proves they understand nothing (exactly the same as bluescreen in the old days when actors had to use their imagination exactly the same way as they do now). REBUTTAL: I do know how it was done, and so could you – They hide this information in things known as BOOKS, and periodicals such as Cinefex & Cinefantastique; have been for years. There were quite a number of great documentaries done by PBS & other outlets over the years, highlighting EXACTLY how ‘it was done’. Yes, there was embryonic blue screen (CSO, or color-separation overlay was a common tool used in 70s ‘Doctor Who’ as well), but compelling performances managed to happen. If CG isn’t to blame, then I suppose the actors, coupled with dreadful scripts (as in the case of the prequel trilogy) must be. I’ll give a further example: I propose a film using embryonic CG effects like ‘The Last Starfighter’ is a much better film than ‘Avatar’, another effects-overdosed / story-minimal blockbuster (yes, I know it made gazillions of dollars, and it’s James Cameron, who I do respect for works such as ‘Terminator’ & ‘Aliens’), simply because at the end of the day, I can identify more closely with a character like Alex Rogan or Dastari, than I can any of the wooden action tropes mined for Avatar. Similarly, while the old CG animation for the space scenes doesn’t stand well against modern standards, it doesn’t necessarily need to, due to the fact that The Last Starfighter is a film with soul, whereas Avatar has a planet of 10-foot, blue Jar Jar Binkses… White_Vader: You obviously haven't got a clue and don't know how it's actually done or how much of the traditional skills it requires. Because the second part of that statement about Baker (my hero - who is actually a great cg artist) and all is ridiculous and unfortunate. Jeez man! Just because you sat in the audience means you know diddly squat. REBUTTAL: Well, that’s where you’re wrong – I spent several elementary school summers in children’s film workshops sponsored by my local public library. Sadly, only one of my Super-8 classics survived: A take on the Battle of Midway titled ‘Take That, You Dirty Japs’ (shot on NO budget in my bedroom, featuring 2 & 3D animation, and a book of matches…wink). In middle school, my gifted resource teacher, award-winning playwright, actor & director Charles McClelland (who you can look up at the Dramatist’s Guild if you’ve the inclination) spent several years teaching us cinema techniques around works as diverse as ‘2001’ and ‘My Fair Lady’. Beyond that, one of my useless college degrees is in radio/TV/film production, and hence, I can (and do) know somewhat of what I speak. At least enough to have some interesting & entertaining dialogue in the delightful forum one Mr. Harold J. Knowles provides here at AICN. And let’s face it, Mr. Film Know-it-all Guy, if you were as ‘all that’ as you seem to think you are, you wouldn’t be hanging out here. Your final comment about sitting in an audience being irrelevant shows you to be a disingenuous philistine. Having sat in a seat means I have had the ultimate vantage-point for some truly enriching experiences, and grew up in a fortuitously-timed lifetime – from a scared toddler who watched ‘Jaws’ in his PJs from the back of an Oldmobile Vista Cruiser at a drive-in movie theater (and consequently, didn’t go into the ocean past my knees again until age 9), to the obvious Star Wars trilogy, to ‘Close Encounters’, ‘Raiders of the Lost Ark’, ‘The Thing’ & most of the other amazing offerings of 1982, and so on… QED

  • March 27, 2012, 5:11 p.m. CST

    obijuanmartinez .....

    by Ryan Naughtom

    You said that "anyone can be a CGI wiz." If that is true, then I want you to prove it. Buy some animation software, and create a piece of CGI that rivals anything seen in Avatar, the Lord of the Rings Trilogy, or any acclaimed blockbuster from the past eleven years. As for the trailer, I think it looks great. I desperately want to see the actual documentary, and I hope they talk about the great model makers of Classic Hollywood like A. Arnold Gillespie and the Lydecker Brothers.