VFX Archaeology: Part 4 — Nurnies and Greeblies

This entry is part 4 of 4 in the series VFX_archaeology

This entry is part 4 of 4 in the series VFX_archaeology

Context is Everything

Modern cinema maintains a series of technical terms via oral tradition, that really no longer make sense. How many people really itnow the origin of terms like “Gaffer,” and “best boy?” Yes, those job titles have a clear set of responsibilities, but the origin of the term is sometimes cryptic, or humorous. Visual effects have their own terms as well, developed from a multitude of technical and artistic sources.  Digital visual effects in particular rely on some nomenclature that was developed in the analog era, and truly has little meaning … Continue reading

Rogue One — A Format Wars Story


During a screening of Doctor Strange at a Visual Effects Society event, someone asked the film’s Director whether he preferred the 3D version, or the 2D version? He said: “I am torn, as I love the 3D version, but also the Expanded Dynamic Range version as well.”

I gravitate toward stereo3D movies, due to my history of making stereo3D films. I wrote an article about stereo conversion for The Force Awakens, recounting its masterful use of the stereo3D format. In my opinion, Doctor Strange was a tour-de-force example of fantastic stereo3D conversion, so based on the … Continue reading

VFX Archaeology: Part 3 — Starship Troopers

This entry is part 3 of 4 in the series VFX_archaeology

This entry is part 3 of 4 in the series VFX_archaeology

Recollections of BOSS FILM STUDIOS




A recent post of one of my photos from Starship Troopers on social media erupted into a lengthy discussion about the BOSS Film work, some of which has heretofore received little mention.  Following is a summary of that discussion, beefed up with a little bit of … Continue reading

Lost Concepts: Part 3 — Falling Skies

This entry is part 3 of 3 in the series Lost Concepts

This entry is part 3 of 3 in the series Lost Concepts

Concept Art by Johnathan Banta


As part of any creative process, there are a lot of abandoned avenues and choices. When a final  design concept is approved, all other art is shelved and a final creation guided from approved art. It is an evolution, sometimes directed, and occasionally as a last resort. For television work especially, design and manufacture of these creations happens under a very tight … Continue reading

How We Faked The Moon Landing: Part 4 — The Visual Effects of Magnificent Desolation

To the IMAX Moon and Beyond


Moon Flight Science!

On September 23, 2005, Magnificent Desolation: Walking on the Moon in 3D released on giant IMAX screens. It is a 4K stereo3D experience of the Moon landings, and speculative missions from the past and future. The film was honored with the first Visual Effects: Special Venue award by the Visual Effects Society in 2006. This multi-part article is based … Continue reading

Starfleet Shipyards — October 1996


In October 1996 the best place for any devotee of Star Trek to be was the Starfleet Shipyards.  These are not the in-cannon fabled shipyards of Mars, nor are they the near earth orbit construction dry-docks.  They are definitely not a large ground-based construction facility in Iowa.  The Starfleet shipyards were in Marina del Rey California, in the backyard of BOSS film studios at the shops of renowned model maker Greg Jein.

Greg Jein is associated with almost every incarnation of the USS … Continue reading