In Memoriam: David K. Stewart

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David K. Stewart, ASC, a leading visual effects director of photography, died on October 16, at the age of 60. He had devoted more than half his life making motion pictures.

Stewart was born in Jeffersonville, Indiana, August 27, 1937. He became an active member of the ASC in 1984. He entered the field in 1966 as an assistant cameraman at Dickson-Vasu Camera Service in Hollywood, operating an Oxberry camera stand. The "downshooter" camera stands were utilized for the production of animated films, main titles, rotoscoping and traveling mattes.

In 1971, Stewart began working for Robert Abel Films, a Hollywood company whose innovative commercials and visual effects were gaining widespread attention. For the next five years he was involved in the design and photography of commercials utilizing sophisticated motion-control, slit-scan and streak techniques, earning several Clio Awards along with way. After leaving Abel Films, he worked almost entirely in theatrical features, although he did notable work on Universal's expensive TV series Buck Rogers in the 25th Century.

Stewart began his feature film career in 1976-77, beginning with the UFO photography for Steven Spielberg's Close Encounters of the Third Kind. On this and subsequent productions, he worked closely with visual effects heavy-weights Douglas Trumbull and Richard Yuricich, ASC, who remained his close friends. He became a director of photography in 1979 during the filming of Paramount's Star Trek - The Motion Picture, for which he was nominated for an Academy Award. Much of his work was done for Boss Film, headed by Richard Edlund, ASC.

Stewart's subsequent credits as a director of photography for special visual effects include the special edition of Close Encounters of the Third Kind, for which new sequences were filmed in 1980; Ridley Scott's Blade Runner) 1982), which is especially memorable for its scenes of the Los Angeles of the future; and The Outsiders (1983) for Zoetrope. …