The Empire Strikes Back
Tauntauns, Walkers and Probots
Article by Paul Mandell
Employing a variety of techniques, ranging from vintage Willis O'brien-type steps to modern motion control technology, the special effects wizards at Industrial Light & Magic produced a dazzling array of stop motion wonders for The Empire Strikes Back. Effects director of photography Dennis Muren, stop motion animator Phil Tippett, art director Joe Johnston and other key members of the ILM effects unit discuss the complex animation sequences from start to finish.
Phase IV
The Microcosmic World of Ken Middleham
Article by Don Shay
Phase IV was anything but a typical science fiction film. No spaceships, no alien invaders, no unleashed technological horrors — just ants. But not ordinary ants. Ants with geometric patterns emblazoned on their foreheads; ants unafraid to engage a praying mantis in battle; ants that bestow ceremonial honors on their fallen dead; and ants that transport crystals of posionous material in a suicidal death march. Ace macro cinematographer Ken Middleham discusses the creation and photography of these uncharacteristic ant behaviors.
Walter Murch
Making Beaches Out of Grains of Sand
Article by Jordan Fox
Some of the most significant recent developments in motion pictures involve not what is seen, but rather what is heard. Academy Award winner Walter Murch, the virtuoso whose work figures prominently in some of the pivotal films of our time, discusses the subtle, psychological, mostly invisible art of sound — from the recording of a single isolated audio track to the monumental mixing of a hundred or more at once.
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