Acknowledging the blood, sweat & tears that went into making a head explode on film, among other things.

Friday, August 6, 2010

Incredible Feats of Pre-CGI Ingenuity: “SB19”

The shot was called “SB19”. The 19th shot in the final space battle of Return of the Jedi (1983). The amount of designing and physical rendering of this piece was literally exhausting. Ken Ralston and his team at ILM were told by Lucas to make an eye popping and spectacular shot. I think they pulled off a little more than that.

As you can see in this video from a BBC documentary, Ralston, though thoroughly drained, had a great sense of accomplishment when it was all said and done, even though the scene lasted for only three seconds.

Sure, CGI could simplify all of this, but watch the space battle in Jedi compared to the confusing mess of a chase scene at the beginning of Revenge of the Sith(or was it Attack of the Clones? I seriously can’t remember!) and tell me which one has more heart.

One left you in awe while the other left you looking down in your box of Milk Duds trying to pry that last one out and then asking the person sitting next to you if they know what is going on because this space chase scene makes no sense and you know it’s supposed to establish that Anakin is an ace pilot, but the amount of shit that has been presented on the screen makes it unwatchable, like mixing every color of paint together to create the color diarrhea but you know the diarrhea must have a point so you look closer and closer but all you see is more diarrhea…

Anywho… hats off to Ralston and team for photographing one hell of a space battle. It actually holds up so well that Lucas didn’t really add anymore garbage to it in the Special Editions. For Lucas to hold back like that, it’s saying a lot.

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