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InnerSpace Gets An Inside Look At Industrial Light & Magic

Weeknights 7e 4p

InnerSpace host Ajay Fry and I had a special opportunity to travel down to Industrial Light & Magic (ILM) to interview the minds behind Rogue One. As a huge Star Wars fan, it was a dream come true to see the studio where the magic was made. I had to sign a number of “I promise I won’t spill ILM secrets” documents, but before it was enforced, I managed to take a number of pics of the lobby for you!

After passing by the iconic Yoda Fountain at the front entrance, we were led into the lobby where my inner geek was beside herself with nerdy delight. There were Star Wars toys EVERYWHERE. Chewbacca maquettes, a life sized Darth Vader and Boba Fett, statues of R2-D2, and lightsabers from the films!

Once past the main lobby, photos were prohibited, but we saw the infamous “Java The Hut” coffee shop and even a Star Wars themed gift shop, which sold everything from R2 salt and pepper shakers to Star Wars onesies.

The most amazing things we witnessed involved technology. The original cameras used to shoot scenes for A New Hope were on display. They were a testament to how creative, dedicated and patient the crew was. When shooting the composite scenes, the crew had to keep perfectly still. The slightest bump of the table the cameras were mounted on would mean a complete re-do of the scene.

How different things are today! Technology has jumped light years ahead and it was awe-inspiring to get a sneak peek at how the minds at ILM created the effects for Rogue One. We walked into one room and saw an actor wearing a mo-cap suit give us a taste of how they worked on the scenes with K-2SO. Most of the tech talk went right over my head, but what amazed me was how responsive the software was. Everything was captured and rendered on the spot, and the actor could stand in front of a monitor and see his actions mirrored back to him—as K-2SO—in real time!

In another room, we were shown how director Gareth Edwards was able to use new technology to direct many of the fully CG animated scenes. Again, in layman’s terms, he basically used an iPad-like device and was able to physically move through the scenes, as if he was one of the X-wings. In essence, he moved the iPad as he would a camera. It seemed more like playing a video game!

What was even more amazing was that most of the technology the team used was created onsite at ILM. If they needed something that technology couldn’t already do, they created the program to do it. Now THAT’S cutting edge.

I’m told a lot of this magic is explained (much more eloquently than I could) in the special features of the upcoming Blu-ray release of Rogue One. If “Behind the Scenes Magic” is something you’re into, you should definitely check it out.