American Cinematographer

American Cinematographer is the monthly magazine published by the American Society of Cinematographers. American Cinematographer covers film and video production techniques.

Articles from Vol. 64, No. 6, June

Art Direction for STAR WARS: RETURN OF THE JEDI
For me, JEDI started with an incredible location scout through possibly some of the most spectacular sights the U.S. has to offer. Having concluded our meeting with George Lucas, Robert Watts, Jim Bloom and I set off in search of exciting locations,...
BROADCAST QUALITY: Defining the Undefinable
An Interview with John SilvaJohn Suva graduated from Stanford University with a degree in electronics engineering in 1942 and spent the next four years with the armed forces as a radar officer. He planned to join NBC's newly-formed video engineering...
Cinematography for STAR WARS: RETURN OF THE JEDI
Obviously, when I got started on JEDI the first thing I wanted to do was to get very close together with the production designer, Norman Reynolds, to see what they had in mind in the way of sets, locations, etc.So far as style was concerned, I already...
Creature Design for STAR WARS: RETURN OF THE JEDI
"You know what got me into this business? I always wanted to see a dinosaur. I wanted to see if they really move like I imagine," said Phil Tippett. The next best thing to seeing one, of course, is to make "the primo dinosaur movie." Tippett was not...
Effects Art Direction for STAR WARS: RETURN OF THE JEDI
First in STAR WARS, then in THE EMPIRE STRIKES BACK, and now in THE RETURN OF THE JEDI, the people of Lucasfilm have created and explored that "galaxy far, far away." Joe Johnston, the art director for visual effects, has had part of the responsibility...
Effects Photography for STAR WARS: RETURN OF THE JEDI
Deep in the soul of any science-fantasy film worthy of success lies the mysterious realm of special visual effects. In the case of RETURN OF THE JEDI, the photographic marvels that bring the fantasy to life were crafted in San Rafael, California, at...
Filming the Asian Games
Along with the engineers, architects, administrative staff and site workers a challenge was thrown to mediamen to make a permanent record on celluloid of the "Ninth Asian Games" to be held in New Delhi during November/December 1982. Rumors were already...
From the Editor
It is no secret that Lucasfilm Ltd. is very concerned with "security." Howard Kazanjian, the producer of RETURN OF THE JEDI, even went so far as to say that greater security was one of the reasons for shooting the film in England rather than the U.S....
Letters
And the Bad News Is ...The article on the Spin Physics high speed video system (American Cinematographer, April, 1983) failed to mention the "bad news" about this system-its $100,000 price tag! As far as I know, no rental units are available (if a rental...
Location Photography for STAR WARS: RETURN OF THE JEDI
As location Director of Photography I was scouting locations in a northern California rain forest when the interiors of JEDI were being shot by Alan Hume in London.The American unit had to prepare the Arizona and northern California locations for the...
Making the Flash Gordon Serials
Universal Studio in 1935 teetered precariously on the edge of bankruptcy. Each year since the advent of the Great Depression the company had temporarily suspended all contracts and shut down operations for several weeks in order to save enough money...
Making the New Films Your Own
Over the past year or so, several new film stocks have been introduced. It is important that as cinematographers we know the characteristics of any new stock we might be called upon to use. This can only be done by making a test.There are several things...
Matte Effects for STAR WARS: RETURN OF THE JEDI
About 78 years ago, Norman A. Dawn, an illustrator and photographer in Los Angeles, was commissioned to make flattering stills of some factory buildings which were surrounded or partly obscured by unwanted telephone poles, weeds and trash cans. His boss...
Modelmaking for STAR WARS: RETURN OF THE JEDI
Industrial Light and Magic is a cinematic magic shop and George Lucas is the sorcerer. But like any great sorcerer, he depends on many apprentices. For the third part of his STAR WARS saga -RETURN OF THE JEDI-the mighty magician chose Lome Peterson and...
MOTION CONTROL Part II
"Dialogue is dialogue. Sex is sex. What the audience wants is special effects."HARVEY PLATERICK, PRESIDENT OF COMPUTER OPTICALS, NY, NYOne tool more and more frequently used for giving the audience what it wants is motion control. This technique of controlling...
New Fuji Negatives
It is one of the cornerstones of faith in the free enterprise system that nothing promotes progress, both technical and economic, like good, honest competition. Thus, the introduction in the late 1980 of the high speed Fujicolor negative film A250 (Type...
Optical Effects for STAR WARS: RETURN OF THE JEDI
More than 1500 separate elements were combined into some 900 separate effects frames for RETURN OF THE JEDI. Some were farmed out to various optical houses, but the bulk were assembled and printed at Industrial Light and Magic under the supervision of...
Producing and Directing STAR WARS: RETURN OF THE JEDI
Soon after the release of THE EMPIRE STRIKES BACK during the summer of 1980, the decision was made to release the third installment in the STAR WARS saga in the summer of 1983. Obviously the story for EMPIRE was conceived with a sequel in mind and certain...
Steadicam Plates for STAR WARS: RETURN OF THE JEDI
Just 100 more yards. My left hand is slippery with sweat. Legs tired. Brain hurts most of all. I wonder if really intense concentration produces any lingering harmful effects . . . look at Bobby Fisher! (At a camera speed of only % frame per second,...
Talking Technically
GLASS MATTESAmong the film clips I was able to show during my presentation at the Manila Film Festival was a scene from GANDHI which showed a night shot of Calcutta, during the riots, with many buildings in flames. The scene had been a problem because...
The Bookshelf
DIRECTORIAL STYLESA probing exploration of Alfred Hitchcock's complex personality and how it affected his work, Donald Spoto's THE DARK SIDE OF GENIUS combines psychological insights with a perceptive assessment of his films. Stressing their deeply autobiographical...
What's New
IN PRODUCTS, SERVICES AND LITERATUREReport from the NABEDITING SYSTEMSTHE REVOLUTIONARY CMX 3400+ EDITING SYSTEMA new television editing system that will alter existing concepts and practices associated with post-production videotape editing through...
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