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Fri Mar 30, 2007 1:07 am Reply and quote this post
For any cinema-loving, technology geek of a certain age visiting the home of Industrial Light and Magic in San Francisco is a little like coming home.

Outside the firm's office in the Presidio area of the city, master Yoda greets visitors sat atop a fountain.


The offices are part-cutting edge studio, part-museum of film history.

Around each and every corner you will find a treasure of cinema - and not just LucasFilm history. A poster of a James Bond movie is next to a display cabinet with a model from Jurassic Park.

Models, creatures, spaceships, light sabres are on display along each and every corridor. Matte paintings, concept art and even a giant model of the dish of the Starship Enterprise are on show to inspire staff and impress visitors.

The original compositing machine for Star Wars - that layered finished effects onto film - is kept behind a glass cabinet.

The effects team working hard on the third Pirates of the Caribbean film have turned their offices into a living, breathing buccaneer's galley with flags of the jolly roger seen at every turn - although I was under strict instructions "not to look at anything".

I was visiting for a feature for the BBC News website on how IL&M has stayed at the cutting edge of visual effects - what technologies are they using to pioneer new cinema history in the making?

But of course, like any organisation, it is the people that make it a success and IL&M has the very best of engineers, artists, producers and so on.

As I walked down the corridors I passed someone who was later pointed out to me as the winner of eight Oscars.

The man who co-created Photoshop with his brother, John Knoll, still works at IL&M and recently brought home the Oscar for visual effects for Pirates 2. I also met the other recipient of that award, Hal Hickel, who seemed more than happy for the BBC to just swing by unannounced.

Contributed by Vinod_javas, iVirtua Participating Member
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