Friday, 27 January 2012
EFFECTive - Don Bies
Very pleased to have Don Bies featured here today. Don started in special effects working on "The Fly" with Chris Walas, before moving on to ILM and working on some of THE effects films of the 80's and 90's.
Too many to list here, but taking a look at his Wookiepedia entry will give you some idea of the incredible work he's done:
I'm doubly pleased that Don's here as he was often a minature model maker on the films, producing work that i can only aspire to.
Don, great to have you here and please take the floor:
"I have quite a number of favorites—it’s hard to choose. Each has their own place, due to their technical effectiveness, emotional connection within the context of the film, or just plain fun…but since I’m pressed to choose, I’d have to go with the AT-AT sequence in “Empire Strikes Back”. The novelization of that film came out about a month before the film opened, and I vowed not to read it, then I vowed only to read the first page, and then only the first chapter…until I read the entire book. As I read it, I imagined each sequence playing out, and when I got to the AT-AT battle, I knew that it could never be as good as the images my mind conjured up. I knew (even though I was not in the film business at that time) about the problems with blue screen photography, matte issues, miniature photography, etcetera…
When I finally sat in the theatre watching the movie, I knew the sequence was approaching—I dared them to impress me…and they did it. I knew it was stop motion, but it was the first time I felt the craft was used to its advantage. I recognized the implementation of miniature snow plains and painted backdrops, but they all worked. And the editing and sound pulled it all together, using all the disciplines of film making to create a memorable scene.
It was just over five years later when I entered the film business and worked on my first film, “The Fly” at Chris Walas, Inc. in Northern California. It was there that I met Jon Berg, the animator and key creative of that sequence. At first, I was star struck—it took a while to tell him how much that sequence impressed me. Jon became my mentor and we forged a close friendship that continues to this day…and that sequence still holds up."