The industry-standard effects magazine Cinefex
July 2, 2002 1:47 PM   Subscribe

The industry-standard effects magazine Cinefex has made some articles from their archives viewable online. One of them is this lengthy and fascinating look at E.T. from a 1983 issues.
posted by GriffX (9 comments total)
It appears that's the only one at this point, actually.

I do hope they make their 20th anniversary retrospective on the making of 2001: A Space Odyssey available online. It's one of the best and most comprehensive articles I've found on the movie.
posted by me3dia at 2:01 PM on July 2, 2002

This is interesting:
Meanwhile, those who wait to feel the magic a second time have something definite to look forward to - E.T. II is already tentatively scheduled for a summer of 1985 release. At that point, it will only remain to be seen if the sequel, like its predecessor, can once again remove sentiment from the endangered emotions list.
posted by ColdChef at 2:10 PM on July 2, 2002

Also, anyone notice what's NOT missing from this shot?
posted by GriffX at 2:18 PM on July 2, 2002

*Gasp* Guns! Won't somebody think of the children!

Whatever happened to ET II? I'm sure Hollywood, for want of good ideas, will resurrect it eventually.
posted by insomnyuk at 2:22 PM on July 2, 2002

Remember ET's bit part in the Phantom Menace?
posted by jazon at 3:12 PM on July 2, 2002

Thanks GriffX, I love Cinefex the magazine, but their site is usually a letdown. Nice to see them making the online effort.
posted by kokogiak at 3:12 PM on July 2, 2002

More from this (34 page length) article:

The actual filming of both Elliott and the other children's bike flights required a number of critical steps. McAlister was forced to carefully plot out the relationship of each puppet to its nearest neighbor in the frame, requiring typical track runs on the go-motion camera of thirty to forty feet. "Blue neon paddles were placed over the actual rods connecting the figures to the stepping motors," said McAlister, "and those paddles which were not dropped out of the bluescreen backing were later garbage-matted out by ILM's rotoscope artists Peggy Tonkonogy, Terry Windell and Garry Waller." Each bike and rider was then shot as a separate element, with the job of compositing the figure into the background plate left to the optical department.

This means literal frame-by-frame painting out of the offending elements. And this was well before Photoshop - I picture how much of a bitch this would be to do in Photoshop, and yet these folks did it in 1983. Explains a lot about how the old-school 'effects guys' laugh at us (even aspiring) younger effects guys.
posted by GriffX at 7:38 PM on July 2, 2002

That's nothing. Just imagine what a chore it was to do all the articulate mattes for the movie "Tron". Every single frame of every single shot which had people in their glowing suits required a hand drawn matte to keep the glow off the faces. Look closely and you'll see the jiggling lines around the edges of the actor's helmets. Then look at the end credits. See all those Taiwanese names? They did that. The commentary on the new DVD describes that film as "labor intensive". Talk about an understatement.

And then there is the old style ink-and-paint process from Disney movies. Every cell had to be hand traced from the pencil drawings and hand painted. That was so labor intensive that they eventually came up with a Xerox process just to eliminate the ink step. Take a look at "The Jungle Book" and you can see that the outlines of the animation cells were photocopied directly from the pencil drawings. It looked a little rough at that stage, but it was improved for later movies to give the outlines a smoother look.
posted by Potsy at 8:04 PM on July 2, 2002

Potsy - no kidding! I was talking about the modern "photorealism is king" school of effects. From what I've read, TRON's fx were done without any knd of GUI - meaning the artists programmed many of the shots without being able to see the end-result until it was rendered (days or weeks later). Talk about artistry, huh?
posted by GriffX at 8:17 PM on July 2, 2002

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