PT Practical Effects in the Prequels- Sets, Pictures, Models, etc.

Discussion in 'Prequel Trilogy' started by Han Burgundy, Dec 28, 2013.

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  1. ShaneP Ex-Mod Officio

    Member Since:
    Mar 26, 2001
    star 6
    I think it's important for all of us to remember with this thread that we're pointing out the great model/practical fx and set work for the prequels, not disparaging the great CG work in them(and there was some great CG work in the PT).
  2. ShaneP Ex-Mod Officio

    Member Since:
    Mar 26, 2001
    star 6
    Now this one was a surprise:

    The Opera theater suite where Palps and Anakin have their discussion was a miniature?

    [IMG]
  3. Seagoat Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Jan 25, 2013
    star 4
    Wow, how do they do things like the little lights on the arm and stuff 0_0
    ILM is a miracle, really. The actors all look so natural on set too... like they're really there
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  4. ShaneP Ex-Mod Officio

    Member Since:
    Mar 26, 2001
    star 6
    Not sure but I do know they used fiber optic wiring as far back as the OT.
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  5. SlashMan Jedi Grand Master

    Member Since:
    Feb 5, 2012
    star 3
    I actually found out the mystery here: the man standing in for Ewan is Andreas Petrides. Star Wars Aficionado has a great image and coverage of his contributions:
    http://starwarsaficionado.blogspot.com/2012/06/behind-scenes-image-fighting-ferocity.html
    On the Mos Espa set, him and Ray Park were practicing for the Hangar duel later in the film.

    Also, Star Wars shared a great image, also featuring Pretrides, on Twitter:
    [IMG]
    Lots to appreciate in this image.
  6. Samnz Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Sep 4, 2012
    star 2
    I need help with the following two ( @ShaneP ?)

    Is this a real miniature from the film?
    [IMG]

    And what about this? It doesn't really look like it's from the film (the blue lights), does it? But what else is it, then?
    [IMG]

    A few more set pics:
    [IMG]
    (inside)
    [IMG]
    (outside)

    [IMG]
    [IMG]
    (all the props)

    [IMG]
    [IMG]
    [IMG]

    This one of my favourites:
    [IMG]
    Last edited by Samnz, Mar 4, 2014
  7. Jarren_Lee-Saber Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Apr 16, 2008
    star 4
    God, Lee is so tall!
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  8. ShaneP Ex-Mod Officio

    Member Since:
    Mar 26, 2001
    star 6
    The top pic I know is an ILM Utapau miniature from the film. The bottom one I've not seen before. However, there was all that miniature work built by ILM and filmed for the Utapau Grievous/Kenobi chase. That bottom one might be from that miniature setup.
    Last edited by ShaneP, Mar 6, 2014
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  9. Seagoat Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Jan 25, 2013
    star 4
    Omg it's true
    They DID put vampire fangs on the stand in Yoda doll
  10. Ambervikings91 Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Dec 1, 2012
    star 2
  11. Lt.Cmdr.Thrawn The Other Saga Moderator

    Manager
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    Sep 23, 1999
    star 6
    A combination of real seats for Anakin and Palpatine, plus miniatures to fill out the rest of the set, or perhaps to stand in for all the background balconies... ?
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  12. Jedi General Gelderd Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Mar 6, 2004
    star 5
    Brilliant collection of images guys - thanks for sharing.

    Sheds more light on the PT in a way we just fobbed off as too much CGI. Nice to see set creation and practical film-making still there. :)
  13. DarthWilliams Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    May 29, 2008
    star 4
    Just went through this whole thread and am feeling the pangs of excitement that I felt pretty consistently from 1999-2005 as images like this made their way to the web while the films were being made. Can't wait for a whole new era of this.
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  14. evil-pineapples Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Jul 8, 2005
    Whoa! Mind blown! Do you have any pictures?
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  15. SimitarLikeTusk Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Mar 10, 2014
    star 2
    I think its worth pointing out that these models arent actually used the same way they would have been used back when they made the orginal star wars and actually filmed through them with little cameras. Rather they would have just taken still photos of them and used that to digitally composite CGI shots.
    Im also not sure why its important to point out that they build these models physically or build them with CGI, the result is ultimately kinda the same. If people didnt think the movies looked real its not cause there werent enough models or sets, its cos they used too much green screen, had crappy cinematography or were using primitive HD digital cameras.
  16. Darth Dominikkus Jedi Grand Master

    Member Since:
    Apr 5, 2013
    star 3
    This thread jsut rocked my world. I am a fan of the PT, but my view of how much CGI I thought there was compared to how much there actually is is shocking to me. Thanks for all of this.
  17. Mzukiller Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Sep 5, 2012
    star 2
    This thread just proves that the more rabid prequel haters really blow things out of proportion. There were plenty of practical effects, and a lot of them were great.
  18. Uhfgood Jedi Padawan

    Member Since:
    Apr 4, 2014
    I joined just so I could participate in this thread. There are a lot of things that contribute to a shot that makes it look all "cgi" even when a majority of it is practical. The biggest deal is that the original footage (if not acquired digitally) is processed digitally. They do lots of color corrects, and add a lot of cg elements. Even if the elements are practical they are brought in and placed digitally. It's usually too clean and too perfect (even if you're adding noise and what not, you won't get the same look as you did when you had to optically composite film like back in the day). I don't mean clean and perfect as in when you buy say a new car which is washed and polished. I mean the imperfections you get in a real physical object although invisible to the naked eye, but your brain tells you is real. Remember back in the early days of computer animation where everything was moving sort of "floaty" (that is sort of like it was in a water tank, no matter how fast it actually was moving), that was because mathematically the animation was too perfect, so they had to increase the physics simulation in order for it not to do that anymore. Or you can equate it to the early days of the compact disc where it just didn't sound natural, so they had to add some background noise for you to take it as sounding natural.

    Point I'm making is, we do may do way too much computer processing (even if it's necessary), not that there's too much computer generated imagery -- a better term might be CMI (not Curse of Monkey Island), for computer manipulated imagery. I also remember some behind the scenes stuff from the PT, where Mr. Lucas was trying to get the actors to say things the way he wanted, and that he took various takes and used computer to take the portions he liked and composited them together. This is part of why we get people talking about how bad the acting was, and where Liam Neeson claimed he wouldn't work in film again (which of course didn't happen). They wouldn't let them do complete takes with each other, so in reality they're reacting to different readings, and so it's not so cohesive. Also I had read that for AotC and RotS they started making models and scanning them into the computer, and using CG models created with the scans.

    The final point that someone mentioned in here was that they use a whole lot of blue-screen, so those sets that were really full miniatures have the look of being CGI because nothing is there physically with the actor.

    I've tried not to offend anyone in my post, but please go easy on those people that say there's too much CGI in the PT (and indeed in a lot of movies) because there's certainly a ton of CMI nowadays.

    I watched a couple of old special on special effects, and there's one about Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom with the Minecar chase. You probably know the scene at the end where they run out onto the cliff edge after that flood of water stars pouring through the tunnels, so you see Indy run out, and push Willie and Short Round to the other side of the opening. They showed how that shot was a matte painting combined with a set piece of the cliff face. When you see it although you can see the compositing, they add a little camera movement as if the camera was on a helicopter filming the actual scene. The things that make that scene look real is that you're first looking at a physical object of the matte painting (regardless of the fact it's a painting), you're looking at the live action elements, and the camera move helps seal the deal. That might look more real than a computer manipulated version because your brain instinctively knows it's looking at a real object, and you don't question it as much. The paint has a texture, the set piece is real, there's an applicable amount of film grain, etc. Tons of tiny imperfections that your brain knows is real, vs the CMI we see of today where alot of it can be mathematically perfect, or look too clean.

    Sorry for a long post as my first post here, but I just wanted to chime in.

    Keith Weatherby II
    Uhfgood -at- hotmail.com
  19. Han Burgundy Jedi Grand Master

    Member Since:
    Jan 28, 2013
    star 3
    That was a good post, @Uhfgood . I hope people read it with an open mind and don't see it as an attack on the films, which I don't think was your intention.

    AOTC and ROTS especially are extremely "digital" films. Digital cinematography, digital effects, digitally recorded music, everything. And I don't doubt, in the multitude of things that affect how a viewer perceives a film, that the digital implementation of otherwise practical effects plays a significant part.
  20. Pfluegermeister Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Jun 30, 2003
    star 4
    I saw Lee's reaction to that too when Lucas showed it to him: beneath a VERY subtle snicker, he said "I have absolutely no comment about that."

    That was just priceless. Quick, witty, and entirely dignified - exactly what I'd expect from a direct descendant of the Emperor Charlemagne (it's true, he is - which is why he kept doing those heavy metal albums recently about the historic monarch).
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  21. Qui-Riv-Brid Jedi Grand Master

    Member Since:
    Apr 18, 2013
    star 3
    I can see the points you're making but my brain doesn't share them.

    The SFX of the OT are not real I know they are not real I know they are composite film images of models,miniatures,matte paintings along with puppets, people in masks etc. I know the SFX of the PT are not real they are digital composites of models,miniatures,matte paintings and in addition CGI creatures and people in masks etc.

    I find either just as real and solid as the other.

    If anything the textures and lighting of the digital PT are far more convincing because as time goes by anything dates and it's more clear about the lack of reality in the OT's SFX and the matte painting lack of details that they can place in digital mattes now and lots of other detailing work they could only imagine then.

    So what we are really talking about is preference again. It's like knowing that 48fps has superior images but preferring the 24fps which is the standard.

    By a similar token the OT used certain stocks of film and certain kinds of cameras that are not used anymore which along with all the other factors gave a certain look. If the same films had been done 10 years later they would have looked different and later again they would have looked different again.

    The simplest factor to me seems to be that the mind trick that someone can play on themselves is that as fantastic as the images of the OT are they are still in the scope of possibility. People saw things that were kind of a bit like Star Wars but not as good. The planets were simple sand, ice, forest etc. Humans were everywhere and creatures were that. Creatures.

    The PT images are so fantastic and beyond epic so hugely writ with many things that we can't possibly see on Earth. Creatures aren't just creatures they are people creatures. Again impossible. Having a Jabba you know can't exist but also know it's a puppet can barely move etc is something one can understand but having a fully moveable Jabba that can totally interact is not possible in reality therefore it fakeness seems more apparent to some than the normal fakeness of the puppet.
  22. w4tkn Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Jan 25, 2013
    star 1

    What about Tron?
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  23. w4tkn Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Jan 25, 2013
    star 1
    But before this thread, were you one of those people? I was, this makes me sad that the flaws were story and design. The effects I'm fine with.
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  24. Darth_Nub Saga, Classic Trilogy and Film Music Manager

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    Apr 26, 2009
    star 4
    It's one thing to integrate CGI imagery into an existing scene - another to have action played against a blue/green screen with the background to be filled in later, which could be done via CGI or old footage.
    Tron simply had actors on blank bluescreen sets, ROTJ had some complete scenes which they filled in with early CGI.
    Last edited by Darth_Nub, Apr 18, 2014
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  25. Gallandro Chosen One

    Member Since:
    Jul 8, 1998
    star 4
    To me, this entire sequence, the evening departure from Coruscant, is one of the greatest examples of quality visual effects work EVER in film. It is completely seamless with extensive use of practical sets and miniature work. Specifically the close up shots with Qui Gon and Anakin are simply stunning and look like they just grabbed Neeson and Jake Lloyd and dropped them at some busy city to shoot the scene.

    [IMG]


    Yancy


    Yancy
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