Stranger Things special effects producers Paul and Christina Graff explain the season two VFX of the Upside Down, the demodog Dart, and that shadowy motherfucker from the finale.
Here's an unusual opportunity for a hardcore Star Wars fan. An authenticated, screen-used segment of the original Death Star (yes, from 1977) can be bid on through eBay.
In partnership with Hollywood Memorabilia, this exclusive screen-used, sectional piece of the Death Star was featured in Star Wars: Episode IV and utilized for special effects. After filming, much of the Death Star was lost, but this authentic piece was discovered and salvaged. Very few of these pieces exist, and has remained mostly uncirculated with the Star Wars community, until now. The prop was kept by an ex-ILM employee for the next 37 years, and stored in a safe for the last 4 years.
This nearly two-foot-long piece of Star Wars history is expected to "sell for upwards of six figures," though the current bid is just over $10,000. Bidding ends June 3 and a letter of authenticity is included in the sale (I would hope so!). Read the rest
I'd say things peaked in 1968 with 2001: A Space Odyssey.
Japanese actor Haruo Nakajima who rocked the Godzilla suit in a dozen movies died on Monday at age 88. Above is the last video of Nakajima as Godzilla for a 1983 photo shoot. Read the rest
YouTube user Ginger Beard created this illusion of a floating bird by capturing the video at 20 frames per second, the same speed at which the bird flaps its wings. Read the rest
Star Wars: Rogue One director Gareth Edwards tells the fascinating backstory behind Darth Vader's brutal stroll down the hallway in Rogue One. (Wired)
And if you missed it yesterday, check out the Star Wars: Rogue One ending flow into A New Hope beginning.
Adam Savage visits with Weta Workshop's Richard Taylor for a glimpse of the mecha-geisha masks, animatronic amazement, and far-out fabrication that brought the new Ghost in the Shell film to life. Directed by Rupert Sanders and starring Scarlett Johansson and Pilo Asbaek, Ghost in the Shell hits theaters in a month. Trailer below. (Tested)
Enjoy this "creature featurette" with director Gareth Edwards and Creature Effects Supervisor Neal Scanlan introducing us to the strange characters in Rogue One: A Star Wars Story.
Boing Boing pal Adam Savage (MythBusters, Tested) tours the incredible prop collection of Peter Jackson, producer of The Lord of the Rings, The Hobbit, District 9, and the forthcoming The Adventures of Tintin: Prisoners of the Sun. One of his favorite pieces? An original Hal 9000 faceplate! That is quite the wunderkammer, Mr. Jackson! (Tested)
Researchers at Stanford have developed face-capture technology that can alter pre-recorded videos in real-time on low cost computers. In other words, you can make George W Bush or Donald Trump appear intelligent.
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We present a novel approach for real-time facial reenactment of a monocular target video sequence (e.g., Youtube video). The source sequence is also a monocular video stream, captured live with a commodity webcam. Our goal is to animate the facial expressions of the target video by a source actor and re-render the manipulated output video in a photo-realistic fashion. To this end, we first address the under-constrained problem of facial identity recovery from monocular video by non-rigid model-based bundling. At run time, we track facial expressions of both source and target video using a dense photometric consistency measure. Reenactment is then achieved by fast and efficient deformation transfer between source and target. The mouth interior that best matches the re-targeted expression is retrieved from the target sequence and warped to produce an accurate fit. Finally, we convincingly re-render the synthesized target face on top of the corresponding video stream such that it seamlessly blends with the real-world illumination. We demonstrate our method in a live setup, where Youtube videos are reenacted in real time.
Industrial Light & Magic’s Experience Lab (ILMxLAB) is a newly-formed supergroup of artists, engineers, sound designers, and storytellers prototyping the future of interactive, immersive cinema for Lucasfilm. Over at Bloomberg Businessweek, I wrote about my visit to the xLAB where The Force is quite strong:
"The way we do technology development here is really hand-in-hand with the creative goals,” says (Lucasfilm CTO Rob) Bredow. “The R&D is always in service to the story.”
For example, to port the Millennium Falcon from the Star Wars film universe into the interactive realm, the Advanced Development Group engineers first had to figure out how the VR hardware could render the massive 3D model in just milliseconds, compared with hours or days for a film shot. Then Skywalker Sound built a surround system that realistically rumbles and whooshes as a Corellian starship should. Meanwhile, game designers and the storytellers hashed out the most compelling way for a Jedi-in-training (you) to battle an army of Stormtroopers with a lightsaber.
"THE SUPERGROUP REMAKING STAR WARS AND JURASSIC WORLD IN VR" (Bloomberg Businessweek) Read the rest